Rockies Today, Nov. 22



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

U.S. House panel hears bill to reimburse states for operating national parks
Although Montana did not use state funds to open national parks during the federal government shutdown in October, the Big Sky State's lone congressman Steve Daines introduced legislation to reimburse the six states that did and on Thursday, a House panel took testimony on Daines' bill and another that would prevent such closures of national parks in the future.
Great Falls Tribune; Nov. 22

State veterinarian says Montana will vaccinate bison for brucellosis
On Thursday, Montana state veterinarian Marty Zaluski told members of the Interagency Bison Management committee that the state plans to capture bison that wander out of Yellowstone National Park into Montana from late February to early March and vaccinate them to help stop the spread of brucellosis.
Helena Independent Record (Bozeman Daily Chronicle); Nov. 22

Canada monitored groups before hearing on Alberta-B.C. pipeline project
Documents obtained under Canada's Access to Information regulations indicate that the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service worked with the National Energy Board to monitor activist groups and First Nations before public hearings were held on Enbridge's plan to build the Northern Gateway pipeline project to move Alberta oil west to ports on British Columbia's coast.
Toronto Globe and Mail; Nov. 22

Alberta oilsands operator announces expansion plans
Canada's top petroleum producer, Suncor Energy, announced that it expected production at its Alberta oilsands operators to grow to 430,000 barrels per day, and other oilsands operations have also predicted an increase in production, despite their privately voiced concerns that the Keystone XL pipeline project, which could carry 800,000 barrels per day from Alberta through the U.S. to refineries on the Gulf Coast, may never be built.
New York Times; Nov. 21

Megaloads headed to Alberta find new route through Idaho into Montana
The trucking company hired to haul oversized pieces of equipment bound for Alberta's oilsands is proposing a route from the Port of Umatilla in Oregon through southern Idaho, up U.S. Highway 93 into Montana, and the first of such loads could be moved this weekend.
Idaho Statesman (AP); Nov. 22

BLM: Natural gas drilling did not pollute Wyoming groundwater
In a report released Wednesday, the Bureau of Land Management said that its investigation into hydrocarbon pollution of groundwater near Pinedale found that those low levels of hydrocarbons were naturally occurring, and not the result of natural gas drilling operations in that area of Wyoming, a finding that some groups immediately questioned.
Casper Star-Tribune; Nov. 22

U.S. Senate panel unanimously approves Montana Rocky Mountain Front bill
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus' Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act, which would add 67,000 acres along that front to the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, and protect another 208,000 acres as a conservation management area; the measure will now move to the full Senate for a vote.
Missoulian; Nov. 21

Alberta: Grizzly bear deaths this year highest in a decade
As Alberta continues to rewrite its grizzly bear recovery plan, the province reports that 29 grizzlies have died this year, nearly double the number last year, and the highest reported since 2003, when 40 deaths were recorded.
Calgary Herald; Nov. 22

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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