Montana Public Radio

Land and Water Conservation Fund

Helena National Forest
Forest Service Northern Region (PD)

The big federal funding bill that Congress is expected to vote on Thursday would mean some certainty on three big issues for Montana and other Western states.

The bill locks-in Secure Rural Schools Act money for up to four years, changes how wildland firefighting is funded, and allocates money to the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Glacier National Park entrance sign.
Flickr user photommo (CC-BY-ND)

President Donald Trump Thursday proposed a 12 percent cut to the Interior Department's 2018 budget. And national park advocates like Phil Francis are not happy about it:

Rep. Ryan Zinke at his Interior Secretary confirmation hearing Tuesday
CSPAN

"It is an honor to appear before this esteemed Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources," Congressman Ryan Zinke said Tuesday, kicking off nearly four hours of testimony at his confirmation hearing to be Secretary of Interior in the Donald Trump administration.

He answered questions from Democratic and Republican senators, and had this exchange with Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders:

Sanders: President-elect Trump has stated in his view that climate change is a, "hoax." Is President-elect Trump right? Is climate change a hoax? 

Environmental organizations reacted Wednesday to reports that Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of the Interior. The Interior Department and other U.S. agencies control almost a third of Montana’s land and even more of the vast amounts of coal, oil and natural gas that lay beneath it.

Zinke has been critical of federal land management and has advocated for more development of coal, oil and natural gas. However he's also an outspoken supporter of keeping public lands in federal hands.

U.S. House candidates Denise Juneau and Ryan Zinke stand on stage at Frazer High School for their first debate on August 29, 2016
Jackie Yamanaka - Yellowstone Public Radio

The first debate between Montana’s major party candidates for its lone seat in the U.S. House was last night. It was colored by both national politics and the very local concerns of the community that hosted it — the tiny town of Frazer on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeast Montana.

Democratic U.S. Congressional candidate Denise Juneau stumped on public land policy Wednesday, July 27 at Meadow Lake State Park in Helena.
Corin Cates-Carney

Democratic Congressional candidate Denise Juneau outlined a policy agenda on public lands today, using the event as an opportunity to continue attacking her opponent, Republican Ryan Zinke.

Chief Earl Old Person speaks before a crowd at All Chief’s Park in Browning, on May 3. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell also spoke at the event, which signified the Blackfeet Tribe’s first step in participating in the federal Land Buy-Back program.
Corin Cates-Carney

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell visited Montana today, with a stop in Browning, where she announced that the Blackfeet Nation will soon begin participating in the $1.9 billion Indian Land buy-back program.

Both of Montana’s senators praised the energy bill passed by the Senate today.

Funding For Montana LWCF Projects Doubles In 2016
Bob Wick (CC-BY-2)

Funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund projects in Montana has more than doubled since it was last offered in 2014.

Montana To Get $10 Million for LWCF Projects, For Now

Dec 28, 2015

 

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) snuck its way into the federal spending bill passed by Congress before the holiday break, renewing the widely-popular pool of money for the next three years.

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