Blog Cabin
Tuesday
Jul262011

Suit forces Billings to re-think medical marijuana

(BILLINGS)- A new lawsuit is forcing Billings leaders to re-work an emergency ordinance which had restricted the operation of medical marijuana clinics in the wake of new changes in state law.

Billings had attempted to enact the local regulation earlier this month, but it promptly generated yet another lawsuit from medical marijuana growers.

KTVQ is reporting the city has now suspended those rules until the situation can be sorted out.

 

Tuesday
Jul262011

Idaho judge rejects reconsideration motion on megaloads

(BOISE)- An Idaho judge is rejecting a request to reconsider his decision to support Idaho permits for additional “megaload” shipments through the state’s Clearwater corridor, saying opponents raised no new arguments in their motion.

Last month, hearing officer Duff McKee had recommended the Idaho Department of Transportation go ahead and issue permits for Imperial/Exxon to ship large loads of equipment from the Port of Lewiston, through the Clearwater and over Lolo Pass. The company wants to ship more than 200 loads along the route to reach the Alberta Tar Sands oil fields.

But the conservation groups and individuals filed the motion for reconsideration, asking McKee to look at additional information to support their opposition.

In a ruling issued Monday, McKee rejected those arguments outright. He said the opponents’ contention that he hadn’t consider federal laws like the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is a “red herring” that needs to be dealt with by federal courts. He further defends the process for reaching his earlier decision, and for Idaho’s ability to issue the oversized load permits.

McKee also says some of the opponents’ arguments weren’t new and were already addressed in the earlier hearing.

McKee’s rejection of the motion now clears the way for Idaho’s Transportation Director make a final decision on the Imperial/Exxon permits.

The opponents say they plan to file an appeal with ITD Director Brian Ness. If Ness rejects that appeal, they could still take the case to the courts in Idaho.

The loads also remain blocked in Montana because of Judge Ray Dayton’s July 19th preliminary injunction, which said the Montana Department of Transportation hadn’t followed the state’s Environmental Policy Act in reviewing permits. (picture shows "test load" parked near the Montana border)

And the Idaho Rivers United suit against the U.S. Forest Service over the Wild and Scenic Rivers question is also still active in the federal courts. That group maintains the Forest Service is violating the law by allowing the shipments along the protected corridor of the Lochsa River.

Monday
Jul252011

Flathead Co says "not to worry" about water well pollution

(KALISPELL)- Flathead County heath officials say recent studies showing a handful of wells with traces of contamination doesn't mean a widespread problem in the valley.

The study, written by the Flathead Biological Station found pollution sources in fairly shallow wells in a small area known to have problems with contamination from surface and groundwater sources, including septic tanks.

But Monday, the health department made it clear the test results aren't indicative of wide-spread problems with traditional wells.

KAJ TV has the full story.

Monday
Jul252011

ConocoPhillips megaloads could finally make Billings next week

(Billings)- It's be a long time since ConocoPhillips made a spectacle in Western Montana as it shipped massive coke drums through the Bitterroot mountains. So long in fact that all of the pictures of the loads have snow in the shots.

But the scene for the their final arrival is entirely different, completing the journey in August heat. (Q2 photo)

The last pair of loads has been stuck in Eastern Montana for a couple of months, held up by until contractors could make sure bridges hadn't been damaged by flooding.

Now, KTVQ reports the loads are on the move again, and should arrive in Billings August 5th.

Monday
Jul252011

Shortage of allergy medicine nothing to sneeze at

(BOZEMAN)- Summer took forever coming to Montana this year, but when it did, allergy sufferers were hit full force.

The arrival of drier weather caused an explosion in late-arriving pollens and that's put the squeeze on the amount of allergy relief medicines in the state's pharmacies.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle says some pharmacies are seeing a two to threefold increase in patients the past couple of weeks, and that means some relief products are on special order.