Nora Saks


Nora Saks is a freelance radio and print journalist investigating themes of environmental justice in the Crown of the Continent and beyond.

She's currently a graduate student in the University of Montana's Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism Masters Program.

Having lived both north and south of the 49th parallel, she's inclined to use the term "bioregion" a little too frequently when describing her interest in exploring boundaries based on ecology rather than politics.

Dioxin contaminated soil at the Montana Pole Plant in Butte, Montana.
Montana DEQ

As the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) gets closer to finishing the clean-up of dioxin-contaminated soil at Butte’s smallest Superfund site, the Montana Pole Plant, some members of the community are still concerned about the human health risk.

In response, a risk assessment expert visited Butte to break down options for protecting human health with a contaminant that just won’t break down.

Smoke covers the northwest on Sept. 4 2017.

Last year, unprecedented levels of wildfire smoke from the epic 2017 wildfire season choked communities across western Montana and left lots of people wondering what breathing that smoke was doing to their health. And on Tuesday night on campus in Missoula, a University of Montana researcher will share some of his findings on the detrimental health effects of smoke.

The Berkeley pit in Butte, Montana, as seen from above.

The mining companies in charge of the Berkeley Pit are going to start pumping, treating and discharging the water in the former open pit copper mine into Silver Bow Creek five years earlier than planned. Susan Dunlap is reporting that story for the Montana Standard in Butte. She spoke to MTPR's Nora Saks.

Panelists at Missoula Rises' forum, "Tackling a Culture of Sexism" in Missoula, Feb. 26, 2018. L to R: UM Athletic Director Kent Haslam, UM Football Coach Bobby Hauk, Lisa Davey, UM SARC Director Drew Colling, UM President Seth Bodnar.
Nora Saks

The University of Montana’s president, athletic director and returning head football coach had a frank conversation with some of the football program’s toughest critics Monday night in Missoula.

They had a civil dialogue. The critics aired their grievances, and the University’s representatives said the school has done a lot to address issues like sexual assault. They said the football program has grown more mature, and that it’s focused on building men of character.

Six panelists and three moderators at Montana Tech for the KBMF public forum on Superfund. L-R: Mary Kay Craig, David Hutchins, Eric Hassler, Rayelynn Brandl, Robert Pal, Daniel Hogan, Olivia Everett, Leif Clark. (Not pictured: Pat Cunneen)
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

For decades now, Superfund meetings have been routine in Butte, but their highly technical nature can deter locals who want to stay informed and involved. In response, KBMF- Butte’s community radio station, hosted its first ever Superfund forum last Friday night.