MTPR

Donald Trump

Sen. Tester urges the crowd to advocate for LWCF funding at an August 24, 2015 rally in Missoula, MT.
Josh Burnham / MTPR

The bipartisan congressional panel that will determine the fate of President Donald Trump’s demand for an almost $6 billion border wall holds its first meeting Wednesday. And Montana’s senior Senator, Jon Tester, has a seat at that table.

File photo of Forest Service helicopter crews practicing medical evacuation west of Missoula, MT. The government shutdown has put a halt to much of the Forest Service's wildfire training.
Lane Lamoreaux (PD)

Union representatives of Montana’s 7,000 federal workers impacted by the federal government shutdown say they’re pleased President Donald Trump has agreed to put them back to work for three weeks and authorize back pay. But they say questions still abound and damage has already been done.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D)
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock appears to be in no hurry to announce his plans for the 2020 election, even as the Democratic field of presidential candidates grows more crowded by the day.

Bullock made multiple trips last year to early voting states such as Iowa and New Hampshire as he flirts with joining what's expected to be a large field of would-be challengers to President Donald Trump.

Zinke: Park Visitors Should 'Grab a trash bag'

Jan 4, 2019
Former Interior secretary and Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — 10:50 a.m.: Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says National Park visitors should "grab a trash bag and take some trash out" as garbage bins at some parks overflow during the government shutdown.

Snow mobiles and snow coaches allow the 20,000 to 30,000 monthly winter visitors to Yellowstone National Park to reach sites like Old Faithful and the park's Grand Canyon.
Eric Whitney / MTPR

The company that struck a deal with Yellowstone National Park to pay park employees to keep the park open during the federal government shutdown says it’s willing to keep paying into February, but will have to re-evaluate if the shutdown lasts longer than that.

"Hopefully the government will resolve this matter before then," says Mike Keller, the general manager for Xanterra Parks and Resorts in Yellowstone. It operates the only hotels that stay open inside the park in winter.

A looming partial U.S. government shutdown at midnight tonight means uncertainty for the more than 13,000 federal workers in Montana.

The federal government is the second largest single employer in Montana, making up about 3 percent of the state’s workforce. Their payroll accounts for about $1.4 billion in personal income here.

A section of wall on the California-Mexico border.
iStock

Montana’s senior senator is not convinced that high level, closed-door budget negotiations in Washington D.C. will avert a partial government shutdown.

"Look, I would say at this moment in time it’s 50-50," Democratic Sen. Jon Tester says.

Senator Jon Tester speaks at a joint hearing of the House and Senate veterans committees on Wednesday. Dec. 19, 2018.
CSPAN screenshot

Sen. Jon Tester said he’s worried that the Veterans Health Administration is straying from the direction Congress gave it when it passed a bill six months ago to reform how vets get health care outside the VA system.

"We could end up with a problem where we’re actually cutting benefits for our veterans moving forward," said Tester at a joint hearing of the House and Senate veterans committees Wednesday

Coal. File photo.
Flickr user oatsy40 (CC-BY-2)


A federal judge in Great Falls will hear arguments on Thursday that could stop the Trump Administration from selling coal from federal lands. Four states, an Indian tribe and environmental groups are challenging the president overturning a ban on new coal leases put in place by the Obama administration. 

Sage grouse.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region (PD)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration moved forward Thursday with plans to ease restrictions on oil and natural gas drilling, mining and other activities across millions of acres in the American West that were put in place to protect an imperiled bird species.

Land management documents released by the U.S. Interior Department show the administration intends to open more public lands to leasing and allow waivers for drilling to encroach into the habitat of greater sage grouse.

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