Rockies Today, June 18



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Groups urge BLM to delay decision on 198M-ton coal lease in Montana
Cloud Peak Energy has applied to expand its Spring Creek Mine in southeast Montana by 1,600 acres, and on Wednesday, federal and state officials will take up that application, but environmental groups said the hearing should be delayed, given the recent report that questioned the BLM's pricing of such leases.
Flathead Beacon (AP); June 18

Mine developer to make presentation tonight in Montana
The Russell Country Sportsmen's Association has invited representatives of Tintina Resources, the company that wants to develop copper resources on private land near White Sulphur Springs to make a presentation on the Montana project at its monthly meeting tonight at the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks' headquarters on Giant Springs Road in Great Falls.
Great Falls Tribune; June 18

Black Forest Fire gives new intensity to Colorado's work on burn zones
The loss of 502 homes to the Black Forest Fire near Colorado Springs last week has given the 18-member Task Force on Wildfire Insurance and Forest Health the motivation to move forward with proposals to impose new fees and unprecedented restrictions on building in the wildland-urban interface.
Denver Post; June 18

More evacuees from fatal Colorado wildfire allowed to return home
Crews now have the 14,280-acre Black Forest Fire in Colorado 75 percent contained, and some evacuees who have been out of their homes since last week are being allowed to return home.
Denver Post; June 18

Group sues federal water, wildlife agencies over Idaho's water quality
Last week, Oregon-based Northwest Environmental Advocates filed a lawsuit in federal court in Idaho against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service charging that the federal agencies had failed for 17 years to work with Idaho to get the state's standards for toxic pollutants lowered to protect salmon, steelhead trout, Kootenai River white sturgeon, bull trout and some snails.
Idaho Statesman (AP); June 18

House panel takes up Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act today
A public lands subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation will take up reauthorization of the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, due to sunset in 2014, which prohibits federal lands agencies from imposing access fees to sites that don't offer amenities such as campgrounds.
Twin Falls Times-News; June 18

Montana officials question Texas firm's claims about Front's oil resources
Nostra Energy, a Texas and Montana company, is seeking investors to help develop what it's calling Montana's next big oil play, but Montana Oil and Gas Commission officials said the area of the Rocky Mountain Front near Augusta that the company is touting has been explored by other companies before and they left due to a lack of potential.
Missoulian; June 18

Judge nixes mining on stretch of Idaho stream
A Department of Interior administrative law judge ruled earlier this month that the plan of hobbyist miners to set up suction mining along a stretch of the North Fork of the Clearwater River would interfere too much with cultural and recreational uses of the stream in Idaho and banned such mining.
Spokane Spokesman-Review (Lewiston Tribune); June 18

U.S. House passes bill to limit Army's expansion in Colorado's Pinon Canyon
The U.S. Senate must still approve a measure passed by the U.S. House that would require an act of Congress for the U.S. Army to expand its Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in Colorado's Pinon Canyon.
Denver Post; June 18

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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