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Rims At Winnett
Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map In the Rockies today, public lands and energy development in Utah are at the top of the page.

On Wednesday, Daggett County officials announced they had crafted a land-use agreement that would protect nearly a fifth of the Utah county's land as wilderness or with a conservation agreement, while allowing energy and resort development 10,000 acres.

The proposal will be rolled into Utah U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop's public lands initiative that he intends to introduce in January.

The Grand County Council voted Tuesday night to join the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition, which will help the seven counties in eastern Utah to work together to improve highways and other infrastructure to facilitate energy development.

Business owners and residents in Moab and Castle Valley had objected to joining the coalition over concerns about the effect increased energy development would have on the tourism industry in red rock country.

There's a rally tonight in Price, hosted by the South Eastern Utah Energy Producers Association to spread the word about the benefits of developing the region's coal and fossil fuels, with organizers hoping for a crowd of 10,000.

And finally, the results of a new study done in the Uintah Basin in northeast Utah, where there are 10,000 oil and gas wells in operation, found different aspects of those operations are releasing different chemicals into the air at ground level.

Wellheads emit methane and methanol, while valves, dehydrators and tanks released volatile organic chemicals.

Generators and jacks emitted nitrogen dioxide.

The study was done to help regulators better manage such emissions.

Rockies today

Compromise land-use deal struck in Utah touted as template for the nation
On Wednesday, representatives from Daggett County, and from environmental and conservation groups, including the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, The Wilderness Society, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Trout Unlimited, announced an agreement in a longstanding land-use dispute in the Utah county that would designate 80,000 acres as wilderness and put conservation protections on an additional 30,000 acres, as well as designate a stretch of the Green River as wild and scenic, with the agreement to become part of U.S. Rep. Bishop's public lands initiative he intends to introduce in January.
Deseret News; Oct. 23

Grand County joins 6 other Utah counties on energy push
After a heated Grand County Council meeting Tuesday night before an overflow crowd, the Utah county's council voted 6-1 to join the Seven County Infrastructure Coalition to work together for highway improvements to accommodate energy development in Eastern Utah, a move residents from Moab and Castle Valley resisted over concerns about how such energy development will affect their tourism-based economies.
Salt Lake Tribune; Oct. 23

Utah's first Coal and Fossil Fuel Rally set for tonight in Price
The South Eastern Utah Energy Producers Association is organizing tonight's Coal and Fossil Fuel Rally in Price, and the group is hoping to draw 10,000 people to learn about the benefits of developing the state's fossil fuel resources.
Deseret News; Oct. 23

Study of emissions in Utah's Uintah Basin finds slate of chemicals
The Uintah Basin in Eastern Utah has more than 10,000 oil and gas wells, with another 1,000 being added annually, and a study led by Carsten Warneke, a University of Colorado researcher, who wrote the report on the study which tracked ground-level emissions from oil and gas operations found high levels of methanol, methane, nitrogen dioxide, benzene and toluene.
Denver Post; Oct. 23

Colorado construction companies fight with energy firms for workers
A survey of nearly three dozen construction firms doing work in Colorado in August and September found that 64 percent had increased pay for craft workers and 79 percent had raised pay for construction professionals, and 69 percent of those surveyed said local schools do a poor job of training workers for the construction industry.
Denver Post; Oct. 23

Taseko seeks costs, lawsuit on Canada's rejection of B.C. gold, copper mine
A week before the judicial review of the federal environment minister's rejection of Taseko's proposed New Prosperity Mine in British Columbia begins, the lawyer for the company asked a Federal Court to allow a trial on the rejection of the mine and to allow the company to recoup the $130 million it has spent thus far on the process.
Vancouver Sun; Oct. 23

Analysis: Energy industry has highest fatality rate due to fires, explosions
EnergyWire's review of federal labor statistics found that the energy industry employs less than 1 percent of the nation's workforce, but workers in that industry represented 10 percent of all workplace fatalities due to fires and explosions. (Environment & Energy Daily); Oct. 23

AM Idaho purchases energy leases on 600 acres in Cassius County
Although much is unknown about oil and natural gas resources in Idaho's Cassius County, mineral leases on 600 acres of state lands within that county were among the 5,269 acres on which the Idaho Department of State Lands sold 10-year leases, with AM Idaho, the state's largest natural gas developer, the successful bidder.
Twin Falls Times-News; Oct. 23

BLM seeks public comment on rock-climbing ban in Idaho's Castle Rock area
In 2013, the Bureau of Land Management permanently banned rock climbing, sport climbing and bouldering on the 400 acres the agency manages within the Castle Rocks Interagency Recreation Area, and is taking public comment through Dec. 15 on proposed regulations that will allow the BLM and its partners to enforce the ban.
Twin Falls Times-News; Oct. 23


Montana DEQ faces lawsuit over discharge permit for defunct paper mill
The Missoula City-County Health Board, the Missoula Valley Water Quality District, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the Clark Fork Coalition have filed a lawsuit against the Montana Department of Environmental Quality for transferring the discharge permit from the shuttered Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. pulp and paper operation to M2Green, the new owner of 3,200-acre parcel on the Clark Fork River, instead of cancelling that permit and requiring M2 to apply for a new discharge permit.
Missoulian; Oct. 23


Elk hunt in Grand Teton NP should become a thing of the past
For most of the year, elk that roam Grand Teton National Park are protected from harassment, except during hunting season, a hunt the National Park Service said is necessary to keep elk numbers in Wyoming in check, yet sister agencies under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Interior spend millions of taxpayer dollars across an invisible border feeding elk at the National Elk Refuge, which those agencies say is necessary to keep elk numbers healthy. A column by Todd Wilkinson.
Jackson Hole News & Guide; Oct. 23

Utah's ranking on women means the state's not family-friendly either
24/7 Wall Street, a data journalism blog published for investors, said Utah "is the worst state for women," a dismal statement that also means the state's dismal for the families which the women support, and that the Beehive State is wasting the talent of fully half of its residents, and not sending a positive message to the business community either.
Salt Lake Tribune; Oct. 23

Beyond the region

Microbeads from beauty products, toothpaste building up in rivers
Researchers first sounded the call of alarm on microbeads contained in facial cleansers and tooth-whitening toothpaste when the microscopic beads were discovered in the Great Lakes -- and in fish in those lakes -- and now the tiny plastic particles have been found in the St. Lawrence river, prompting a request that consumers not buy products containing the tiny beads, which dentists said don't help whiten your teeth anyway.
Durango Herald (Washington Post); Oct. 23

Developers deliver the apartments younger Americans seek to rent
As the U.S. economy improves, the millions of Americans in their twenties and thirties are seeking dwellings of their own to rent, and developers are building the amenity-laden apartment complexes they want, complete with gyms, movie screens and pools--with access to mass transit.
New York Times; Oct. 23

Four companies add solar-power discounts to employee benefits
Under a deal announced Tuesday, employees at National Geographic, 3M, Kimberly Clark and Cisco Systems will have access to discounts on solar systems for their homes.
New York Times; Oct. 23

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
at The University of Montana.
"T here has been pain and difficulty in this process, but it has been worth it. We didn't get everything we wanted as a county, but neither did the coalition."

Jerry Steglich, Daggett County commissioner, about the compromise land-use proposal struck between the Utah county and conservation and environmental groups that will be a part of U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop's public lands initiative.
- Deseret News

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Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West

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