Our archives

Major Funders:
Foundation for Community Vitality
Greater Montana Foundation
Encouraging communications on issues, trends and values of importance to Montanans.
Sunset At Fort Peck
Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map In the Rockies today, British Columbia is pressed for details about "dangerous occurrences" at mines' tailings ponds in the Canadian province; another species avoids federal protection; and Utah's employers answer Gov. Gary Herbert's challenge.

After a tailings pond breach at the Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia sent a cascade of toxic water and sediment down into rivers and lakes, the province has ordered inspections on those types of structures at mines by Dec. 1, but the province's unwillingness to release details about past incidents of concern has moved mine safety into the political arena.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Director Dan Ashe is crediting conservation work done in Montana for the agency's decision to not put federal protection in place for the Arctic grayling, which is found only in Canada, Alaska and the Missouri River Basin in Montana.

And in Utah, where Gov. Gary Herbert issued a challenge to private sector employers in January of 2012 to create 100,000 new jobs in 1,000 days, the governor announced Tuesday that 112,200 new jobs had been created.

Montana Public Radio will broadcast Mountain West Voices at 7:30 p.m., with tonight's program a rebroadcast of Clay Scott's conversation Blackfeet educator Darrell Kipp.

Kipp looks back on a career that took him from the Army, to the Harvard School of Education and then back to the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, where, for the last 30 years, he has been a pioneer in efforts to revitalize Native languages.

If you miss tonight's broadcast, you can always listen online via the Mountain West Voices' website.

Rockies today

More info sought on 'dangerous occurrences' at B.C. mines' tailings ponds
Between 2000 and 2012, there were 46 "dangerous occurrences" involving tailings ponds at British Columbia mines, and when pressed for details about those occurrences, the province's mine safety agency simply released a definition of what that phrase may cover.
Vancouver Sun; Aug. 20

Western Governors' Association weighs in on funding wildfire fights
Millions of acres of land in Washington, Oregon and California have been burned by wildfires this season, and concerns about paying the costs of fighting those wildfires will again eat through federal funding, and last week, the Western Governors' Association urged leaders in the U.S. Senate and the Obama administration to increase funding for wildfire fights and preserve funding for other work.
Denver Post; Aug. 20

USFWS says conservation work will keep Montana fish off ESA list
The only Arctic grayling population in North America outside of Alaska and Canada is in the Missouri River system upstream of Great Falls in Montana, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said conservation efforts, particularly along the Big Hole River have helped bolster the grayling population to the point that the species does not need protection, a decision with which the Center for Biological Diversity disagrees.
Ravalli Republic; Aug. 20

Utah employers step up, add more jobs than governor requested
In January of 2012, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert challenged companies to create 100,000 jobs in 1,000 days, and on Tuesday, the governor celebrated the 112,200 new private sector jobs created in that time span.
Salt Lake Tribune; Aug. 20

New trails proposed in Bridger-Teton NF in Wyoming
On Tuesday, Bridger-Teton National Forest officials proposed five trail projects in the western Wyoming forest near Jackson to give hikers, bikers and horseback riders more options in the Snow King area and reduce conflicts between various user groups.
Jackson Hole News & Guide; Aug. 20

Utah communities purge gun laws at request of national group
The Washington state-based Second Amendment Foundation has embarked on a state-by-state campaign to ask counties, cities and other local governments to repeal any gun-related laws that encroach on states' authority, and has asked 49 cities and counties in Utah to repeal such laws, with Draper, West Point and Sandy agreeing to either repeal or rewrite their laws.
Salt Lake Tribune; Aug. 20

Small oil spill from ruptured pipeline reported in Utah
A tumbling boulder ruptured a pipeline near Montezuma Creek in southeast Utah releasing an estimated three to four barrels of oil that were washed by heavy rains to near the San Juan River, but booms were in place to capture the oil before it reached the river.
Salt Lake Tribune; Aug. 20

BLM takes public comment on collector pipeline project in Utah
The Bureau of Land Management will take public comment until Aug. 27 on a proposal to add 25 miles of pipeline, all but 3 miles of which will be buried, to collect natural gas that is currently flared off and move it to Fidelity Exploration and Production Co.'s Dead Horse Lateral Pipeline in Utah's Grand County on lands adjacent to red rock recreational lands near Moab.
Deseret News; Aug. 20


Wyoming taxpayers deserve explanation on botched $25M laboratory
The University of Wyoming, as well as the companies that designed and built the $25-million state-of-the art veterinary science laboratory on the Laramie campus, need to come clean on just what "event" occurred that has kept the laboratory from ever being used since 2011, and the information needs to be made public sooner than later.
Casper Star-Tribune; Aug. 20

Idaho has a perception problem about sage grouse
Idaho's decision to go forward with a sage grouse hunt this fall that will allow 2,300 of the birds to be killed during the weeklong season just months before the federal government is slated to make a decision on whether the species deserves protection, and on top of spending $100,000 to kill 4,000 ravens to protect the state's dwindling population of the bird does indeed send a mixed message about the species.
Twin Falls Times-News; Aug. 20

Beyond the region

Canadian canola farmers edge into hemp
Farmers in Canada's prairie provinces are planting more and more acres into hemp, which is drawing higher prices as hemp oil is used in an ever-expanding line of products and the stalks can be used for rope and clothing, although that continues to be a niche market at best, but market experts say that more research needs to be done to develop a wider range of plant varieties and many more farmers to take a chance on the crop.
Toronto Globe and Mail; Aug. 20

Grand Canyon reopens bidding for lucrative contract
After not receiving any bids for a lucrative 15-year contract to operate a slate of lodging and food locations at the Grand Canyon, primarily because of the requirement the winning bidder pay the Xanterra, the current contract holder $100 million for improvements made, the National Park Service borrowed $43 million to cut the cost of the payment to $57 million and reopened the contract for bid.
Salt Lake Tribune (AP); Aug. 20

Crews whittle away at wildfires in Oregon, Washington
Cooler temperatures and higher humidity levels have helped crews on the firelines in Washington and Oregon, with just four, large uncontained wildfires burning in Oregon and 10 in Washington.
Portland Oregonian; Aug. 20

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
at The University of Montana.
"W e end up robbing from the land managers. We end up stealing from those [prevention] programs to fight the fire. Treating wildfires like we do with our other programs makes sense to me."

Kevin Klein, Director of the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, adding Colorado's voice to the call for a specific federal fund for fighting wildfires.
- Denver Post

On The Bookshelf
Barbara Theroux of Fact & Fiction reviews Grizzlies on my mind


Mountain West Perspectives
New report highlights opportunities in the Colorado River Basin
New report highlights opportunities in the Colorado River Basin


Mountain West Voices
Hear weekly stories from the Rocky Mountain West as gathered by Clay Scott

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

at the

The University of Montana