MTPR

climate change

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“This has been a difficult year," Democratic Governor Steve Bullock says. "By some estimates our fire seasons are now about 78 days longer than they were two decades ago.”
Credit Nate Hegyi / YPR

State climatologist Kelsey Jencso says what folks are seeing this summer -- extreme fires, sudden droughts, snowpacks melting quickly -- may be a vision of Montana’s future.

If you’re wondering what climate change will look like in Montana, state climatologist Kelsey Jencso says take a look outside. 

“This is certainly what the future may look like,” he says.

Citing potential threats to human health, ecosystems and the economy, Whitefish Mayor John Muhlfeld said the city will make mitigating climate change a priority.
Nicky Ouellet

Whitefish joined a growing number of U.S. cities pledging to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement Monday night. Citing potential threats to human health, ecosystems and the economy, Whitefish Mayor John Muhlfeld said the city will make mitigating climate change a priority.

"The City of Whitefish will increase its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions, create a clean energy economy, and stand for environmental justice," Muhlfeld said.

The Whitefish Climate Action Planning Committee started meeting this past January to draft a set of cost-saving and energy use goals and strategies for the city, local schools and the community.
Whitefish Climate Action Planning Committee

Even before President Trump opted out of the Paris Climate Agreement, the city of Whitefish was developing its own climate action plan.

Fishing With The King: The Belted Kingfisher

Jun 13, 2017
A female belted Kingfisher with her catch.
Teddy Llovet (CC-BY-2)

While recently visiting the Rock Creek area to simply go fishing I became distracted as I cast my red skwala into the clear, frigid stream. I was not distracted by the surrounding beauty of grasslands and different flora, or my ongoing love/hate relationship with fly-fishing, but rather the immense variety of sound echoing off the rock outcroppings surrounding the area.

A group of students from Big Sky High School in Missoula is hosting a symposium to encourage action to end climate change next week at the University of Montana.
Flickr user, UN (cc-by-2.0)

A group of students from Big Sky High School in Missoula is hosting a symposium to encourage action to end climate change next week at the University of Montana.

<p>Panelists share their research on climate change in Montana
Beau Baker

A panel of Montana scientists laid out their findings on climate change in the state yesterday at the University of Montana (A video of the event is available at Clean Air Montana's Facebook page). That included addressing President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement last week.

Montana scientists gather in Missoula next week to discuss how climate change is affecting the state.

Dave Dittloff of the National Wildlife Federation says the ‘State of Climate Change Science in Montana’ forum will be both informative and alarming.

Scientists measuring the terminus of Grinnell Glacier, in Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park

Montana Governor Steve Bullock describes President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord as, “short sighted and dangerous.”

Bullock, a Democrat, released a statement Thursday saying climate change is real and poses a direct threat to Montana’s way of life and economy.

These scientists are using GPS units to record precise locations of the edges of Grinnell Glacier.
USGS

Newly released data say glaciers in Montana’s Glacier National Park have shrunk as much as 85 percent since the 1960s, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Some are now so small they’ve lost the characteristics that make them glaciers.

Greg Gianforte, Rob Quist and Mark Wicks at the MTN News debate April 29, 2017.
Screen capture courtesy MTN News

Mark Wicks, the Libertarian candidate for Montana’s U.S. House seat, got statewide exposure in the race’s only televised debate Friday, produced and broadcast by MTN News.

"We’ve been doing the same thing over and over and over, and we get the same result: People back in Washington that aren’t doing what they’re supposed to because they’re beholden to special interests, they’re taking lobbyist money. I’m not beholden to any of that." Wicks said during the debate.

The Colstrip Power Plant consists of four separate coal-fired generating units, collectively owned by Puget Sound Energy, Talen Energy, Avista Corporation, PacifiCorp and NorthWestern Energy.
Beth Saboe

As state lawmakers debate bills designed to keep the strip mine and coal fired power plant at Colstrip open as long as possible, a social experimenter in Helena is convening an event aimed at the heart of the debate over whether fossil fuel-based economies should have a place in Montana’s Future. Tate Chamberlin has pulled together activists, politicians, and entrepreneurs to dive deep into thorny questions around coal, jobs, and climate change. I asked him what he has in mind.

Rob Quist.
Josh Burnham

Democratic U.S. House candidate Rob Quist is traveling around Montana holding rallies where he emphasizes  his stand on protecting public lands. He's also been in the news for unpaid debts and tax liens on his property.

MTPR's Sally Mauk talks with the nominee about his positions on everything from gun rights to healthcare and what he thinks of President Trump.

Purple tea at Lake Missoula Tea Company in Missoula, MT.
Rachel Cramer

In the world of tea, a new variety is on the cusp of becoming the next big craze. It’s praised for its health benefits — high levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants exceeding even those found from drinking green tea — and its resistance to climate change in Kenya where it was developed. It came onto the market about five years ago, and at the moment, Lake Missoula Tea Company in Missoula, Montana, is one of the only distributors in North America. It's called purple tea, and it might just save Kenya's struggling tea industry.

Montana Capitol, Helena.
Mike Albans

This week, Congressman Ryan Zinke had his confirmation hearing this past week to become the next Secretary of the Interior. Assuming that Zinke is confirmed, Gov. Bullock will soon call a special election to fill Zinke's Congressional seat. Republican Ken Miller is the latest new candidate for this position.

Part of this week's conversation also includes a proposed bill that would set up long-term financing for future infrastructure projects by using coal tax money, and several bills aiming to update Montana's sexual assault statutes.

Lastly, the hosts discuss the women's marches taking place across the country the day after Trump's inauguration and whether this is the start of a long-term movement.

Join Sally Mauk, Chuck Johnson, and Rob Saldin now for this episode of  "Capitol Talk."

Rep. Ryan Zinke at his Interior Secretary confirmation hearing Tuesday
CSPAN

"It is an honor to appear before this esteemed Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources," Congressman Ryan Zinke said Tuesday, kicking off nearly four hours of testimony at his confirmation hearing to be Secretary of Interior in the Donald Trump administration.

He answered questions from Democratic and Republican senators, and had this exchange with Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders:

Sanders: President-elect Trump has stated in his view that climate change is a, "hoax." Is President-elect Trump right? Is climate change a hoax? 

Feds Dismiss Tongue River Railroad Permit
(PD)

A yearlong federal review shows coal sales from public lands need to be modernized to deal with climate change and give taxpayers a fair return. The Interior Department imposed a moratorium on new coal sales last year. It's now considering raising royalty rates and requiring compensation from mining companies to offset coal's effect on climate change.

Gov. Steve Bullock. File photo.
Corin Cates-Carney

President-elect Donald Trump has promised a lot of change after he’s sworn in next month. MTPR Capitol reporter Corin Cates-Carney sat down with Montana Governor Steve Bullock earlier this week to talk about what some of  those changes could mean for Montana.

Environmental organizations reacted Wednesday to reports that Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Interior. The Interior Department and other U.S. agencies control almost a third of Montana’s land and even more of the vast amounts of coal, oil and natural gas that lay beneath it.

Zinke has been critical of federal land management and has advocated for more development of coal, oil and natural gas. However he's also an outspoken supporter of keeping public lands in federal hands.

An Open Letter to the President-elect:

Perhaps we can help you bring us together on the most important issue facing humankind. More than 97% of climate scientists have given you a flying start. They've proven that global warming is real, and we are causing it by burning too much fossil fuel.

Dozens of fires burning in the Rocky Mountains in Montana were detected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Aqua satellite on the afternoon of August 19, 2003. In the image, fire locations have been marked in yellow. The fi
Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

Last week a senior advisor to President-elect Trump said funding for NASA Earth sciences work should be cut dramatically, or just ended. Former Pennsylvania Congressman Robert Walker made those comments in the Guardian newspaper.

For perspective on what that would mean, Amy Martin talked to the chairman of the Earth Science Subcommittee for NASA’s Advisory Council. The chairman is Steve Running, who is a regent’s professor of ecology at the University of Montana. She asked Running if big cuts to NASA Earth sciences have been proposed in the past.

Cycling Towards Climate Solutions

Nov 20, 2016

Mindy Ahler and Ryan Hall are biking over 4,000 miles from Oregon to Washington, D.C., stopping in communities along the way to discuss local climate change solutions and federal policies. They recently passed through Montana and met with Home Ground host Brian Kahn to share their motivations and hopes for the future. To find out more about the ride, visit Mindy and Ryan's blog Low Carbon Crossings.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Courtesy EPA

A component of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan that the agency says is optional is being attacked by 25 state attorneys general, including Montana’s. 

Writing And Foraging For Food In Rural Alaska

Nov 2, 2016
Mountaineers Books

Swallowed by the Great Land: And Other Dispatches From Alaska's Frontier is a collection of compelling Alaska stories from Seth Kantner, bestselling author of Ordinary Wolves.

When Seth Kantner's novel, Ordinary Wolves, was published 10 years ago, it was a literary revelation of sorts. In a raw, stylized voice it told the story of a white boy growing up with homesteading parents in Arctic Alaska and trying to reconcile his largely subsistence and Native-style upbringing with the expectations and realities tied to his race. It hit numerous bestseller lists, was critically acclaimed, and won a number of awards.

Groups campaigning for the expansion of renewable energy sources rallied nearly a hundred supporters in front of NorthWestern Energy headquarters in Butte, MT Oct. 10, 2016.
Corin Cates-Carney

  About 100 advocates for renewable energy walked through uptown Butte earlier this week, chanting and thrusting signs in the air. Some protesters kept time on wooden blocks, tambourines and drums, as they walked toward the state headquarters of Montana’s largest utility company, NorthWestern Energy.

Groups To Rally For Alternative Energy In Butte

Oct 7, 2016
A 2005 state law requires Montana utilities to buy a total of 75 megawatts of energy from small-scale, locally owned producers of renewable electricity from wind, solar, and hydro sources.
(PD)

On Monday, environmental advocates will protest in front of NorthWestern Energy’s Montana headquarters in Butte. The group 350 Missoula and others say NorthWestern isn’t moving quickly enough towards renewable sources of electricity. The rally is scheduled to start at 11:00 a.m. Monday at Emma Park in Butte, followed by speakers from the Montana Environmental Information Center and other groups in front of NorthWestern Energy’s headquarters.

US: Coal Mine Expansion To Have Minor Climate Impact

Oct 6, 2016
U.S. officials approved a 117 million-ton expansion of a Montana coal mine after concluding that burning the fuel would have a minor impact on the nation's overall greenhouse gas emissions, according to documents released Thursday.
Courtesy USDA NRCS

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. officials approved a 117 million-ton expansion of a Montana coal mine after concluding that burning the fuel would have a minor impact on the nation's overall greenhouse gas emissions, according to documents released Thursday.

President Donald Trump Thursday ended a key Obama-era coal mining regulation designed to protect waterways from coal mining waste.
Flickr user oatsy40 (CC-BY-2)

U.S. Department of Energy officials held a briefing with the governor today on options for carbon capture in ensuring the future of Colstrip’s coal-fired plant.

Apathy, Funding The Biggest Threats To National Parks, Officials Say

Aug 26, 2016
A geyser erupts in Yellowstone National Park.
Michael Marsolek

Dignitaries from across the country gathered in Yellowstone yesterday, America’s first national park, to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service. Supporters of National Parks say to that survive the next 100 years, the American public will need to visit and support them.

Dan Fagre, a climate change researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey, shows US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell a photo of Glacier in 1914
Nicky Ouellet

Thursday was a big day in Glacier National Park.

The Park Service turned 100, and to celebrate, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell made a pilgrimage of sorts up Going to the Sun Road to see the park’s waning namesakes. She called it, "an incredible reminder of why the NPS was America's best idea."

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