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2024 Montana Primary elections

Columbia Falls cleanup; Tax assistance for vets; Mission Valley land preservation

Public meetings planned on Columbia Falls Aluminum cleanup

State and federal environmental regulators plan to host public meetings to go over the cleanup proposal for a former aluminum smelter in Columbia Falls.

Officials say the open house and Q&A sessions will review the plan to contain waste underground at the Superfund site.

The meetings come as a community group has pushed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to completely remove toxic waste from the site. The agency has said that would expose multiple communities and is too costly.

An open house is planned in downtown Columbia Falls April 24. The Q&A was held April 15.

Tax assistance for veterans, low-income homeowners

Veteran and low-income homeowners now have until June 1 to apply for property tax assistance programs. Gov. Greg Gianforte announced Monday that he extended the deadline to apply for two tax relief programs.

One program allows low-income Montanans to apply to reduce their property tax bill by up to 80%.

The Montana Disabled Veteran Assistance Program provides property tax relief for vets and a surviving spouse. That program reduces the tax burden by 50 to 100%.

Land trust announces Mission Valley conservation easement

The Flathead Land Trust announced Monday that it’s preserving 122 acres just east of the National Bison Range on the Flathead Reservation.

The conservation easement protects private property that was previously slated for a housing development.

The property is a key corridor for grizzly bears moving through the Mission Valley. The land is also home to wetlands important for migratory birds. The Land Trust said it adds to 18,000 acres of protected wetlands in the area.

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