Rockies Today, June 17



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Federal judge in Montana dismisses oil, gas leasing challenge
Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Sam Haddon dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Montana Environmental Information Center, WildEarth Guardians and Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project that sought to block gas and oil leases on 800,000 acres in Montana in a bid to force actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); June 15

Montana tribe's coal future tied up in export fight
As domestic demand for coal in the United States declines, companies are tapping export markets in Asia and elsewhere, but U.S. port capacity must expand in order to fill international orders, a move that has sparked fierce opposition.
New York Times; June 15

Public comment period on Yellowstone Park's winter-use plan closes today
If you haven't yet commented on the latest winter-use plan for Yellowstone National Park, you have until midnight June 17 to do so.
Casper Star-Tribune (AP); June 15

The New York Times tracks wild-horse management in the U.S.
The Retro Report provides a retrospective on the history of wild horses in the United States and the Bureau of Land Management's policies riding herd on those animals.
New York Times; June 17

Geldings begin their semi-wild life on a Montana ranch
The 710 young geldings released on the Spanish Q Ranch in Montana have spent all of their lives in Bureau of Land Management holding corrals, making the young horses wary of exploring their new range.
Billings Gazette (AP); June 15

Hydraulic fracturing's water needs questioned in drought-stricken states
Drought is stressing water resources in many of the counties in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas where hydraulic fracturing is being used to tap oil and gas resources, and the drilling method is under fire for dropping the water table in some areas and driving the price farmers must pay for water in other areas up dramatically.
Denver Post (AP); June 17

Colorado wildfire that killed 2 keeps residents from their homes
Hundreds of residents evacuated due to the threat of the Black Forest Fire may remain so until at least Thursday, as crews work to contain the Colorado fire that has burned across 14,198 acres and destroyed 485 homes, and federal investigators have been called in to help determine the origin of the fire that killed two residents.
Denver Post; June 17

Limited federal air-tanker fleet constrains firefighting efforts
Last week, when Colorado fire managers asked the federal government for large air-tankers to help fight the Black Forest Fire, the request came back "UTF," or unable to fill, and with just 10 such large air tankers in the federal fleet, one "on call," and seven more set to take flight late this summer, more such UTF responses could be received.
Denver Post; June 17

National Security Agency's backup data center is in Utah
The massive data center on 120 acres near Bluffdale will serve as the National Security Agency's backup data farm when the Utah facility goes online this fall, although NSA officials assured the Salt Lake Tribune that the data that flows into the center's computers won't and can't capture Americans' private telephone and email records, although the recent disclosure about NSA activities may cause some to doubt that assurance.
Salt Lake Tribune; June 15

Mountain West News is a project of the Center for the Rocky Mountain West at The University of Montana. It provides a daily snapshot of news and opinion in the Rocky Mountain region of North America, giving the changing mountain West a tool to understand itself and a platform for the exchange of ideas.

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