Montana Public Radio

Environment

Montana Environment News

Wildlands, wildlife, natural resources & environment news.

Montana State University released a report Tuesday warning that rising temperatures, wildfires and other effects of climate change could increase the likelihood of lung disease in vulnerable populations, exacerbate existing conditions like asthma and hurt farmers’ mental health.

Windmills in a grassy field
iStock

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — For the third time this year, a court has ruled that Montana's Public Service Commission has ignored energy law in setting prices for a wind or solar farm.

District Judge Kathy Seeley ruled the commission underpaid Caithness Beaver Creek for electricity it was scheduled to sell to the state’s largest monopoly utility NorthWestern Energy as part of a proposed $500 million wind and battery storage project, the Billings Gazette reported Wednesday.

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.

Montana Coal Mine Owner Declares Bankruptcy

Dec 4, 2020

The operator of the Decker coal mine in Montana announced bankruptcy and layoffs Dec. 03 due to poor coal market conditions.

Utah based Lighthouse Resources filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the District of Delaware Thursday.

Grizzly bear track.
Jim Peaco (PD) / National Park Service

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Federal and state wildlife officials are investigating three recent grizzly bear deaths in northwestern Montana including one bear that a homeowner said had been shot and partially skinned.

Feral Swine Remain At Bay In Montana

Dec 2, 2020

Montana remains free of invasive feral swine but the threat still looms. Montana’s Invasive Species Council heard that update on Dec. 2 on the risk of the swine entering the state.

Assistant State Veterinarian Tahnee Syzmanski said the state’s coordinated Squeal on Pigs campaign received nearly 10 reports of possible feral swine this year.

Map of whitebark pine range
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it’s proposing federal protections for whitebark pine trees.

At least one environmental group argues the protections don’t go far enough.

Grizzly bear. Stock photo.
(PD)

After two record-breaking years of grizzly bear deaths in Northwest Montana, bear mortalities have dropped back down.

Cow elk.
PD

A citizens group met for the first time Thursday to begin the process of revising the 15-year-old statewide elk management plan in Montana.

Elk numbers in Montana have rebounded from about 8,000 in the 1920s to more than 150,000 today. But agreeing on how many of those ungulates there should be — and where — is a complicated affair.

A citizen committee meeting Wednesday and Thursday put the finishing touches on a once-in-a-decade plan that will shape forest management in Montana.

Decades of aggressively putting out wildfires led to unhealthy, overgrown forests at particularly high risk for burns and disease outbreaks. At the same time, a patchwork of land ownership makes addressing management problems hard to do. That’s where the Montana Forest Action Plan comes in.

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