Montana News

Montana news focused on the western side of the state. Montana politics, healthcare, wildlands, wildlife and wildfire.

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Windmill at the Judith Gap wind farm.
David J. Laporte (CC-BY-2)

A new study says that Montana’s potential for wind energy production is better than that of the Columbia River Gorge, between Oregon and Washington.

Republican Representatives Brad Tschida, Ron Ehli, and Nancy Ballance.
Edward O'Brien

With the election six weeks away, Republican state lawmakers say Montana’s Democratic governor needs a reality check. They say the state’s economy is more fragile than Steve Bullock’s letting on.

Debra Magpie Earling at an honoring ceremony in the Payne Family Native American Center on the University’s Missoula campus, September 21, 2016.
Mike Albans

Debra Magpie Earling, a Bitterroot Salish tribal member, is now director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Montana. She is the first Native American to serve as director of the 96-year-old program. Earling is thrilled by the appointment, but also a little nervous.

Tribal Leaders Group Endorses Gov. Steve Bullock

Sep 22, 2016

The Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Association unanimously endorsed Governor Steve Bullock during its quarterly meeting in Billings. 

Fort Belknap Tribal Chairman Mark Azure says the endorsement comes because of the Bullock Administration’s working relationship with the tribal governments.

“And we want to be recognized as a sovereign nation,” Azure says. “And I think governor Bullock gets that. My fear is the other folks don’t get that. I don’t think we here at the table can afford to see that other party fill those seats.”

A fish-killing disease prompted the closure of 180 miles of the Yellowstone River and hundreds of miles of tributaries. Some portions of the river are now open to some recreation.
Courtesy Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks

A section of the Yellowstone River from Yellowstone National Park downstream to Laurel was closed starting August 19 by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks after thousands of dead mountain whitefish began appearing on the river’s banks.

The sign outside the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Office
Steve Jess

Supporters of a medical marijuana ballot initiative are asking Montana’s top political cop to penalize the efforts of a group opposing their work.

Montana Citizens for I-182, a ballot issue group supporting the proposal to expand medical marijuana in the state, filed the complaint with the Commissioner of Political Practices Wednesday afternoon.

Downtown Libby, MT.
libbymt.com

Funding for a Libby asbestos program is now on hold while the federal government investigates allegations of misspent grant money.

Libby’s Asbestos Resource Program helps residents manage asbestos if they plan to disturb soil on their property. It’s funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.

ExxonMobil Pipeline Company agreed to pay 12-million dollars to the federal government and the state of Montana to resolve claims that stem from a 2011 pipeline break that spilled crude oil into the Yellowstone River in Laurel.

A proposed consent decree was filed in U.S. District Court on September 21, 2016 to address the natural resource damage.

Solar Energy Advocates Ask Feds To Reverse Price Suspension
(PD)

This week, Montana’s Environmental Information Center and solar energy advocates asked federal authorities to reverse a state regulator's decision earlier this year that advocates say is killing clean energy jobs.

This week, representatives from environmental groups, the timber industry, and people with an interest in public lands came together in Missoula to talk, and maybe even start to trust each other.

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