Montana Public Radio

Environment

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

Hearing sessions across Montana over the last month have given ratepayers of the state’s largest electric utility the chance to sound off on the company’s 20-year-plan for sourcing energy. While many people have lashed out against the fossil fuel heavy plan, a minority of supporters in Billings and Colstrip last week stepped up.

 

Two of the Colstrip power plant’s four units ceased operation last week. Residents in Colstrip voiced shock and sadness Saturday about the long-planned but still surprising shutdowns.

Truck carrying timber
Bell & Jeff (CC-BY-2.0)

A Georgia-based timber and real estate company is confirming it’s the buyer of 630,000 acres of Montana timberlands from Weyerhaeuser. There was widespread speculation that the deal announced last week could cut off public access to some of that land, but Southern Pine Plantations said it will maintain that access.

The Refuge E4: Do It In A Good Way

Dec 22, 2019
Sarah James in Arctic Village, Alaska
Amy Martin / Threshold

The Gwich’in have lived and hunted in the Refuge long before it was carved out as federal, protected land. Their territory spans a huge swath of northeastern Alaska and northwestern Canada, and their health and culture depends on the Porcupine caribou herd - a group of animals 200,000 strong that calve on the area of the coastal plain slated for drilling.

This section of Silver Bow Creek that runs through Slag Canyon in Butte will be rerouted in EPA's "proposed plan" for changes to the 2006 Record of Decision.
Nora Saks / Montana Public Radio

A copper mining company and Butte-Silver Bow county agreed this week to a plan to pump more cold, clean water into local creeks. While the company and county call the deal a win-win, some are concerned about the downstream impacts.

 

As more extreme droughts and floods and other climate effects threaten food production and the survival of rural communities, there’s a debate about whether sustainable agriculture can be achieved through new federal policies or shifting markets. 

White-tailed deer.
(PD)

Montana wildlife officials announced Wednesday that a white-tailed deer in southwest Montana has, for the first time, tested positive for chronic wasting disease. The deer population in the Ruby Valley is dense, which could fuel transmission.

The weeping wall on Glacier Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road.
David Restivo, NPS (PD)

Glacier National Park officials say they will continue a shuttle service along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, with or without Flathead County. County officials voted last week to end the 12-year long relationship with the park.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality announced Thursday that the Lower Gallatin Watershed is its next priority basin. This means hundreds of thousands of dollars will become available to address pollution in over half of the watershed’s major streams and rivers.

Two wolf pups from a famous wolf pack in Yellowstone were killed by a car in the park November 19. 

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