Montana News

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

Montana News podcast

Ways to Connect

Berkeley Pit in Butte, MT
Flickr user Christopher (CC-BY-2.0)

The Montana Standard is suing to make Superfund negotiations in Butte public after they've been veiled in secrecy for 14 years. Nora Saks speaks with David McCumber, the editor of the newspaper, to find out more about their lawsuit and why the state pulled out of the clean-up settlement last week.

Mary Lynne Billy-Old Coyote is the new director of Montana's Office of American Indian Health.
Courtesy Montana DPHHS

In Montana, the life expectancy for Native American people is 19 to 20 years shorter than for whites. The median age at death for Native men here is 56. It's 62 for Native women.

Those statistics, in part, motivated Governor Steve Bullock last year to create a new position in the state health department: Director of American Indian Health.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have scheduled a public meeting on the proposed transfer of the National Bison Range.
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-2)

Debate over transferring federal public lands to state ownership or management has largely dominated Montana’s U.S. House race between the main party candidates.

Across the country, some state lawmakers and members of Congress are pushing to transfer federal lands to state ownership or control, a movement that has gained traction and created some controversy.

Incumbent Republican Ryan Zinke and challenger Democrat Denise Juneau both say their stances on these issues are clear.

“I have always been a strong supporter of public lands and have voted against the transfer or sale of public lands," Zinke says. "My position is known and well established.”

Denise Juneau says, “I remain 100 percent opposed to any transfer of management or selling of American public lands.”

The candidates have sparred over whether votes Zinke has taken in Congress, or Juneau on the state’s land board, are consistent with those statements.

Less talked about, though, is one case where the management of nearly 19,000 federally-managed acres in Northwest Montana could change hands.

University of Montana's Main Hall
Josh Burnham

A charitable foundation has established a major endowment with the University of Montana.

The Haynes Foundation has provided scholarship funds to UM before, but Monday's announcement of a $4 million permanent endowment is particularly significant.

Tom Crady, University of Montana vice president for enrollment management and student affairs, at a press conference announcing enrollment numbers at UM, September 23, 2016.
Eric Whitney

The University of Montana’s new Vice President for Enrollment Tom Crady announced the preliminary headcount for school this fall today.

"The bottom line is, we’re down."

The death of perennial Libertarian Congressional candidate Mike Fellows in a car accident as he was coming home from a campaign event, the debate in Billings between Gov. Steve Bullock and his challenger Greg Gianforte Monday, and the release of a couple of new ads in the U.S. House race. Chuck Johnson and Professor Rob Saldin join Sally Mauk to discuss these topics and more on this episode of “Campaign Beat.”


China is one of the top beef-consuming nations in the world. But American producers have been locked out of that lucrative market since a Mad Cow Disease scare 13 years ago.

That changed this week.

Surbhi Jain is teaching the beginning and intermediate Hindi classes at UM this year. Brandon Fullbrook pictured front right. Adelheid Cassidy, rear left.
Edward O'Brien

Only five students are taking the University of Montana’s intermediate Hindi language class. Three others are in the beginning section.

Boutique Ranch Offers Social Justice Mission

Sep 23, 2016
Erik's Ranch website screen capture. At Erik’s Ranch, about half a dozen young adults with autism spectrum disorders live and work in a supportive community and have jobs like chef, guide, and concierge.

There’s no shortage of beautiful places to stay in the Paradise Valley south of Livingston.

But a new boutique guest ranch is offering visitors something they won’t find in a typical luxury resort — a vacation experience coupled with a social justice mission.

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.