Montana Public Radio

Environment

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

Solar panels. Stock photo.
(PD)

The Montana Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday over how the Public Service Commission should set the rates NorthWestern Energy has to pay for power it's required to buy from small solar projects.

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.

Windmill at the Judith Gap, MT wind farm.
David J. Laporte (CC-BY-2) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

A second Montana city has set a goal to turn away from fossil-fuels by 2030. The city of Helena approved a resolution Monday to move toward 100 percent renewable electricity.

The five members of the city commission unanimously backed the measure that aims to shift the energy makeup powering the Helena area.

A group of city, state and tribal representatives met this week in Bozeman to share ideas about how to address climate change in Montana. A guest speaker at the conference said Rocky Mountain states are going to see catastrophic changes on our current path.

Among other upgrades, Yellowstone Park plans to replace 64 trailers that were built between 1960 and 1983. The park says those trailers, that annually house up to 100 employees, are extremely substandard.
Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park has unveiled a major initiative to upgrade employee housing, which park officials say is long overdue.

About half of Yellowstone National Park’s 800 employees live in park housing. Park spokeswoman Morgan Warthin describes the quality of that housing as, “Fair to poor.”

A climber in Lost Horse Canyon in the Bitterroot National Forest.
Courtesy Damien Powledge

The Bitterroot National Forest banned the creation of new, bolted rock climbing routes earlier this month, forcing climbers and conservationists to contemplate the future of the sport in the area.

In so-called “sport climbing,” climbers clip ropes into small bolts fixed in the rock to keep from falling too far should they slip off as they ascend.

Herford cattle.
USDA

A Wyoming rancher was awarded nearly $340,000 last month after disputing wildlife managers’ initial offer to pay for several livestock killed by grizzlies and wolves. 

While the large payout is unusual, Montana ranchers say it’s calling attention to funding issues for livestock losses on this side of the border.

Divers with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Montana FWP prepare to dive at Tiber Dam to look for adult zebra and/or quagga mussels, August 7, 2017.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana reservoir that had a suspicious result in testing for invasive mussels in 2016 has been cleared and the state has lifted a requirement for mandatory decontamination stations at the reservoir east of Helena.

Gray wolf.
iStock

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — A proposal by wildlife managers to extend the wolf hunting and trapping seasons in northwestern Montana was rejected, a wildlife commission said.

The state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks voted Thursday to maintain the hunting and trapping seasons from Sept. 15 to March 15, the Daily Inter Lake reported.

Butte Superfund Coordinator Jon Sesso speaks during the event unveiling EPA's final cleanup plan for Butte, Feb. 13, 2020.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency last week announced a final Superfund deal for Butte, detailing a roadmap they say will permanently clean up one of the most intractable Superfund sites in the country.

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