Rockies Today, Feb. 19



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

FAA takes public comment on expanded jet training area in Montana
The Air Force's proposed Powder River Training Complex for its B-1B Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress bombers based in the Dakotas is roughly the size of South Carolina, most of which is located in southeastern Montana, and the Federal Aviation Administration is taking public comment on the proposal, which both Montana U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and John Walsh oppose due to safety concerns for Montanans living and working in the area.
Billings Gazette; Feb. 19

Montana schools near Yellowstone Park asked to repay federal funds
Gardiner School Districts 4 and 7 and Gallatin School District 69 in West Yellowstone, all located adjacent to Yellowstone National Park in Montana, received payments from the Interior Department for serving children of Park Service employees who live on untaxed lands, but Interior officials said those schools continued to receive such payments even after Congress approved the Payment-in-Lieu-of-Taxes program designed to replace the park payment plan, and now the federal government wants the $7 million paid out to those schools over the past 37 years.
Billings Gazette; Feb. 19

Canadian Pacific Railway CEO urges prompt removal of older tanker cars
In a speech before the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, Canadian Pacific Railway CEO Hunter Harrison said the thousands of the older DOT-111 tanker cars, which tend to rupture during derailments, should either be retrofitted to correct the structural defect or retired immediately.
Calgary Herald; Feb. 19

Colorado legislators propose $11.2M to clean up contaminated sites
State Sen. Cheri Jahn said Colorado sites contaminated with petroleum products or PCE, the cancer-causing chemical used in dry cleaning and metal degreasing, are a stumbling block for the state's economy, and said her Senate Bill 73 that reinstates a voluntary cleanup tax credit that had expired in 2010 will help clear that economic obstacle.
Denver Post; Feb. 19

Banks in Colorado take tough stance on properties with pot shops
With retail marijuana shops sprouting up across Colorado, the state's two largest banks, Wells Fargo Bank and First Bank, have said they will not offer to refinance loans with customers that have marijuana shops as tenants, and both Wells Fargo and Vectra Bank have told their commercial loan customers that if they have pot shops on properties tied to those loans, they'll have to refinance the loan with another institution.
Denver Post; Feb. 19

First recreational pot shops open in Colorado's Boulder County
Two months after the retail sale of marijuana became legal in Colorado, two new shops opened in Boulder County on Tuesday: Karing Kind in the county, and Terrapin Care Station opened in Boulder.
Boulder Daily Camera; Feb. 19

Idaho Senate sends guns-on-campus bill to the House
The Idaho Senate voted 25-10 on Tuesday to approve legislation that would allow persons with a concealed carry permit to carry a gun onto college campuses in the state, and now the bill moves to the House, where a similar measure passed in 2011, but failed in the Senate.
Idaho Statesman (AP); Feb. 19

Idahoans commute to neighboring states to earn higher minimum wage
Washington State's $9.32 minimum hourly wage is the highest in the nation, and the $2.07 difference in that wage to Idaho's $7.25 minimum hourly wage draws Idahoans across the border, as does Oregon's minimum hourly wage, which is $1.85 more than Idaho's, and even Nevada's wage, which is just a dollar an hour more than the Gem State's, is a draw for Idahoans.
Idaho Statesman (New York Times); Feb. 19

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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