Montana Public Radio

Environment

Montana news covering wildlife, public lands, natural resources and more.

Montana Sets Reclamation Plan For Mine Outside Helena

Jul 24, 2020

The State of Montana finalized a reclamation plan for a mine in western Montana on July 24.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality issued a final decision that will include the permanent diversion of Clancy Creek away from the eroding edges of Montana Tunnel Mining’s inactive mine south of Helena.

Tunnels Mining installed a pipe to temporarily divert Clancy Creek roughly seven years ago. DEQ Mining Bureau Chief Dan Walsh says that’s when part of the pit wall collapsed.

“It put the Clancy Creek channel in danger of going directly into the pit," he said.

Outside of th CFAC Superfund Site in Columbia Falls, MT.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

Work to prevent harmful sediment from flowing into the Flathead River from a former aluminum plant will begin this fall. This is the first remediation project to take place at the Columbia Falls Aluminum Company Superfund site.


Environmental groups filed the latest in a series of federal lawsuits against the Keystone XL crude oil pipeline, this time challenging a permit to cross federal lands.


Montana lawmakers were briefed on a draft legislative study about water rights in the age of climate change.

In the latest step of a long pre approval process, the commission that regulates electric utilities in Montana wants to know how big a share NorthWestern Energy intends to purchase in the Colstrip coal fired power plant.

Map showing the proposed Lost Trail Conservation Area
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Federal officials are proposing 100,000 acres of conservation easements in Northwest Montana to maintain public access on recently sold private timber lands.

Smoke from the Rice Ridge Fire hangs over Seeley Lake, MT, August 2017.
Inciweb

As the number of coronavirus cases in Montana rise, public health officials and researchers say smoke from the upcoming wildfire season could make people more susceptible to catching the virus, and make patient outcomes much more deadly.

Update: An earlier version of this story stated Rob Gregoire won, rather than settled the court case in 2017. YPR regrets the error.

A group of unlikely bedfellows is trying to drum up support for a plan it says will reduce conflict in the Crazy Mountains and improve access to public land in southwest Montana. The plan includes land swaps and a new trail.

Map of the Gold Butterfly Project vicinity.
Bitterroot National Forest

Environmental groups are suing the Bitterroot National Forest over a proposed project that calls for about 5,600 acres of commercial logging.  The Gold Butterfly project would take place on about 7,300 acres. It includes non-commercial thinning and about 4,800 acres of prescribed burns.

The State of Montana is seeking public comment on the environmental effects of reintroducing bighorn sheep, a native species, into the Little Belt Mountains in central Montana.

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