Today in New West news: bison designated America’s national mammal, Lummi Nation wins in Wyoming coal gateway conflict, Ernst & Young announces finalists for Entrepreneur Of The Year Mountain Desert region, and WalletHub releases list of best and worst cities for starting a career.
Yesterday, President Obama signed the National Bison Legacy Act, a bill that previously swept through the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. According to Yellowstone Insider, the bill is the culmination of several decades of advocacy and striving from a variety of conservationists and environmentalists—and, most importantly, Native American tribes and other reps (the InterTribal Buffalo Council) who see the designation as a vindication of their heritage and history in the United States. From Yellowstone Insider:
Although the bison has always roamed outside Yellowstone National Park, with a historic range spanning most of North America, Yellowstone will always be an important part of the animal’s survival, since it became a de facto enclave for the animals—barring the occasional bout of poaching early in the Park’s history.
Indeed, not only is Yellowstone home to the only herd of bison that weren’t extirpated from their regular range, it’s also home to some of the only bison directly descended from the original North American herd. Although the bison has rebounded mightily, most bison outside Yellowstone are bison-cattle hybrids, usually raised for their meat.
If you want to learn a thing or two about bison, we heartily recommend you pick up a copy of American Bison by Dale F. Lott. Or by visiting the Park and seeing them in action! But be careful; they’re fiercely defensive of their personal space.
Indeed, wild bison are making somewhat of a comeback in the West, between the Fort Collins herd derived from the Yellowstone gene pool and the Blackfeet bison who previously roamed Canada who will now be allowed to roam the Blackfeet reservation, in Glacier National Park, and in the Badger-Two Medicine area.
Over in Washington state, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has sided with the Lummi Nation against the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal for Wyoming coal—to the likely chagrin of state coal producers and Governor Matt Mead. According to the Wyoming Business Report, the Corps’ ruling indicated the project would impinge on treaty-protected fishing rights. Colonel John Buck, commander of the Corps’ Seattle District, announced they could not sign off on “a project that abrogated treaty rights.” From the WBR:
The Bellingham (Wash.) Herald reported that Lummi members cheered the announcement as it was made Monday morning in chambers of the tribe’s business council.
“With that, I want to acknowledge the hard work and leadership taken on behalf of all tribal leaders here,” Lummi Chairman Tim Ballew told those gathered. “We wouldn’t have been able to do it without you. Today is a good day. Today definitely is a good day.”
The decision was a major blow to SSA Marine, which has 51 percent ownership of the estimated $700 million project. Last month the company suspended work on an environmental review for the project as it awaited the Corps’ decision.
Backers of the project are now left with few options. SSA Marine can change the project so it doesn’t significantly impact treaty rights, reach an agreement with Lummi or sue in federal court.
The project has been heatedly debated for years, with backers citing the jobs potential the terminal would provide and opponents point to increased rail traffic and the associated pollution it could bring to the Seattle suburb.
Wyoming Republican Sen. Mike Enzi said last year that he thinks opposition to the construction of coal terminals in the Pacific Northwest is based on myths, including that allowing a port would create unacceptable levels of dust.
“If there was a problem with blowing coal, our town would be black,” said Enzi, who was once the mayor of the Wyoming coal mecca town of Gillette. “I think it’s essential, and I think eventually the people will get there.”
The Lummi ruling is not an isolated incident, especially as mineral states like Wyoming and Utah try to find new ways to get their products to the coveted Asian market. Last week, an environmental assessment for another Washington transit line for Wyoming coal came down heavily against the project, citing public health concerns; others speculated the downturn of energy prices plays a likely part. Then, of course, there’s the proposed port for offshore California for Utah mineral products that’s met pushback from California residents.
Meanwhile, London-based professional services firm Ernst & Young (EY) has released their list of finalists for Entrepreneur Of The Year in the Mountain Desert region. The list comprises 24 companies spread across Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico, according to the Denver Business Journal:
An independent panel of judges made the finalist selections. The winner will be announced at an awards gala set for June 23 at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Click here for more information.
Now in its 30th year, the program is conducted in more than 145 cities in 60 countries throughout the world.
Regional winners are eligible for consideration for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year national honors. Those honorees will be announced at an event in Palm Springs, California, on Nov. 19.
The US Entrepreneur Of The Year Overall Award winner then moves on to compete for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Award in Monaco in June 2017.
Founded and produced by EY, Entrepreneur Of The Year is sponsored nationally by SAP America, Merrill Corp. and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
In the Mountain Desert region, the Denver Business Journal is a sponsor along with Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Colliers International and Woodruff-Sawyer & Co.
Finally, keeping with business rankings, WalletHub has released a new study outlining 2016’s Best & Worst Cities to Start a Career. To the likely surprise of no one, Salt Lake City, UT and Denver, CO took home first and second, respectively, as the best career cities, out of a total 150. You can see the full map above.
To quantify their rankings, WalletHub analyzed 17 metrics under two umbrellas: Professional Opportunities (comprising qualities like Availability of Entry-Level Jobs, Workforce Diversity, and Unemployment Rate) and Quality of Life (comprising qualities like “Recreation” ranking, Percentage of the Population Aged 25 to 34, and Median Annual Income).