MTPR

Montana Department of Environmental Quality

Montana Department of Environmental Quality

State environmental officials will update Lincoln this evening on a major mine waste clean-up project in the Upper Blackfoot Valley.

The old and creaky Mike Horse Dam once lay at the headwaters of the Blackfoot River. But not anymore. Its removal was part of a $40 million cleanup of the Upper Blackfoot Mining Complex.

Emigrant Peak north of Yellowstone, near the area of a proposed Lucky Minerals mine exploration.
Flickr user Sean Wolf (CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

Environmental groups today sued the state of Montana, attempting to block a mining company’s plans to begin exploring for gold and other precious metals in the mountains just north of Yellowstone National Park.

State officials have issued a draft operating permit for an underground copper mine in central Montana that opponents worry could harm one of the state's most popular fly-fishing destinations.

On Thursday, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality held a public hearing on draft rules to oversee the disposal of radioactive oil waste in the state. 

Montana Artesian Water Company.
Nicky Ouellet / MTPR

Plans for a water bottling plant outside Kalispell moved one step closer to fruition Tuesday. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality issued a wastewater discharge permit for the Montana Artesian Water Company. It’s one of two permits the plant needs to open.

For the first time ever, The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has published draft rules overseeing the disposal of radioactive oil waste in the state. But some conservationists say the rules don’t go far enough.

Ed Thamke of the DEQ says radioactive oil waste isn’t as bad as it sounds.

A Forest Service helicopter near Missoula, MT.
Lane Lamoreaux (PD)

The State of Montana’s fleet of firefighting helicopters remains unable to to fight some fires on federal land, and Wednesday a state legislative council asked for action. It’s been a years-long struggle.

An oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers, MT, May 2017.
Nicky Ouellet

The Environmental Protection Agency says it has detected low levels of volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds in samples taken from the oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers.

In a statement, the EPA says it still has not determined the cause of the sheen that was first reported early last week and expects final, validated sampling results next week.

The sheen on Flathead Lake near Somers was first reported to the EPA earlier this week. Thursday, BNSF took steps to contain it. A BNSF representative told MTPR Thursday that early field indicators suggest the sheen comes from a natural organic source.
Nicky Ouellet

BNSF Railway says that, as a precautionary measure, it has removed material from the shore of Flathead Lake near Somers that has a mysterious, oily sheen. The company thinks the sheen's origin is biological, not man-made.

Flathead Lake. Flathead County Commissioners are considering a proposal to regulate short-term housing rentals outside of incorporated towns.
William Neuheisel (CC-BY-2)

The Environmental Protection Agency and BNSF Railway are responding to an unidentified sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake. 

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