Rockies Today, Nov. 25



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Wildlife group warns climate change threatens Montana's game animals
A report issued Friday by the National Wildlife Federation said that a warming climate will have an adverse effect on big-game animals such as moose, deer and elk in Montana and other states where those species are found.
Great Falls Tribune; Nov. 22

Habitat loss blamed for decline in monarch butterflies, wild bees
The return of the monarch butterflies to central Mexico didn't happen on Nov. 1 this year, but instead just a fraction of the millions of butterflies expected straggled in a week late, and the decline of that species, along with a slate of other insects including wild bees, has been linked to the loss of vegetation the insects need to survive.
New York Times; Nov. 22

Duke Energy Renewables to pay $1M for bird deaths at Wyoming wind farms
A subsidiary of Duke Energy that operates two wind-power projects in Wyoming will pay $1 million for the deaths of 14 golden eagles and dozens of other birds at those projects since 2009.
New York Times; Nov. 24

Wyoming's new water-test rules for drillers cited as model for nation
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead believes developing the state's natural gas and oil resources and protecting its water and environment is not an either-or proposition, and the state's new rules that require drillers to test water resources near wells, both pre- and post drilling, is another in a series of regulations designed to do just that, although environmental groups are pushing for additional rules on hydraulic fracturing.
New York Times; Nov. 23

B.C. rolls the dice on Elk Valley Coal Mine
Documents detailing British Columbia's decision to approve Teck Resources' Line Creek mine in the Elk Valley indicate that the province has no assurances that the company's proposed water-treatment plants to reduce selenium levels in the Elk River will work, but with hundreds of jobs on the line, the province gave its approval, and if the treatment plants don't work and selenium levels rise, the U.S. may make a claim under the Boundary Waters Treaty, signed in 1909.
Toronto Globe and Mail; Nov. 25

Demand for new homes in Idaho's Treasure Valley overwhelms builders
New homes for sale are hard to find in the Boise metro area, and the developer of Avimor, a mixed-use development near Eagle, said sales have doubled there over each of the past two years, but future growth is limited by the lack of skilled labor to build those homes, and another homebuilder said a lack of materials is slowing his ability to meet demand for new homes.
Boise State Public Radio; Nov. 25

Idaho governor urges Interior Dept. to use sage grouse plan as a template
A component of the siting of the Gateway West transmission project that runs from Wyoming through Southern Idaho is how the project will affect sage grouse, a species that's teetering on the edge of federal protection, and Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is urging Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to use Idaho's plan as a template for plans to protect sage grouse in the other 10 western states where plans are currently being developed.
Idaho Statesman; Nov. 25

Utah legislator works on bill to make wilderness vandalism a crime
After a man was videotaped toppling an ancient rock formation in Utah's Goblin Valley State Park, state Rep. Dixon Pitcher said he was surprised to hear that there was no state law that specifically would have allowed the man to be charged with a crime, so Pitcher plans to remedy that and is working on draft legislation that would impose a penalty for those convicted of damaging Utah's natural environment.
Salt Lake Tribune; Nov. 25

Colorado's elk, deer lure hunters despite new gun laws
After Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a trio of new gun bills into law earlier this year, there was a public outcry and a warning that hunters would shy away from the Centennial State, but preliminary numbers on nonresident and resident hunting permits for elk and deer indicate that thousands more were sold this year than last.
Denver Post; Nov. 25

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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