Montana Public Radio

U.S. Department of the Interior

An informational sign at the entrance of the National Bison Range near Moiese, MT.
Josh Burnham

The U.S. Interior Department Friday signed an order that will start the transfer of the National Bison Range to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

A woman stands in a stream fly fishing
PD

Critics say a U.S. Department of Interior order issued earlier this week guts a federal program that uses money from oil and gas drilling to buy land for recreation and conservation.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) received full funding of $900 million per year for the first time in its half-century history when the Great American Outdoors Act was signed into law in early August.

A federal judge in Montana has ousted President Trump's top public lands official.

The ruling blocks William Perry Pendley from continuing to serve as the temporary head of the Bureau of Land Management, a post he has held for more than a year.

The judge ruled in response to a lawsuit filed by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock who argued it's illegal for Pendley to lead the agency because he had never been confirmed by the Senate.

Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in central Montana
BLM (PD)

A lawsuit filed by Gov. Steve Bullock in federal court Monday alleges that Bureau of Land Management Deputy Director William Perry Pendley is violating federal law by exercising the authority of the bureau’s director while awaiting confirmation from the Senate.

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.

In a lawsuit filed July 14 the groups argue that the U.S. Department of Interior failed to follow environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act when it greenlighted a right-of-way across more than 40 miles of federal land in Montana earlier this year.

David Wiley (CC-BY-2)

The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee held its first hearing Wednesday on the Montana Water Rights Protection Act. The legislation would settle long-disputed water rights claims of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Map of Solenex Lease site in the Badger-Two Medicine near Glacier National Park
Courtesy Montana Wilderness Association

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. ruled Tuesday that a lower court was wrong to reinstate a contentious oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area near the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and Glacier National Park. 

Mark Mariano does daily waterfowl observations rounds at the Berkeley Pit during migration season. October 2018.
Nora Saks / MTPR

The Trump administration moved forward Friday with plans to scale back a century-old law protecting most American wild bird species, despite warnings that billions of birds could die as a result.

Sage grouse.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Pacific Southwest Region (PD)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A U.S. judge has dealt another blow to the Trump administration's efforts to increase domestic oil and gas output from public lands, saying officials failed to protect habitat for a declining bird species when it issued energy leases on hundreds of square miles.

Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Matt Hogan, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt and Montana U.S. House Rep. Greg Gianforte listen to residents of the Rocky Mountain Front talk about conflict with grizzly bears, Oct 5, 2019.
Aaron Bolton / Montana Public Radio

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt is directing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be more involved in managing Rocky Mountain Front grizzly bear conflicts.

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