Nora Saks

Nora Saks is a freelance radio and print journalist investigating themes of environmental justice in the Crown of the Continent and beyond.

She's currently a graduate student in the University of Montana's Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism Masters Program.

Having lived both north and south of the 49th parallel, she's inclined to use the term "bioregion" a little too frequently when describing her interest in exploring boundaries based on ecology rather than politics.

This past wildfire season, unprecedented amounts of wildfire smoke in communities across western Montana threw public health agencies a curveball.

Yesterday, we dove into what we know and are still learning about the long term health impacts of exposure to wildfire smoke. Today, we’re looking at what it would take to provide filtered air to the most vulnerable Montanans.

This summer, Missoula County had its worst wildfire smoke season on record. It’s unclear how exactly that impacted the health of county residents, both as the fires were burning and longer term, but researchers are starting to pull in some data.

Superfund sites in Butte and Anaconda are going to start receiving extra special attention from EPA's top officials, which could shift the speed and direction of the clean-ups. Nora Saks spoke with Montana Standard editor David McCumber about what that could mean for those two towns.

High above the Berkeley Pit, Butte’s famous copper mine turned toxic lake, a mini drone swoops and soars, then catches a thermal and floats. With its dark wings and yellow beak, it could easily be mistaken for a bird of prey. Just a few minutes after take off, it is.

“Oh, here comes somebody … bald eagle …"

Leaders in Butte say lack of progress on its Superfund clean-up continues to hold back the town’s economic development and future. Some of them took to the stage at a rally Tuesday to say they deserve and demand better. 

The Environmental Protection Agency's newly appointed regional administrator says he wants to see the Butte Superfund cleanup move faster. He was in Montana last week, and says he’ll be back. MTPR's Nora Saks spoke with Montana Standard Editor David McCumber about the visit, and a rally planned for next week.

Montana lawmakers are scoring political points by blaming environmentalists for suing to shut down logging projects on public lands. But public lands logging is both feeding area sawmills and reducing wildfire risk. MTPR's Nora Saks reports on a couple of projects in the Bitterroot Valley.

In Butte, the Environmental Protection Agency now says it's going to take a closer look at a neglected part of the big Superfund site there. But work at another remains stalled. Nora Saks got an update on what is and isn't happening with cleaning up in Butte from David McCumber editor of the Montana Standard.

Multiple wildfires discovered yesterday continue burning across Flathead County. High winds took down power lines and caused smoldering debris piles to escape their perimeters. Four of the fires authorities are responding to range in size from 200 to 300 acres.

More than 30 years after being declared part of a Superfund site, Butte residents still don't know what's in their backyards, or if they're safe. An EPA report recently revealed that the agency hasn't even started to evaluate possible human health risks from mining waste in a whole section of town. Nora Saks spoke with David McCumber, the editor of the Montana Standard, to find out more.

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