Rockies Today, March 5



Top news links, courtesy of Mountain West News.

U.S. House passes Montana's North Fork Watershed Protection Act
On a voice vote on Tuesday, the U.S. House approved Montana U.S. Rep. Steve Daines' North Fork Watershed Protection Act, which would protect 430,000 acres of U.S. Forest Service lands along north and middle forks of the Flathead River hard-rock mining, mountaintop-removal coal mining, and oil and gas development, with an identical bill now awaiting action in the U.S. Senate.
Flathead Beacon; March 5

Montana's program to gain public access to landlocked parcels a trendsetter
The Unlocking State Lands created by the Montana Legislature last year, gives landowners who allow public access through their property to landlocked state lands a tax credit, and Joe Perry, chairman of the Private Lands, Public Wildlife Council appointed by the governor, said he believes the program may be the first of its kind in the United States.
Great Falls Tribune; March 5

USFS chief discusses divide on wilderness debate
As part of the "Room to Roam" Wilderness Issues Lecture Series hosted by the Wilderness Institute at the University of Montana in Missoula, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell talked about the need for untrammeled wild areas, provided his agency's perspective on current wilderness proposals before Congress and the agency's ability to respond to change.
Missoulian; March 5

Utah House panel advances state wilderness act
State Rep. Stephen Handy said his Utah Wilderness Act is designed to quell concerns that if Utah is successful in taking over administration of 30 million acres of federal lands within the state's borders that those acres will all be open to development, and on Tuesday, the House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee gave preliminary approval to House Bill 160.
Salt Lake Tribune; March 5

Idaho biologist collars wolf pups to track survival rates
Lacy Robinson, a biologist Idaho Department of Fish and Game, developed a system to track wolf pup survival in Northern Idaho that was so successful it will now be deployed statewide.
Spokane Spokesman-Review; March 5

Congressional hearing on marijuana shows state, federal divide
With marijuana legal in Colorado and Washington state, and medicinal marijuana legalized in 21 states, there is a growing divide between federal and state laws on the drug, and Tuesday's hearing before the House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations showed how wide the disconnect is between states' more lax regulations and the federal government's continued stringent rules.
Durango Herald; March 5

Police in B.C. city tell Canada federal marijuana laws won't be enforced
On April 1 a new federal law takes effect in Canada that delegates the right to grow and sell medical marijuana to just certain businesses, but the Vancouver Police Department has already put the federal government on notice that it will not shut down "professionally managed" unlicensed shops because the city believes the federal law interferes with patients' access to medical marijuana.
Vancouver Sun; March 5

Xcel Energy to buy solar-generated power from $200M Pueblo plant
Tuesday's decision from Xcel Energy to buy solar-generated power from a planned $200-million solar plant in Colorado is indicative of the utility's stance that commercial-scale solar plants are more economically feasible.
Denver Post; March 5

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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