Michael Cotter

ExxonMobil Pipeline Company agreed to pay 12-million dollars to the federal government and the state of Montana to resolve claims that stem from a 2011 pipeline break that spilled crude oil into the Yellowstone River in Laurel.

A proposed consent decree was filed in U.S. District Court on September 21, 2016 to address the natural resource damage.

U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter
U.S. Department of Justice

The U.S. Justice Department announced this week it's phasing out its use of private prisons. The government’s directive will affect 13 privately run prisons holding over 22,000 inmates.

Montana U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter tells MTPR its impact, while significant, will not be felt at north-central Montana’s Crossroads Correctional Center:

Ann Sherwood manages a new program on the Flathead Reservation aimed at keeping former inmates out of prison.
Elliott Natz

If you were plucked out of society right now, what would be there when you come back?

This was just one of the questions posed at a meeting hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice on the Flathead Reservation on Tuesday.

The Federal government is suing the owners of a mine near Lincoln, where members of the "Oath Keepers" group have gathered.

U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter filed the civil suit in federal court in Helena Tuesday. The complaint claims George Kornec and Philip Nappo, owners of the White Hope Mine, have blocked access to public lands, by illegally opening a road, cutting down trees, and building a garage on the site. 

UM President Royce Engstrom speaks about UM's handling of sexual assaults at a July 10 press conference in Missoula, MT.
Eric Whitney - MTPR

The University of Montana Police Department has met federal requirements to improve its response to reports of sexual assault on campus.

The University agreed to the requirements two years ago, following a 2012 investigation into reports of sexual assaults at the school by the U.S. Departments of Justice, and Education.

The Vision Zero Initiative Vision Zero Initiative is aimed at preventing traffic accidents and deaths in dense traffic corridors.
Josh Burnham (CC-BY-2)

A new strike force will target organized crime that law enforcement  says continues to plague the Bakken oil patch.

According to Montana U.S. Attorney, Mike Cotter, those offenses range from drug and weapon trafficking to environmental and white-collar crimes.

Vanita Gupta, head of the U.S Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division speaks at a press conference in Missoula on May 11, 2015, as Missoula Mayor John Engen and Missoula Police Chief Mike Brady look on.
Edward O'Brien

The federal government says the Missoula police department has made tremendous progress in how it handles reports of sexual assault.

"In short, this community has come together to institute long-term, systemic change to protect and ensure the safety of generations to come," said Vanita Gupta, head of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

U.S. Department of Justice

A federal Department of Justice advisory committee studying issues related to children's' exposure to violence in Native American or Alaska Native communities is meeting this week in Florida.
       Montana U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter is there to share details about a pilot project taking place among the Chippewa Cree Tribe on Eastern Montana's Rocky Boy Reservation.

Former County Attorney Removes Box From Secure Area
Kurt Wilson, Missoulian

Missoula county attorney Fred Van Valkenburg is willing to negotiate a "memorandum of understanding" with the federal Justice department, as a way of resolving DOJ's concerns about the way the county attorney's office has handled past sexual assault investigations.   The offer is contained in a letter written by Van Valkenburg and sent to U.S. Attorney Michael Cotter.