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University of Montana's Main Hall.
Josh Burnham

The University of Montana's sustainability efforts received a "bronze" rating Tuesday from a nonprofit organization promoting sustainability in higher education.

UM's Sustainability Coordinator Eva Rocke says UM fell just 2.2 points shy of a silver rating from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. She says that offers both hope and a roadmap for improvement.

In the next month or so, the Trump administration will announce its plan to shrink or modify large national monuments across the country. Some people are heralding the decision, saying these designations are federal land grabs that strangle local economies and kill jobs.

Others say national monuments help local economies by boosting tourism. But an economist from Utah told a crowd in Bozeman on Thursday they might both be wrong.

Solar panels.
(PD)

The Montana Secretary of State has given supporters of a 2018 ballot initiative that would require utility companies to use much more renewable energy approval to start collecting signatures.

Initiative 184 would require public utility companies to gradually increase their use of renewable energy from the current level of 15 percent to 80 percent by 2050.

Lake Koocanusa
Darren Kirby (CC-BY-SA-3)

The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new modeling framework for collection and analysis of selenium data in Lake Koocanusa.

The framework is designed to organize data collected by different agencies using different protocols, with a long-term goal of helping managers develop a common water quality standard for selenium levels in Lake Koocanusa, which straddles the international border.

A Coal Mine in the Powder River basin
U.S. Geological Survey

The nomination of a new regulator of surface mines in the United States is receiving praise from pro-coal groups in Montana but criticism from environmental groups in the state.

President Trump nominated Steve Gardner Thursday for the position of Director of the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement.

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