Montana News

Preschool Grants
5:41 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Montana To Get $10 Million In Grants For Preschools

Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau
Credit MT OPI

Montana is receiving $10 million in federal grants to set up preschool programs and train teachers in sixteen communities around the state. The money would provide preschool programs for 4-year-olds from low and moderate-income families. Schools Superintendent Denise Juneau says this grant is separate from the Governor’s proposal to fund a new statewide preschool program.
 

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Coal & Climate Change
4:55 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Crow Nation Opposes President's Climate Plan

Much of the coal from the Crow Reservation gets shipped to power plants in other states.

Southeastern Montana's Crow Nation says President Obama’s pending climate plan would wreak economic havoc on the already-impoverished reservation.

Under the administration's proposal, states must reduce their carbon emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox is going up to bat for the Crow Nation. Fox says he's troubled by how the President is unilaterally guiding this climate proposal.

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Senator John Walsh
4:55 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

In Final Senate Speech, Walsh Highlights Veteran Suicides, Money In Politics, Public Lands

Senator John Walsh used his last speech on the Senate floor this morning to talk about money in politics, protecting Montana public lands and veteran suicides.

In August, Walsh dropped out of his Senate reelection bid amid a plagiarism scandal.

Walsh said 22 veterans commit suicide every day.

"If this country were losing 22 service members a day on the battlefield, Americans would be in the streets protesting."

On Tuesday, the House unanimously passed a bill to reduce vet suicides, it’s now before the Senate.

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Columbia Falls Smelter Clean Up
4:46 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Columbia Falls Aluminum Smelter Cleanup Hits A Snag

Credit Courtesy EPA

Efforts to clean up the shuttered Columbia Falls Aluminum Company smelter have hit a snag.

State and federal officials will brief the residents in Columbia Falls Thursday.

Montana’s Department of Environmental quality wanted to speed up the process that could qualify the closed smelter for federal “Superfund” cleanup money.

Before state inspectors could assess the problem in detail, the company would have to sign a consent decree, according to DEQ attorney William Kirley.

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Safe, but some risk remains
10:21 am
Wed December 10, 2014

EPA Presents Health Risk Assessment In Libby

EPA Toxicologist Deborah McKean presents data at a public meeting in Libby Tuesday evening.
Credit Eric Whitney

In Libby Tuesday, about 30 people came to hear toxicologists from the Environmental Protection Agency explain a health risk assessment released Monday.

Many locals who've followed the EPA's studies closely were already confident that there's now little health risk from living in Libby. Agency toxicologist Deborah McKean confirmed that things are very different following the half-billion dollar clean up of the town started in 2002.

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Flathead Water Compact
5:04 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Supporters Push For Approval Of Flathead Water Compact

Scott Reichner (R) - House District 9

A new group of farmers, ranchers, and tribal members want to convince Montana lawmakers to pass a water compact, like the one they rejected two years ago.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are the only Montana Native Americans who lack a compact with the state governing water rights. In 2013, the legislature rejected it, after objections from property rights groups. The group supporting the new compact includes Scott Reichner of Bigfork, an outgoing state lawmaker who voted against the last version.

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Youth Incarceration
4:38 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Youth Incarceration Costly, Ineffective Says Justice Policy Institute

Credit Justice Policy Institute

A new analysis of youth incarceration says it costs Montana, on average, $175,000 annually to incarcerate a single non-violent youth offender.

The non-profit Justice Policy Institute says some violent young people simply must be incarcerated. However, executive director Marc Schindler says jailing non-violent youth is not only a waste of taxpayer money, it's a largely ineffective response to delinquency.

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Libby Health Risk Study
4:17 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Will EPA Study Clean Up Libby's Reputation?

"Popped" Vermiculite from Libby, Montana.
Credit Courtesy EPA

Libby Mayor Doug Roll hopes the Environmental Protection Agency's new health risk study could lead to an economic shot in the arm for the community.

Hundreds of local residents died and even more were sickened by asbestos contamination from a now-closed vermiculite mine and processing plant.

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Empire Builder
5:05 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Amtrack Delays Hurt Whitefish Businesses

Credit Loco Steve, flickr

Businesses in Whitefish are taking a hit because of problems with Amtrak’s Empire Builder, which runs between Chicago and the West Coast. 

Monday afternoon the westbound Empire Builder was running over 90 minutes late into Whitefish. That’s actually an improvement over delays of more than eleven hours earlier this year.

Amtrak says it’s working to fix the problem. Marc Magliari is the Amtrak spokesman in Chicago. He admits ridership is down over past years.

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Health Risk Assessment
4:11 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

EPA Says Libby Asbestos Cleanup Is Paying Off

Credit Courtesy Photo

The Environmental Protection Agency released a long awaited health risk study Monday that will help guide cleanup of more of the asbestos dust found in the Libby area.

Hundreds of Libby residents died, and even more were sickened by asbestos contamination from a now-closed W.R. Grace vermiculite mine and processing plant.

EPA says years of asbestos cleanup efforts are paying off in the northwest Montana town.

Dr. Deborah McKean is EPA toxicologist.

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