MTPR

BNSF

The Environmental Protection Agency says it has detected elevated levels of volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds in samples taken from the oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers.
Nicky Ouellet

The Environmental Protection Agency has identified two compounds in the mysterious oily sheen detected along the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers earlier this month.

Volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds were previously detected in samples taken from water pooled along the shoreline at Somers Bay.

The Environmental Protection Agency says it has detected elevated levels of volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds in samples taken from the oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers.
Nicky Ouellet

The Environmental Protection Agency says it has detected low levels of volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds in samples taken from the oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers.

In a statement, the EPA says it still has not determined the cause of the sheen that was first reported early last week and expects final, validated sampling results next week.

The sheen on Flathead Lake near Somers was first reported to the EPA earlier this week. Thursday, BNSF took steps to contain it. A BNSF representative told MTPR Thursday that early field indicators suggest the sheen comes from a natural organic source.
Nicky Ouellet

BNSF Railway says that, as a precautionary measure, it has removed material from the shore of Flathead Lake near Somers that has a mysterious, oily sheen. The company thinks the sheen's origin is biological, not man-made.

The Environmental Protection Agency says it has detected elevated levels of volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds in samples taken from the oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers.
Nicky Ouellet

BNSF railway and the Environmental Protection Agency are both waiting on sampling results to determine the source of the unidentified sheen on Flathead Lake in Somers. They expect those results back by Monday.

Flathead Lake. Flathead County Commissioners are considering a proposal to regulate short-term housing rentals outside of incorporated towns.
William Neuheisel (CC-BY-2)

The Environmental Protection Agency and BNSF Railway are responding to an unidentified sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake. 

Snow will once again return to the area Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning across central Idaho and from the Mission Valley southward across western Montana.
National Weather Service Missoula

National Weather Service meteorologists warned us about a big winter event and boy were they right. As promised, a gigantic winter storm barreled headlong into northwest Montana and left a ton of snow in its wake:

Bill Would Help Communities Prepare For Hazardous Materials

Jan 25, 2017

HELENA - About 10 people testified Wednesday for a bill that would create a task force to help communities prepare for and respond to incidents involving hazardous materials. 

Democratic Rep. Denise Hayman of Bozeman said she’s carrying House Bill 296, "to bring the experts together to discuss how we might be better prepared to respond to a disaster, especially in our more remote, rural areas."

Kalispell Core Area Revitalization Study Area Boundry
Courtesy City of Kalispell Planning Department

A $10 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant announced this morning is giving a boost to a project reshaping Kalispell.

The federal grant is funding the Core Area Revitalization Plan. The plan involves removing the railroad tracks that divide downtown, paving new sidewalks, connecting streets and creating a park path running through the city.

Montana Wildfire Roundup For August 28, 2015

Aug 28, 2015
A view of the Little Joe Fire from Thursday, August 27, 2015.
Inciweb

Stage 2 fire restrictions went into effect in the Missoula area today. The restrictions apply to public and private lands in Missoula, Mineral, Sanders, Granite and Ravalli counties, including the Lolo and Bitterroot National Forests, BLM and state lands.

 Sikorsky Sky Crane Type-1 Helicopter drops fire retardant on the Thompson-Divide Complex’s Sheep Fire burning west of Highway 2 between Mile Markers 182 and 181 about 1 mile south of Essex, MT, Aug. 22, 2015.
Jonathan Moor/Inciweb

The thick blanket of wildfire smoke over western Montana is a proving a blessing and a curse for firefighters in the state. The hazy conditions can rob fires of the oxygen they need to grow, but at the same time prevent aircraft from being able to drop water and fire retardant.

flickr user: Roy Luck (CC-BY-2.0)

A new analysis of train safety and recent accidents involving spilled crude oil has caught the attention of many Montanans, especially as more trains carrying oil are moving through the state.

That’s because a lot crude moves on our rail lines.

Train near Essex, MT.
Flickr User Roy Luck (CC-BY-2.0)

At least one environmental organization is calling for an immediate moratorium on crude oil shipments by rail.

That's following a recent analysis that says oil trains could potentially crash almost once a month nationwide.

MTPR's Edward O'Brien reports the group believes the risk to both human life and the environment is too great.

Loco Steve, flickr

UPDATE: 2:30 PM: Matt Jones with BNSF said freight travel re-opened at 12:30 PM today on one of the two tracks closed by last night's avalanche. The other track should open soon. 

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Amtrak and BNSF trains are delayed after an avalanche was reported late Sunday night east of the small northwest Montana town of Essex.

BNSF Regional Public Affairs Director Matt Jones expects the debris to be cleared from the track and freight trains should running again by this afternoon.