Rockies Today, Jan. 21



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

U.S. data: More oil spilled from trains in 2013 than in previous 4 decades
Data from the federal government indicate that last year 1.15 million gallons of crude oil spilled from rail cars, while 800,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from rail cars in the nearly four decades preceding last year.
Billings Gazette (McClatchy Washington Bureau); Jan. 21

Federal judge rules Montana wind-farm lawsuit to remain in state court
A contract dispute between the owner of Montana's largest wind farm and the California utility purchasing that power will remain in Montana state district court after a federal court judge declined Diego Gas and Electric's request to move the breach-of-contract lawsuit filed by NaturEner to federal court, as the utility is basing its decision to end the contract on the effect the wind farm is having on raptors.
Great Falls Tribune; Jan. 18

West Virginia incident latest in coal industry's toll on U.S. waters
The recent spill of a chemical used to wash coal into the Elk River in West Virginia is just the latest in decades of incidents where the coal industry has contaminated or polluted waterways and groundwater across the United States, with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimating that 50 to 60 percent of all toxic discharges into waterways coming from coal-fired power plants.
Missoulian (AP); Jan. 21

Former MP in Alberta questions pace of oilsands development
Brian Jean, who recently resigned after serving a decade as a member of Parliament, questioned the frenzied pace of oilsands development in Alberta, which has outgrown Fort McMurray's ability to handle the population boom that came with the oilsands industry.
Calgary Herald (Edmonton Journal); Jan. 21

First-of-its-kind greenhouse gas monitoring system unveiled in Alberta
The $1.5-million greenhouse gas mobile monitoring station unveiled in Alberta is hailed as the first of its kind in North America, and was designed and built at Utah State University's Space Dynamics Lab.
Calgary Herald; Jan. 21

More than half of workers at Nevada casino live in Idaho's Magic Valley
Nevada's minimum hourly wage is $8.15, $1 more an hour than Idaho's, and for hundreds of residents of the Magic Valley, that difference makes it worth the bus ride south to Jackpot to work in the casino.
Idaho Statesman (Twin Falls Times-News); Jan. 21

Colorado reports surge in background check on gun sales
In 2013, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation conducted background checks on 396,955 would-be gun buyers, and rejected 1.9 percent, or 7,542, of those who applied, while in 2012, 2.1 percent, or 7,211, of the 343,402 who applied were denied.
Denver Post; Jan. 21

Air pollution in 2 Utah counties on Monday 82% over federal standards
On Monday, particulate counts in Utah's Salt Lake and Davis counties were 82 percent over federal limits, and Cache County's limits were 50 percent higher than acceptable.
Salt Lake Tribune; Jan. 21

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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