wildlife

USFWS to consider protection for black-backed woodpecker

Posted: Apr 10, 2013

Written by

Associated Press

A woodpecker that depends on intense wildfires for the standing dead trees where it feeds on insects is being considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Monday it will take a closer look at the black-backed woodpecker. A decision is due in a year but could take longer due to budget cuts.

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Federal plan seeks landowners to protect Missouri River basin

Posted: Apr 10, 2013

Written by

Scott Streater, Greenwire

The Obama administration is proposing a major new effort to work with private landowners along a pristine stretch of the Missouri River that bisects Nebraska and South Dakota in an effort to preserve thousands of acres of sensitive lands and dozens of ecologically significant fish species.



Montana Senate passes measure to limit bison movement

Posted: Apr 9, 2013

Written by

Associated Press/GW

The Montana Senate yesterday approved a controversial proposal that would limit where bison can be moved and shrink herd size.

The bill, which passed by a 30-19 vote, specifically targets the moving of bison out of Yellowstone National Park. State Sen. John Brenden (R), who sponsored the bill, said those animals may carry brucellosis, a disease that can be fatal to cattle. Additionally, he worried that the bison could damage private property.

"If the federal government doesn't want to handle it, then Montana should," he said.



BLM study shows that Colorado Plateau will get hotter and drier

Posted: Apr 8, 2013

Written by

Scott Condon, Aspen Times

Conservationists are lobbying the Bureau of Land Management to overhaul its policies in the Colorado Plateau after the agency's own study indicated big alterations are coming over the next 50 years because of climate change.

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Ranchers, BLM settle suit over Wyoming wild horses

Posted: Apr 5, 2013

Written by

Associated Press

A legal settlement between ranchers and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management would reduce wild horse numbers by about half on more than 4,300 square miles of sagebrush country in the Red Desert of southwest Wyoming.

Under the agreement, the BLM would allow no more than 1,050 wild horses in four herd areas, down from the current population of just under 2,000 horses in those areas north and south of Rock Springs. Many remaining horses would be sterilized or receive fertility control treatments so they don't reproduce.

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Mont. Republican tests waters on conservation

Posted: Apr 5, 2013

Written by

Phil Taylor, Greenwire

Montana's lone congressman, Republican Steve Daines, is showing early signs that he may break from his predecessor, Republican Denny Rehberg, on key conservation bills in the Treasure State.

While Daines, a Bozeman businessman, is yet to take positions on bills to designate new wilderness, recreation and logging areas in his state, he last week announced he would introduce a bill to protect an area west of Glacier National Park from mineral development, a major legislative priority for the state's two Democratic senators.



Pipeline spills stir new criticism of Keystone XL plan

Posted: Apr 5, 2013

Written by

DAN FROSCH, New York Times

Two recent oil pipeline spills have prompted new criticism from opponents of the proposed Keystone XL project, while raising more questions about whether the federal government is adequately monitoring the nation’s vast labyrinth of pipelines.

In recent years, critics have said that the pipeline agency has allowed pipeline companies too much autonomy in regulating their own operations. In 2011, Congress approved legislation that increased maximum fines that pipeline operators face for safety violations, among other measures.

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Copper exploration upstream unnerves Montanans

Posted: Apr 3, 2013

Written by

EVE BYRON, Helena Independent Record

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS — In the past three years, Canadian-based Tintina has spent $18 million in exploration costs here, and now boasts that the Black Butte Copper mine is the third highest grade copper deposit in development in North America. To support that claim, the company says it has drilled hundreds of core samples totaling 178,800 feet, plus looked at 123,000 feet of other companies’ core samples.

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Mont. bill would allow water leasing to O&G development

Posted: Apr 3, 2013

Written by

Karl Puckett, Great Falls Tribune

Water rights could be temporarily leased to oil developers or other users under a bill meant to help meet soaring demand for water resulting from the oil development in northeastern Montana. The bill also is aimed at preventing illegal use of water and protecting other water users as water demand rises.

Currently, if water rights holders want to change the designated use of their appropriation it involves a time-consuming and costly process, said Rep. Bill McChesney, D-Miles City, the sponsor of House Bill 37. And users can lose their senior water rights through that process.

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Sen. Udall seeking community support for possible new national monument

Posted: Apr 1, 2013

Written by

Scott Streater, E&E New PM

Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is once again exploring the possibility of designating a new national monument in a picturesque central Colorado canyon straddling the Arkansas River.

Udall today released a draft bill that proposes to establish the 22,000-acre Browns Canyon National Monument in Chaffee County, Colo.



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