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New West Daily Roundup for Oct. 26, 2015

Courtesy of Disney and Pixar

Today in New West News: Wyoming provides the background to Pixar’s new film, Colorado politicians divided over Clean Power Plan lawsuit, Bozeman’s getting another brewery, and Colorado drops plans to ramp up mountain lion hunting.

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New West Daily Roundup for Oct. 20, 2015

Colorado River

In New West News: Colorado unemployment drops to four percent, a Cold Water Climate Shield is being mapped across five states, the USDA wants to save Montana bees, and rent for apartments is up in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

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New West Daily Roundup for Oct. 8, 2015

University of Montana

Here’s your New West News: a University of Montana discovery is bearing fruit, Glacier National Park nears a new visitor record, Idaho Power is exploring its renewable energy options, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper receives flak for his climate change plan, and a Denver-based real estate firm lands a choice portfolio.

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New For 2014: New West Books

Goliath Staggered

Some exciting news to pass along: We’re announcing the debut of New West Books and a first title, Goliath Staggered: How the People of Highway 12 Conquered Big Oil.

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Famed Polar Explorer Brings Mission, Amazing Photos, to UM

Polar explorer Will Steger, one of the most accomplished Arctic adventurers of all time, has seen and done things that most mortals can't imagine. In 1986 he led the first dogsled expedition to the North Pole without resupply; in 1988, he traversed Greenland by dogsled, a 1,600-mile trip that was the longest of its kind ever; in 1989 he launched the first dogsled traverse of Antarctica, a seven-month, 3,471-mile journey. What Steger never expected to see was the end of ice. And what he never expected to be doing is what he's engaged in right now: a battle to fight climate change and save the planet. Global warming doubters might refute the scientific studies, Steger says. What they can't do, he believes, is refute eyewitness reports and photos from someone who's explored the territory for 45 years. So Steger has taken the injured Arctic on the road.

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Idaho, Oregon Need To Cut The Smog

A number of states in the West could be impacted by a proposal announced Thursday from the Environmental Protection Agency regarding stricter health standards for smog, replacing a Bush-era limit that ran counter to scientific recommendations. The new limit will likely put hundreds more counties nationwide in violation, a designation that will require them to find additional ways to clamp down on pollution or face government sanctions, most likely the loss of federal highway dollars, according to the EPA. The new standards could impact counties in Idaho, Oregon and Nevada, among numerous others states for the first time based on EPA data. The tighter standards will cost tens of billions of dollars to implement, but will ultimately save billions in avoided emergency room visits, premature deaths, and missed work and school days, the EPA said.

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Long Drought Ahead From Global Warming, Study Says

A University of Montana study led by acclaimed scientist Steven Running shows that climate change will significantly extend drought periods in the Northern Rockies, stressing forests and inviting more frequent and virulent wildfires. Running, the author of the study, is a Regents professor of ecology in UM’s College of Forestry and Conservation and a co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his leading role with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The peer-reviewed study, conducted with the help of other UM forestry researchers, predicts that global warming will have a dramatic impact on regional forests. Rising temperatures could spark an epidemic of insect infestations and cause catastrophic fires in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, "potentially affecting more than 360,000 people who live in homes in the forest-urban interface that are valued at $21 billion," according to a UM announcement about the study.

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Wild Homage: Photos of Flathead Valley Travel to Washington, D.C.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a group of conservation photographers is giving the Flathead an ample voice as an exhibit on the values of and threats to the valley heads to Washington, D.C. The International League of Conservation Photographers, along with the National Parks Conservation Association, spent two weeks in the Flathead River Valley in British Columbia and parts of Glacier National Park documenting the animals, plants and landscape. But, along with the beauty, the photographers also attempted to capture the threats the valley could face in the future. “Here’s a million acres that is pretty much the way it always has been. It’s a very unique valley in that respect,” said Will Hammerquist, Glacier program manager for the NPCA.

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Is UM Green Enough? Yes, and Growing Greener

UM has now launched its new Climate Change Studies minor program, the first of its kind in the nation. Last spring, the Green Thread Initiative held its first workshop to help professors introduce climate and sustainability topics into their curriculum, allowing more environmental dialogue throughout campus. Faculty members across campus are directly addressing different aspects of climate change in their own work, creating an interdisciplinary curriculum and minor through departments from economics to journalism, forestry to ethics, and science to law. Students like me are gaining valuable skills through this strong education in science, society, and solutions to climate change. The Environmental Studies Department is even funding two of us to represent UM at the international climate treaties in Copenhagen this December. My environmental studies major together with this climate minor are providing me critical advocacy skills, and I know that I am not the only student that UM has helped become empowered in enacting change.

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Small Hydro: The Wave of the Future?

Big public utilities these days are turning to the wilderness to produce power -- on streams that are so remote, hardly anyone complains, according to a fine Wall Street Journal story by Jim Carlton. The article kicks off with news about how the Snohomish County Public Utility District (from the area north of Seattle) is building a small hydroelectric-power plant on "picture-perfect" Youngs Creek in the Cascades foothills -- with little opposition. According to the story: "So-called small hydro plants like Youngs Creek are sprouting up across the country, with around 500 potential sites identified by a federal study in Washington state alone."

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