Economy

Idaho officials have rejected a Texas company's request to exclude federal lands and potential royalties from what is believed to be a profitable natural gas field in the southwest part of the state.

The Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Thursday voted 3-2 in a decision that went against Houston-based oil company Alta Mesa's petition to omit 187 acres of federal land from a 615-acre drilling unit.

SkyWest, airplane, airport
Aero Icarus / Flickr Creative Commons

SkyWest Airlines has chosen Boise for the site of its new $20 million maintenance facility, a project state leaders tout was made possible by a newly-created tax incentive program.

In June, Boise Mayor David Bieter announced SkyWest would open a maintenance facility at the Boise Airport, using an existing hangar at the Jackson Jet Center. He said then that SkyWest was considering expanding that facility in Boise.

Wine harvest is underway in a small growing region in southeast Washington called Red Mountain. The dusty wedge of earth has been attracting an increasing amount of investment from winemakers from Napa, Canada and even Italy.

census.gov

Idaho is one of only six states that saw a decrease in the number of people on public assistance, or welfare, in 2012, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

CompassioninWorldFarming / Flickr

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says dairy farmers can begin signing up Sept. 2 for a new program that replaces old subsidies.

The program is a kind of insurance that pays farmers when the difference between milk prices and feed prices shrink to a certain level. It replaces a program that paid farmers when milk prices sank too low.

Dairy farmers have struggled in recent years even with good milk prices. Feed costs have risen because of demand for corn from the ethanol industry and recent droughts.

Wildfire, fire fighter
U.S. Forest Service

The Obama administration is detailing the toll that the escalating cost of fighting forest fires has had on other projects, as it pushes Congress to overhaul how it pays for the most severe fires.

In a new report issued Wednesday, the Agriculture Department said that staffing for fighting fires has more than doubled since 1998.

Meanwhile, the number of workers who manage National Forest System lands has dropped by about a third.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says the United States must adapt all types of energy production to help minimize the negative impacts of global warming.

Moniz spoke in front of a crowded room in Idaho Falls Wednesday at the inaugural Intermountain Energy Summit. Idaho congressmen Jim Risch, Mike Crapo and Mike Simpson also spoke during the conference.

Moniz says the United States isn't shunning coal or oil energy sources, but instead, officials are finding ways to reduce their carbon emissions.

cubicle, office, desk, job
Nancy / Flickr Creative Commons

Fewer Idahoans, nearly 6 percent, are working today than in 2007 before the Great Recession began.

State-by-state analysis of employment data, from calendar year 2007 to fiscal year 2014, show only two other states have seen a greater workforce decline among 25- to 54-year-olds.

Ellevate

A former Wall Street executive is bringing her message of gender equity to Boise. Sallie Krawcheck is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at a conference of small business people Tuesday.

Krawcheck used to oversee the world's largest wealth management company. Today, she champions the cause of diversity in corporate leadership.

New York Times screengrab

An interesting take on state-to-state migration from The New York Times illustrates what many Idahoans already knew: a lot of California natives now live in Idaho.

The Times created a data visualization of migration to each state going back to 1900. It's no surprise that at the turn of the 20th century, most people moving to Idaho were immigrants from outside of the U.S., the northeast and the midwest.

4435Russet / Flickr Creative Commons

The J.R. Simplot Company has delayed the closure of two potato processing plants in Idaho.

Simplot spokesman David Cuoio told the Capital Press that layoffs at the Aberdeen plant are now expected to happen in September, and the Nampa plant will likely close Oct. 31.

The company initially planned to close both facilities this spring, but decided to keep them open longer after getting more customer orders than expected.

Tax Credits / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho residents have among the lowest personal incomes in the nation but spend a higher percentage of their money on basic essentials compared to most others, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Idaho's per-capita consumer spending was $30,190 — just a few dollars higher than the per-capita spending in Utah and Hawaii. Nevada, Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi all came in lower.

wheat, grain, agriculture, montana
Daimon Eklund / Flickr Creative Commons

The Northwest wheat harvest is in full swing, but the export of grain has all but stopped at the Port of Vancouver, Wash. The shipments have been blocked because Washington state inspectors have stopped checking grain for export at the port because they don't want to cross a picket line in a labor dispute.

Farmers are calling for those inspections to resume after harvesting about 40 percent of Washington's wheat. Washington Wheat Growers Association President Nicole Berg farms 21,000 acres near the Tri-Cities.

delta, atlanta, airport
Courtesy: Delta Airlines

The head of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce says lining up daily, non-stop flights to a major East Coast hub is now the local business community's top priority.

The airport has again applied for a federal grant that, if successful, would be used to help cover costs for an airline if the route proves to be initially unprofitable. The city applied for a similar grant last year but was unsuccessful.

Officials with the Elks Rehab System in Boise have sent letters to local mayors announcing layoffs associated with St. Luke’s takeover of Elks facilities. Elks officials say significant financial and operational challenges are forcing it to hand over its operations to the Idaho healthcare giant. 

boise.coop

The Boise Co-op announced Monday that it would open a second store in the Village at Meridian.

Co-op marketing director Shannon McGuire says two surveys solidified managers goals of opening a second store.

“We asked our shoppers ‘what should we do, where should we go if we considered expansion?’” McGuire says. “And out of that came ‘yes, please do expand and go West.’”

McGuire says survey respondents picked Meridian as their top choice for a second store. The second-most requested store location was Nampa, and McGuire says that could someday become a reality.

whiskey, alcohol, drink
Therese Tjernstrom / Flickr Creative Commons

Some Idaho business owners say the state's laws limiting the number of liquor licenses in each city stunt local economic growth.

The Idaho Statesman reports that Idaho's liquor regulation has resulted in a scarcity of liquor licenses, which in turn has caused business owners to resell licenses at exorbitant costs.

Licenses may be purchased from the state for $750 and in just two years, resold for more than $300,000.

According to Idaho law, each municipality is allotted one liquor license for every 1,500 residents.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved emergency haying and grazing on land normally used for the Conservation Reserve Program in parts of eastern Idaho.

Officials in Bingham, Bonneville, Fremont, Madison and Power counties requested the emergency access because of drought and crop damage. The USDA's Farm Service Agency in Idaho announced Monday that the requests were approved.

The emergency haying is allowed through the end of August, and participants must leave at least half of each field unhayed for wildlife. The hay can't be sold.

The intensifying competition between Alaska Airlines and rival Delta Air Lines in the Western skies does not seem to be hurting the bottom line of either company.

Courtesy of Chelan County Emergency Management

Fire crews across the Northwest are dealing with sizzling hot temperatures not just from flames, but also a general heat wave.

You can't wear shorts and a T-shirt to a firefight. So how do you stay cool and functional on the fire line when the thermometer is pushing triple digits? U.S. Forest Service spokesman Joe Anderson says "the main thing is to stay hydrated" and pace yourself.

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