Tom Vilsack

The U.S. Department of Interior has decided that the greater sage grouse, a peculiar and distinctly Western bird, does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act.

In a statement, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said that an unprecedented land conservation effort has already significantly reduced the threats to sage grouse.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the conservation marked a successful effort by the government and ranchers on public and private lands.

The Solenex well site in the Badger-Two Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

A federal advisory council that’s been reviewing a decades old proposal to explore for energy in the Badger-Two Medicine area of the Lewis and Clark National Forest issued its recommendation today.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s recommendation says:

Gov. Bullock is hopeful upcoming talks will help clear the way to allowing Montana DNRC helicopters to work fires on federal lands.

It looks like there may be progress in the dispute between Montana and the U.S. Forest Service over firefighting helicopters.

Forest Service Predicts Above-Average Fire Season For Western U.S.

Jun 9, 2015
File photo of fire fighters building fire line.
BLM (CC-BY-2.0)

The Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior and the U.S. Forest Service chief expect above average wildfire activity this year, especially across the Western U.S.

The three held a telephone briefing with reporters yesterday afternoon on the upcoming 2015 wildfire season.

As U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack is in charge of a lot more than the nation's food policy. His agency also oversees management of our national forests, and as a member of the Cabinet, he advises the president on everything from the farm bill - to the impacts of climate change.

In this feature interview, Vilsack talks with News Director Sally Mauk about those issues and more - starting with why he thinks the Affordable Care Act is a good deal for rural Americans.