Montana News

News from the state of Montana.

Gov Bullock Addresses Native American Business Leaders In Billings

Aug 5, 2015

Montana’s reservation communities still are not enjoying the same economic benefits as the rest of the state.

Governor Steve Bullock told Native American business leaders meeting in Billings the state is doing what it can to address chronic unemployment and boost entrepreneurship.

Montana FWP is holding public hearings on bison management in the state.
(PD)

Tuesday Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks begins a series of public hearings to gauge support for a publicly-managed bison herd. Whatever the state decides to do, FWP spokesman Tom Palmer says the interests of the livestock industry will be taken into account.

Regulators Clear The Way For Uber & Lyft In Montana

Aug 4, 2015
Montana regulators Tuesday approved new rules to let rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft serve Montanans.
Flickr user Adam Fagan (CC-BY-NC-SA-2)

Montana regulators Tuesday approved new rules to let rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft serve Montanans.

A Senate bill passed last spring spurred the Public Service Commission to pass regulations for a new class of license. The bill no longer allows taxi and limousine operators to block competitors.

Critics of the Clean Power Plan worry about its impacts on coal development and jobs.
BLM

News reports are saying that President Obama’s Clean Power Plan has set new targets for Montana that are twice as large as those floated last year in a draft of the plan. But the head of Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality, Tom Livers, says it’s still unclear to him what exactly the new thresholds are.

A buffalo jump at First Peoples Buffalo Jump, formerly known as Ulm Pishkun
Flickr user Baggis (CC-BY-NC-2)

The National Park Service this week designated four new historic landmarks and First Peoples Buffalo Jump south of Great Falls is one of them.

Montana State Park's Sara Scott says it's one of the oldest and biggest buffalo jumps in North America.

State wildlife officials are investigating a Moose poaching near Kalispell.
(PD)

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Game Warden Weston Oedekoven says we’ve entered a time of the year when some hunters are getting a little antsy.

The plan the White House unveiled today to reduce carbon dioxide emissions nationwide is meeting with strong and broad criticism in Montana.

The Beavertail Hill Fire started next to I-90, and burned uphill before being contained.
Courtesy Montana DNRC

The Reynolds Creek Fire burning six miles east of Logan Pass is 67 percent contained and burning just under 4,000 acres. The fire grew slightly on Saturday due to high winds but its growth was smothered Sunday with heavy smoke.

Gov. Steve Bullock said he's "disappointed" by President Obama's Clean Power Plan.
Christopher B. Allen

Governor Steve Bullock issued the following statement on the Clean Power Plan President Obama announced today:

A 2014 decision from the U.S. FWS says the proposed Montanore mine is not likely to harm the threatened bull trout.
Joel Sartore National Geographic & Wade Fredenberg USFWS (CC-BY-2.0)

A copper and silver mine for northwest Montana appears one step closer to approval and this worries Mary Costello.

EPA: Clean Power Plan Benefits Montana

Aug 3, 2015
EPA.gov

Below is a press release issued by the White House this morning. We'll have more on this story later today.

FACT SHEET: A Cleaner, More Efficient Power Sector In Montana

We have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged. By taking action now to combat climate change, including developing homegrown clean energy and cutting energy waste, we can help protect our kids’ health, cut carbon pollution, and begin to slow the effects of climate change so we leave a cleaner, safer environment for future generations.

View of a treated ponderosa pine plot in 2009, twenty-five years after selection cutting and prescribed burning.
Courtesy Carl Fiedler

A new book about ponderosa pine trees, written by a pair of Montana forest researchers, offers insight into past mistakes and current policies.

Pockets of unburned fuel in the interior of the Reynolds Creek fire burned actively Friday, July 31.
Inciweb

It’s been an active day on the fire burning on the east side of Glacier National Park. There’s been significant smoke in the area this afternoon. Fire information officer Shauna Hartman explains why.

Medicare Turns 50 But Big Challenges Await

Jul 31, 2015
Harry Truman's application for Medicare
Courtesy of Truman Library

Medicare, the federal health insurance program for the elderly and disabled, has come a long way since its creation in 1965 when nearly half of all seniors were uninsured. Now, the program covers 55 million people, providing insurance to one in six Americans. With that in mind, Medicare faces a host of challenges in the decades to come. Here’s a look at some of them.

Five Challenges Facing Medicaid At 50

Jul 31, 2015
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill creating Medicare and Medicaid at the library of former President Harry Truman, who was in attendance, on July 30, 1965.
Courtesy of Truman Library

A “sleeper” provision when Congress created Medicare in 1965 to cover health care for seniors, Medicaid now provides coverage to nearly one in four Americans, at an annual cost of more than $500 billion. Today, it is the workhorse of the U.S. health system, covering nearly half of all births, one-third of children and two-thirds of people in nursing homes.

Alan Kirk, mine permitting manager, and Bob Jacko, vice president of operations for Tintina show plans for the Black Butte Mine.
Steve Jess

About 50 miles east of Helena, in White Sulphur Springs, residents are weighing the benefits that a new copper mine could bring to their community: about 200 new jobs along with millions of dollars to spur business growth. Opponents of the mine say Montana risks losing something even more valuable, one of its last unspoiled rivers.

MontanaFWP Wants Your Input On Bison Management

Jul 31, 2015
A bison herd at the National Bison Range in Montana.
USFWS (CC-BY-2)

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials will hold five public hearings in August to find out if there’s a place for bison on the Montana landscape. The first two hearings are scheduled next week in Bozeman and Billings. Bison are managed both as a wildlife species, and for disease control because of brucellosis.

Bryce Ward, the director of health care research at the University of Montana’s BBER, talks with Eric Whitney about the impact Medicaid & Medicare have on Montana.
Emily Proctor

Today is the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid. Right now, nearly one in five Montanans gets health care from Medicare, and the state is poised to expand Medicaid to tens of thousands more people next year.

To get a sense of how important the two federal health programs are to Montana, and some idea of where they’re going in the future, I talked to Bryce Ward, the director of health care research at the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

Are Microplastics Polluting Montana Waters?

Jul 30, 2015
(PD)

Peoples’ love of polar fleece and yoga pants could be contributing microplastic pollution into the water supply.

A Bozeman-based group will launch a sampling project in September to find out just how much of this pollutant is in the Gallatin River.

Neptune aviation will offer charter flights between Missoula and Billings beginning in September 2015.
Courtesy Neptune Aviation

Missoula's Neptune Aviation may be best known for its red and white firefighting airtanker fleet, but it also operates a thriving passenger air charter service.

Starting September 3, the company is adding a new Montana route to its existing lineup; two round-trip flights per week between Missoula and Billings on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Doctors and state officials Wednesday launched a new effort to fight the over-use of narcotic prescription drugs in Montana.
(PD)

Doctors and state officials Wednesday launched a new effort to fight the over-use of narcotic prescription drugs in Montana. The main focus of the campaign is a website called "Know your dose MT" that contains tools to help doctors and patients decide when painkillers like hydrocodone are appropriate, and how to spot signs of addiction.

Fire officials now believe that the Reynolds Creek Fire was human-caused.
Corin Cates-Carney

Authorities now believe that the fire burning in Glacier National Park was human-caused, and the National Park Service is turning to the public for help.

Spotted knapweed (Centaurea maculosa)
Matt Lavin (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

The story of noxious weeds is the classic love story gone wrong. You see that beautiful so-and-so across the room, you hang out for a while, decide to move in together. But then you realize they’ve taken over your home, replaced your favorite stuff with useless junk and now you can’t seem to break up.

Heavy equipment loading coal at the Decker Coal Company.
Courtesy USDA NRCS

New legislation introduced this week aims to ensure taxpayers get the full value of coal mined from public lands. Critics say coal companies are ripping off American taxpayers by not paying their fair share of royalty payments.

Kathy Schaefer, regional director of women's health for Providence shows one of the new labor and delivery rooms at St. Patrick hospital in Missoula.
Eric Whitney

Missoula’s St. Patrick hospital invited the media to see its new family maternity center that opens Monday. Women’s Health Director Kathy Schaefer showed off one of the hospital’s seven rooms where moms will deliver babies.

Mountain Water Company, Missoula, MT.
Cheri Trusler

The City of Missoula has hit a speed bump in its effort to take ownership of the city’s water system.

The current owner, the Carlyle Group, is trying to sell Mountain Water Company of Missoula, and several other local water systems, to Liberty Utilities, a company that operates an assortment of water, electric and gas utilities around the country.

The vice administrator for China’s National Energy Administration says development of 'clean coal' is a top priority for China.
Flickr user Erin Kinney(CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

Critics say that for decades the coal industry has gamed the system to underpay its fair share of federal coal royalties. They say those alleged schemes have padded the bottom lines of coal companies while short-changing state and local governments of tens of millions of dollars.

Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-sun Road is set to open from the west entrance to Logan Pass.
Glacier National Park (CC-BY-2)

Glacier National Park officials say they’ll open more of the Going to the Sun Road from the west side Wednesday, over the top of Logan Pass.

Fire danger sign
BLM

Despite cooler, wet weather, stage-1 fire restrictions remain active for most of western Montana, including Missoula, Lake, Ravalli, Sanders, Granite, Powell, Flathead, and Lincoln counties. Restrictions apply to all private, state, and federal land in these counties.

Fire officials say the Reynolds Creek Fire in Glacier National Park is now 30 percent contained.
Jennifer McKee

Updates on wildfires burning in and around western Montana.

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