Montana Public Radio

Earthjustice

Wolverine
Gerald and Buff Corsi, California Academy of Sciences. (USFS)

Conservation groups have filed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to withhold Endangered Species Act protection from wolverines in the lower 48 states. That’s where no more than 300 of the animals are thought to remain. 

Emigrant Peak in Montana's Paradise Valley. The valley is north of Yellowstone Park near the location of two gold mines proposed in 2015.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana's Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that canceled state regulator approval of mining on private land north of Yellowstone National Park.

The unanimous ruling found that state lawmakers violated the state Constitution with a 2011 law that prevented district court judges from blocking projects approved by regulators, even if environmental harms were expected.

Map of the proposed Mid-Swan project area, which stretches from just south of Swan Lake to Condon, MT.
Flathead National Forest

The Flathead National Forest released its Draft Environmental Impact Statement last week, moving one step closer to finalizing a 15-year logging and fire mitigation project in the Swan Valley. But critics say the Mid-Swan project, which covers an area larger than Flathead Lake, violates federal law due to the project's lack of specificity.

Trump Administration Finalizes Coal Plant Pollution Rollback

Aug 31, 2020
Coal ash waste at the Colstrip power plant.
Courtesy Alexis Bonogofsky - Montana Environmental Information Center

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration on Monday finalized its weakening of an Obama-era rule aimed at reducing pollution from coal-burning power plants that has contaminated streams, lakes and underground aquifers

The change will allow utilities to use cheaper technologies and take longer to comply with pollution reduction guidelines that are less stringent than what the agency originally adopted in 2015.

An Arctic grayling run
Michael (Josh) Melton / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. wildlife officials on Wednesday rejected special protections for a rare, freshwater fish related to salmon that's been at the center of a long-running legal dispute. The decision cited conservation efforts that helped increase the Arctic grayling’s numbers in a Montana river.

The Associated Press obtained details of the decision not to protect the fish under the Endangered Species Act in advance of a public announcement.

A coal mining company that works in Montana filed a request in May for a judicial review of a recently changed rule for power plant air emissions standards. A Montana environmental group filed a motion to intervene this past week.

USDA NRCS

The Trump administration said Wednesday a resumption of coal sales from public lands that had been blocked under former President Barack Obama will result in a negligible increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

A grizzly bear mother and cub in Yellowstone Park.
iStock

The state of Montana filed its final arguments late last week in the complex and controversial lawsuit over the fate of Yellowstone-area grizzly bears.

In the summer of 2017 the Department of the Interior removed Endangered Species Act protections for the roughly 700 bears estimated to live in the area at the time. Tribes and conservation groups promptly filed suit and a federal judge in Missoula restored protections for the bruins last fall

The Cabinet Mountains as seen from Highway 56 near Noxon, MT.
U.S. Forest Service Northern Region (PD)

The proposed Montanore copper and silver mine in the Cabinet Mountains has experienced another setback. A state district court judge found Friday that a state-issued water quality permit violated state and federal water quality regulations.

Map of Solenex Lease site in the Badger-Two Medicine near Glacier National Park
Courtesy Montana Wilderness Association

A newly appointed Bureau of Land Management official needs to recuse himself from decisions related to the Badger-Two Medicine area because he has a conflict of interest. That's according to according to the environmental group Earthjustice.

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