Montana Public Radio

Kayla Desroches

Kayla Desroches reports for Yellowstone Public Radio in Billings. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and stayed in the city for college, where she hosted a radio show that featured serialized dramas like the Shadow and Suspense. In her pathway to full employment, she interned at WNYC in New York City and KTOO in Juneau, Alaska. She then spent a few years on the island of Kodiak, Alaska, where she transitioned from reporter to news director before moving to Montana.

The novel coronavirus has canceled many aspects of regular order, but city and state governments are still making decisions that might outlast the current pandemic.

YPR News’ Kayla Desroches has been reporting on how elected officials are balancing social distancing guidelines with the public’s right to open government. She shared her reporting with Nicky Ouellet.

A federal judge in Montana Thursday heard arguments but made no ruling on tribes’ suit to halt construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The hearing was part of an ongoing lawsuit the Fort Belknap Indian community in Montana and the Rosebud Sioux Tribe in South Dakota brought against developer TC Energy and President Donald Trump.

Editor's Note April 21, 2020: PSC counsel Zack Rogala's name was mispelled in a previous version of this article and has since been corrected.

A Montana regulatory body on Apr. 14 fell victim to an instance of teleconference hijacking, also called “zoombombing,” which interrupted public comment and delayed commissioners’ decision making.

The Montana Public Service Commission turned to remote teleconferencing in late March to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus. The commission has been using the popular Zoom platform to hold public meetings.


A survey released on Apr. 13 shows a majority of Montanans support public lands, even amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

Montana’s largest electric utility says another company is hedging in on its plan to purchase a greater share of the Colstrip coal-fired power plant. 


The commission that regulates energy in Montana shot down a proposal on Apr. 7 to sponsor a forum that would have discussed climate change as a man-made phenomenon.

Like many other essential industries in Montana, the state’s energy sector continues the daily grind amid concerns over the COVID-19 illness. YPR News’s Kayla Desroches has been reporting on oil, gas and coal production and she shares her reporting with us now.

A Canadian company’s announcement this week that it plans to move forward with construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline in northern Montana has nearby Native American tribes and some locals concerned that the flow of workers could carry the novel coronavirus into a community with limited health care resources.

Editor's Note April 02, 2020: TC Energy spokesperson Sara Rabern is referring to workers being American when she says they are "local."

A Canadian company says it plans to start construction of the disputed Keystone XL oil pipeline running from Canada through the U.S. in April after lining up customers and funding.

TC Energy says it’ll kick off construction on the oil pipeline in Phillips County, Montana while also enforcing social distancing and screening to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

Montana’s tribal nations say their first responders and medical professionals are short on equipment needed to protect health care workers from the coronavirus.

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