Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Monday, July 16, 2012
produced daily by Shellie Nelson
In the Rockies today, although wildfire season usually doesn't strike in Utah until July, nearly 400,000 acres have already burned in the Beehive State.
That acreage is about half the record-setting 629,212 acres that burned in 2007.
With drought declared in more than 1,000 counties across the nation, ranchers are being forced to sell their cattle, and political analysts said higher food costs caused by the drought are likely to influence voters this fall.
Also in the news, consumers in Colorado are taking advantage of a new law that allows them to lease a portion of a solar array, and the state's largest utility is offering a new incentive program to "plant" more such gardens.
Ranchers haul their cattle to drought sales
Lack of winter moisture, little spring rains and summer's blistering heat have taken a toll on pastures and hay crops, forcing ranchers to reduce their herds, and at sale barns such as in Torrington, Wyo., the number of cattle sold each week has increased fivefold.
New York Times;
Drought edges into politics
With drought disasters declared in more than 1,000 counties across the nation, food prices are expected to rise, increasing consumer anxiety about the economy, and analysts said that will play a part in voters' choice in November.
Christian Science Monitor;
Utah wildfire season on pace to rival that of 2007
In 2007, wildfires burned a record 629,212 acres in Utah, and as of Sunday, fires have scorched 394,614 acres so far this year, and costs for fighting those fires are estimated to be at $47.1 million. Contains a graphic showing Utah's fires so far this season, as well as costs to fight them.
Salt Lake Tribune;
Colorado poised to lead nation in 'solar gardens'
Solar gardens allow consumers to lease a portion of a solar array, and Colorado has a solar-garden law, leading-edge private financing and developers that specialize in such collectives, giving the Centennial State an edge in the collaborative projects.
Alberta university floats proposal to recycle helium
Helium is in short supply in North America due to declining supplies and the shutting down of processing plants, but millions of cubic feet of the gas are released into the atmosphere every year, and the University of Alberta is working on a project that would capture those releases and recycle them.
Lower oil price slows Canada's economy
The drop in oil prices to $87 a barrel is helping companies and consumers, who are paying less to run their plants and their vehicles, respectively, but the lower price is also having an effect on Canada's overall economy, a reflection of just how dependent the country has become on the energy sector.
Toronto Globe and Mail;
Retired USFS scientists say ski area would harm Montana research area
When the U.S. Forest Service first debated the creation of a natural research area on the Carlton Ridge above Montana's Bitterroot Valley in the 1970s, official decided to designate just 900 acres of the 1,500-acre ridge as a natural research area because the other 550 acres on the western edge had potential to be developed as a ski area, but now Tom Maclay's proposed ski area calls for a tram to move through the heart of the Carlton Ridge NRA.
Idaho should work with BLM on plan to keep domestic, bighorn sheep apart
The Bureau of Land Management decided to remove domestic sheep from the Bernice grazing allotment in the Lemhi Mountains after collared bighorn sheep proved that wild populations were mixing with domestic sheep, and Idaho officials are disputing that decision, but what they should be doing is working with the BLM to find a win-win situation that will protect bighorn sheep and find other grazing options for domestic sheep. A column by Rocky Barker.
Basics of pipeline flow means B.C.'s terrain could be a challenge
A federal official who has investigated some of the major pipeline spills in Canada said British Columbia's hilly terrain poses some specific challenges in the event of a leak that, if not addressed correctly by the pipeline company, could become a major spill. A column by Mark Hume.
Toronto Globe and Mail;
Beyond the region
CEOs want First Nations included in Canada's natural resource negotiations
In a report for Canada's premiers due to be released Monday, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives are urging that First Nations communities be involved in natural resource development decisions and that the government work to help train aboriginal workers.
Toronto Globe and Mail (Canadian Press);
For mountain climbers the new norm is no norm
Shifting weather patterns have made tried-and-true treks to the top of mountains in the United States and elsewhere in the world less of a sure thing, and avalanches are claiming more victims as more people pursue the adventure in ever-changing conditions.
New York Times;
Jobless rates in E. Washington state defy national, state trends
The unemployment rate in the Tri-Cities area of Washington state is 9 percent, up from 7.5 percent in May of 2011, while the jobless rate in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area fell from 8.7 percent to 7.6 percent during the same time period.
Wolf attacks sheep in Washington near Spokane
A wolf attacked sheep on a small ranch just 15 miles from downtown Spokane, surprising state wildlife officials, given the proximity to the eastern Washington city.
"W e're all cutting down, and we'll never be able to replace what we’ve got now. If this is to go on for another year, it'll put a lot of people out of business.
Mountain West Perspectives
Mountain West Voices
Hear weekly stories from the Rocky Mountain West as gathered by Clay Scott