Eric Whitney

Eric Whitney is the news director for Montana Public Radio.

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Climate change activists and elected officials in Washington state are criticizing Puget Sound Energy's new long-range power generation plan. They say the utility isn't moving fast enough toward 100 percent renewable energy sources. That includes stating definitively that Puget Sound will shut down the Colstrip electricity plant in 2025.

Nathanial Jones, the mayor pro tem of Olympia, Washington, says rising sea levels due to climate change threaten billions of dollars worth of development in his city.

Lawmakers are considering increasing the number of liquor licenses the state issues, and auctioning them off as a way to raise revenue.

The Affordable Care Act, and it’s expansion of Medicaid are making a big difference fighting drug addiction in Montana.

That’s according to multiple panelists at a “Substance Use Disorder Summit” put on by the Montana Healthcare Foundation in Helena today.

Another Democrat has declared her candidacy for Montana's seat in the U.S. House.

"My name is Kathleen Williams. I'm pleased and honored to formally announce my candidacy for the U.S. Congress."

Kathleen Williams made the announcement at a restaurant in Bozeman Thursday. She represented Bozeman and eastern Gallatin County in the Montana House of Representatives for three terms from 2011 through the 2015 legislative session.

Across the state this summer, tens of thousands of Montanans had to face the challenge of living with big wildfires. Some people lost their homes, two firefighters lost their lives, and businesses, schools and individuals were impacted, in ways ranging from the mildly inconvenient to the life-changing.

"It's likely that we'll be experiencing more years like 2017 in the future," says Fire Ecologist Phil Higuera.

As the federal government prepares to remove Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears in the area around Glacier National Park, bear management experts say public acceptance of grizzlies will be crucial to their long term survival.

Chris Servheen saw what a difference that can make in his 35 year career as the grizzly bear recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Health insurance companies in Montana will be allowed to adjust their prices to account for President Trump’s executive order that stops some federal payments to insurers.

That news came Monday, after one company said last week that if they couldn’t change their prices, they’d have to leave the Montana market due to the President eliminating Cost Sharing Reduction, or CSR payments.

At 3:00 this afternoon Congressman Greg Gianforte issued a press release saying he's holding a "Public Tele-Town Hall Forum" at 6:05 pm. 

The release says people can register for it here: https://vekeo.com/repgianforte/

 


One day after the suicide of a mountaineer in Montana made headlines across the country, Governor Steve Bullock addressed a gathering in Helena, and brought up another suicide that didn't make the news.

"Last Thursday, the Ft. Belknap community buried one of their own," Bullock said. "She had been a scholar at Harlem High, she'd been an athlete and a role model. She was a soldier, National Guard member representing her state and her nation."

As September drew to a close, so did funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.

In Montana the program that’s jointly funded by the federal and state governments covers about 23,000 children.

If federal funding isn’t restored by Congress, most of those kids could lose their health coverage by as soon as January, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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