MTPR

public land

The U.S. House took a vote related to public lands yesterday that has Democrats and conservation groups crying foul.

It’s part of a larger rules package that would change how Congress calculates the value of federal public lands when it comes to transferring them to states.

Snowmobile
Maropak (CC-BY-SA-3)

The Bitterroot National Forest’s first, newly updated travel plan in 40 years is facing its first legal challenge.

A coalition of seven multiple-use recreation groups describes their lawsuit as a, "last resort to stop the federal overreach of agencies running roughshod over public lands."

Ten thousand square miles. That’s roughly how much public land in Montana the US Forest Service is making new plans for at the moment.

Three National Forests, the Flathead, the Helena-Lewis and Clark and the Custer-Gallatin are all writing the basic governing documents that lay out what can and can’t happen, and where, in their vast territories. In January the Helena-Lewis and Clark is holding a series of public input meetings on their new forest plan.

All this new planning is happening under new forest planning rules. University of Montana Professor of Natural Resource Policy Martin Nie is on a national advisory committee about those rules. 

Gov. Steve Bullock.
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.

Rep. Ryan Zinke is President-elect Trump's nominee for secretary of the Interior.
Courtesy Ryan Zinke

On Thursday morning, Congressman Ryan Zinke issued his first press release since media outlets broke the news he was President Elect Donald Trump’s top pick for Secretary of the Interior. In it, he wrote, "I am honored and humbled to be asked to serve Montana and America as Secretary of Interior."

The confirmation unleashed a mixed bag of reactions.

A Nature Conservancy representative points out portions of the land that make up the Clearwater-Blackfoot Project in the Blackfoot Valley.
Christopher B. Allen

More than 5,000 acres of land in the Blackfoot Valley north of Potomac has been transferred from private ownership to the Bureau of Land Management. The Nature Conservancy Thursday finalized the sale of former Plum Creek timber land to the BLM.

Sen. Jon Tester
U.S. Senate

This morning, Congressman Ryan Zinke confirmed reports that he was nominated to serve as the next Secretary of the Interior. Montana’s senior senator, Democrat Jon Tester, was in Helena today, and spoke with MTPR's Capitol Reporter Corin Cates-Carney, about Zinke’s nomination.

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.

Rep. Ryan Zinke is rumored to be President-elect Trump's nominee for secretary of the Interior.
Eric Whitney

The news that Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke is apparently President-elect Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Interior is still reverberating across the country and in Montana. For perspective, we’re now joined by Rob Saldin, a political science professor at the University of Montana, and analyst for MTPR. I asked him for his initial impression of the news:

Updated Dec. 15, 11:30 a.m. ET

President-elect Donald Trump has selected Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke to be his interior secretary, the transition team announced Thursday morning.

Zinke is a first-term congressman and a former Navy SEAL commander who served in Iraq and was awarded two Bronze Stars. He was re-elected to a second term last month with 56 percent of the vote.

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