Rockies Today, Feb. 4



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

Review of data questions effectiveness of logging to stop pine beetles
University of Montana pine-beetle biologist Diana Six and two University of California-Berkeley policy experts published the results of their review of scientific data that supported logging as a means to curb pine-bark beetle infestations and found, that despite a dearth of such actual data, policymakers continued to endorse logging as an effective tool in battling the burrowing bugs.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle; Feb. 4

Settlement requires USFWS to evaluate grizzly bear survival in SW Montana
After a radio collar that had been put on a young male grizzly bear was found under a log on the Montana side of the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station that straddles the Montana-Idaho border, several groups filed a federal lawsuit seeking a reassessment of the research station in prime grizzly bear habitat, and on Monday, U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill signed a settlement agreement in that lawsuit that requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to do such a review.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle; Feb. 4

Program to aid victims of exposure to asbestos at Montana mine expands
The program to aid people who were exposed to asbestos at W.R. Grace's vermiculite mine in Libby was originally available to residents of Flathead and Lincoln counties in Montana, but that program has now expanded to five more counties in Northwest Montana, seven in Idaho and six in Washington.
Kalispell Daily InterLake; Feb. 4

U.S. Senate to likely pass Farm Bill today
The wide-ranging, five-year Farm Bill that has been haggled over in Congress for the past three years is up for vote today in the U.S. Senate, where the $956.4 billion measure is likely to pass. A graph on how the $956.4 billion is split between programs, including $756 billion for nutrition and food assistance programs.
Washington Post; Feb. 4

Republicans propose changes to the federal Endangered Species Act
A report due out today from Republican U.S. House lawmakers will lay out changes they believe should be made to the 40-year-old federal Endangered Species Act.; Feb. 4

Tesoro proposes pipeline to move Utah's waxy crude to SLC refineries
The waxy crude oil pulled from Utah's Uinta Basin must be heated while being transported from well to refinery, and Tesoro is proposing a 135-mile insulated pipeline to carry the crude to refineries in Salt Lake City, which the company says will eliminate 250 truck trips each day.
Salt Lake Tribune; Feb. 4

Idaho-based bank gets new owner over the weekend
The Idaho Department of Finance closed Boise-based Syringa Bank, which had lost more than $52 million since 2008, on Friday at 6 p.m., and a pre-arranged agreement transferred ownership to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which then sold it to California-based Sunwest Bank for $10 million.
Idaho Statesman; Feb. 4

Idaho gold miners ask state legislators to push back on Clean Water Act
Since May, people seeking to dredge gold from streams and rivers have been required to get a permit under the federal Clean Water Act, but not all the streams and rivers where dredging is allowed under state law in Idaho are on the federal list, and at a joint hearing Monday of the Senate Resources and Environment and House Resources and Conservation Committees, miners aired their grievances about the federal law.
Twin Falls Times News; Feb. 4

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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