Rockies Today, Jan. 10



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

U.S. struggles to find American Indians owed Cobell settlement funds
The federal government estimates that funds are owed to 500,000 American Indians for lands the government held in trust and never fully paid them for, but finding 30,000 of those settlement recipients has proven impossible so far.
New York Times; Jan. 10

Audit finds Montana pays some landowners twice for access
Members of the state Environmental Quality Council were angered by the results of an audit of the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks' access program that found the state agency paid some landowners both for a conservation easement on their lands and for putting those lands into the state's block management program for hunting access.
Billings Gazette; Jan. 10

USGS study in Montana helps predict possibility of brine contamination
A study done in Montana's Sheridan County by U.S. Geological Survey scientists helped them develop criteria that allows them to predict areas most prone to contamination by the briny water pulled out of the ground during oil drilling operations.
Los Angeles Times; Jan. 10

BLM reports spill of oil production water on Montana reservation
The Bureau of Land Management reports that a broken pipeline on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana released an estimated 12,600 gallons of wastewater from oil drilling operations on Tuesday.
Great Falls Tribune; Jan. 10

Colorado contractors warn of worker shortage without immigration reform
In Colorado, an estimated one in five construction workers lacks legal status, while nationally 22 percent of the workers are not in the country legally, and contractors warn that without meaningful immigration reform, building projects may not be kept on schedule due to a lack of skilled workers.
Denver Post; Jan. 10

Idaho FWP official discusses decision to remove wolves in wilderness
Sally Mauk with Montana Public Radio sits down with Mike Keckler, chief of communications for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and talks about the state's decision to send a hunter into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness to remove two wolf packs. Part 1 of a 2-part series.; Jan. 10

U. of Montana researchers find 17 of world's largest carnivores threatened
A new study, co-authored by University of Montana researchers, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that 17 of the world's 31 largest carnivores are at risk, with habitat and numbers both in decline.
Missoulian; Jan. 10

Colorado ski resort develops training plan to thwart skiers' marijuana use
Vail Resorts' employees have seen a marked increase of marijuana use on Vail Mountain since pot was legalized in Colorado, and the ski resort has developed a training program for employees to handle those who light up at the resort, which is located on federal land, where the use of marijuana is still illegal.
Denver Post; Jan. 10

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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