The National Trails system, already stretching more than 12,500 miles, expands with the addition of 31 more trails totalling 716 miles.
Mountain West (CO ID MT NV UT WY)
The changes affect only new drilling areas and may include greater consideration of environmental impacts, more public review, fewer "categorical exclusions" from environmental review, and more.
The roundup of bison that have strayed from their refuge in Yellowstone National Park, part of a Quixotic plan to protect domestic cattle from the disease brucellosis, is an example of Western environmental gridlock.
"Gayla Benefield and Eva Thomson are sisters who have grown used to death. For two decades, they have watched asbestos from a nearby vermiculite mine strangle their parents, Thomson's husband, an aunt, several in-laws and numerous neighbors and friends."
A new report by the US Geological Survey, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, other federal agencies, and university experts says the water-hogging reputation of the two species has little merit, but found that effects on wildlife are mixed.
The 48 mines are also linked by the fact that most of their owners have been legally delaying action on the violations through appeals of the citations. The Mine Safety and Health Administration is faced with a backlog of approximately 16,000 appeals.
Scientists in Idaho have dug up living specimens of the giant Palouse earthworm -- a foot-long white worm said to smell like lilies and thought to be extinct.
"Controversy is swirling in Montana after the governor, Brian Schweitzer, requested in a letter sent to local officials that they voice support for 'coal money' from a proposed new mine in exchange for receiving funds to build roads and other infrastructure projects."
"With grizzly bears being found farther out from the Rocky Mountain Front than in past years, officials with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks are holding community meetings — including one in Wolf Creek next month — to discuss better ways to co-exist with them."
"An energy company with government approvals to launch the first significant U.S. oil sands project is trying to raise money to build a plant in eastern Utah that would turn out 2,000 barrels of oil a day."