MTPR

U.S. Department of Interior

Glacier National Park recently reopened Lake McDonald to some motorboat users, following a months-long quarantine to keep invasive mussels out of the lake.
Nicky Ouellet

This summer one tiny-shelled invertebrate has dominated the conversation about keeping non-native species out of Montana.

Since zebra and quagga mussel larvae were detected in Tiber Reservoir last summer, local, state, tribal and federal agencies have scrambled to enact programs and policies to keep the mussels out of Montana’s waterways.

A Forest Service helicopter near Missoula, MT.
Lane Lamoreaux (PD)

The State of Montana’s fleet of firefighting helicopters remains unable to to fight some fires on federal land, and Wednesday a state legislative council asked for action. It’s been a years-long struggle.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to streamline the process for oil and gas development on federal lands. Zinke signed an order Thursday mandating Bureau of Land Management oil and gas lease sales be held in each state on at least a quarterly basis.

Zinke noted during a telephone press conference that under the Obama administration BLM fell far short of that legally-mandated limit.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to turn over grizzly bear management to Montana, Idaho and Wyoming by late July. The states plan to allow limited bear hunts outside park boundaries.
Flickr user Nathan Rupert (CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

The Interior Department Thursday said it will lift Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park region.

Those protections have been in place for more than 40 years.

An informational sign at the entrance of the National Bison Range.
Josh Burnham

One month after pulling a proposal to transfer management of the National Bison Range to the tribes of the Flathead Reservation, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke yesterday made it official: Management will remain in the federal government’s hands.

Flickr user Lance Mountain (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Federal investigators said today they found credible evidence that male supervisors and staff in the maintenance division at Yellowstone National Park created a work environment that included unwelcome and inappropriate comments and actions toward women.

Yellowstone National Park Spokesperson Morgan Warthin:

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Wednesday signed orders implementing measures President Trump wants to take to roll back restrictions on fossil fuel production.

The 14-month old Obama-era moratorium on new coal leases on federal land ended Wednesday with the stroke of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s pen.

Glacier National Park entrance sign.
Flickr user photommo (CC-BY-ND)

President Donald Trump Thursday proposed a 12 percent cut to the Interior Department's 2018 budget. And national park advocates like Phil Francis are not happy about it:

Congressman Ryan Zinke testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee January 17.
CSPAN

The U.S. Senate moved Congressman Ryan Zinke one step closer to becoming secretary of interior in President Trump's administration.

Congressman Ryan Zinke testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee January 17.
CSPAN

If the Senate votes to confirm Representative Ryan Zinke as the next Interior Secretary, he will become the first Montanan to hold a cabinet level position. This first has many Montanans wondering, how does this work?

Congressman Ryan Zinke testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee January 17.
CSPAN

While Representative Ryan Zinke awaits a full Senate confirmation vote to become the next secretary of the Interior under Donald Trump’s Administration, many Montanans are left wondering when that vote will actually happen. That includes Senator Jon Tester.

"I've got a notion it will be next week, but remember my crystal ball is awful cloudy, and it could be few weeks out," Tester says.

Congressman Ryan Zinke testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee January 17.
CSPAN

It took Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke less  than two minutes to win the backing of the GOP-led Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Tuesday.

After the 16-6 vote, Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska said, "Congratulations Representative Zinke. We look forward to working with you.” 

Energy Panel Postpones Votes On Energy, Interior Nominees

Jan 24, 2017
Rep. Ryan Zinke at his Interior Secretary confirmation hearing Tuesday
CSPAN

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has postponed a meeting that had been scheduled for Tuesday to vote on the nominations of Ryan Zinke and Rick Perry to head the departments of Interior and Energy.

Rep. Amanda Curtis, D - Butte
Mike Albans

Butte Schoolteacher and State Lawmaker Amanda Curtis made it official Saturday: She is seeking the Democratic party’s nomination to run for Montana’s U.S. House seat.

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? 

CSPAN

Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke, who is President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Interior, had a four-hour confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee on Tuesday.

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.

Solenex Well Site, Badger-Two-Medicine
Corin Cates-Carney

The U.S. Interior Department Tuesday canceled the final two oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area between Glacier National Park and the Blackfeet Reservation. The undeveloped leases were first issued in the 1980's in an area that is sacred to the Blackfeet Nation.

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.

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.

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

President-elect Donald Trump has officially chosen Montana Representative Ryan Zinke to serve as his interior secretary.

Zinke was an early supporter of Trump's and publicly sought a Cabinet post when Trump visited in May.

It’s been just over a day since news broke that Montana’s sole Congressional Representative Ryan Zinke may ascend to President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet. But Montana Republican and Democratic Party officials are already thinking about what comes next if Zinke accepts Trump’s nomination.

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.

Media outlets, including the Washington Post, are reporting that Montana’s Congressman Ryan Zinke is president-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Interior.

The Post and other outlets are citing anonymous sources, and Congressman Zinke’s office has not issued any statements at this time.

A Whitefish-based National Park conservation advocate says an Interior Department headed by Congressman Ryan Zinke could be good for Montana and the West.

Michael Jamison heads the National Parks Conservation Association’s Crown of the Continent initiative. He says Zinke is a champion of America’s public lands, but also understands the balance between conservation and development:

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell
Corin Cates-Carney

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior visited Montana Monday to announce a plan blocking mining on public lands just north of Yellowstone National Park.

Blackfeet Tribal Chairman Harry Barnes, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and Devon Energy CEO David Hager sign a ceremonial document at the Department of Interior Headquarters in Washington DC, Wednesday morning, as Blackfeet leadership stand behind
U.S. Department of the Interior

The United States Department of the Interior has announced a negotiated settlement with an energy company that cancels 15 of the remaining oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine area just east of Glacier National Park. 

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.

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