Rockies Today, Feb. 7



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

U.S. House passes public lands omnibus bill
The U.S. House voted Thursday on a nearly party-line vote to pass a package of public lands bills, including one that would fast-track the logging of the area burned by the Rim Fire in California last year, allowing hand-propelled craft on waters in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, and one that changes federal grazing laws to extend the term of the permits from 10 to 20 years.
Flathead Beacon (AP); Feb. 7

Western tribes gain new authority to prosecute non-Indians
Included in last year's reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act was a provision that restores authority of tribes to prosecute non-Indians for a limited number of crimes, and on Thursday, U.S. Department of Justice officials that the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Oregon, the Tulalip Tribes of Washington state, and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in Arizona had met the requirements to implement those provisions, and other tribes will be able to do so in March of 2015.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Feb. 7

Montana coalition tackles clean up of abandoned mines
There are thousands of abandoned mines leaching lead, arsenic, zinc, mercury and other toxic chemicals into Montana waters, and FutureWest, a Bozeman nonprofit, has identified 9,000 such sites in Southwest Montana, and has selected two for the first reclamation efforts of the Montana Headwaters Abandoned Mine Reclamation Project.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle; Feb. 7

USDA to spend $30M on forest projects, including one in Montana
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will launch its multi-year forest restoration initiative with 13 projects this year, including one to thin the watershed that supplies Montana's Capital City with its drinking water.
Flathead Beacon (AP); Feb. 7

Sportsmen's Heritage, Recreational Enhancement Act passes in U.S. House
On Tuesday, the U.S. House passed the Sportsmen's Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, which protects access to public lands and prohibits the banning of the use of lead in ammunition, and on the same day, a similar bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate by U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Kay Hagan of North Carolina.
Idaho Mountain Express (Sun Valley); Feb. 7

Wyoming grants Cheyenne $13M to build, buy Magpul facilities
On Thursday, the Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board awarded Cheyenne's economic development division $13 million to buy a building to temporarily house Colorado gun-magazine maker, Magpul, which announced it would move out of the Centennial State after legislators passed a law limiting the capacity of gun magazines, while it builds a new building for its manufacturing operations in that city.
Casper Star-Tribune; Feb. 7

Applesauce snack company to open plant in Idaho
Nampa's access to fruit, the Idaho city's skilled workforce, and the fit of the former Micron Technology site were cited by Materne for opening a GoGo squeeZ, which makes applesauce snack packets, production plant in that city.
Idaho Statesman; Feb. 7

Wyoming legislators propose tax bills on coal, natural gas
State Rep. Eric Barlow and Sen. Ogden Driskill said changes in the coal and natural gas markets prompted them to prepare legislation that would lower Wyoming's taxes on surface and underground coal and another that would remove the severance tax exemption for flared natural gas.
Casper Star-Tribune; Feb. 7

Colorado Senate panel advances bill to limit lawn size
State Sen. Ellen Roberts, whose bill to limit the size of lawns in subdivisions that buy agricultural water rights was passed on to the full Senate by the Senate Agricultural Committee on Thursday, said that her bill was prompted by her desire to get people talking, and thinking, about water and land use.
Durango Herald; Feb. 7

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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