Environment & Science

Coal
Kym Farnik / Flickr

The Trump administration is repealing an Obama-era rule that forced energy companies to pay more royalties on fossil fuels. Coal producers call it a return to fairness, but environmental groups say the repeal allows companies to continue exploiting a decades-old loophole.

Fellow Montanans, it’s time for your second wake-up call concerning the upcoming solar eclipse — the celestial event of the summer, if not a lifetime. Pencil “eclipse day” into your day planners for August 21, and set aside the time window of roughly 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to experience the whole event. It will feature, on average, an astonishing 90 percent totality for many of us in the Treasure State.

There are lots of community resources out there to help you enjoy the eclipse, so let’s run down a few highlights:

Here's today's morning air quality update from Missoula City-County Health Department Air Quality Specialist Sarah Coefield:

Yellowstone National Park has decided to convert part of its bison trap into a temporary brucellosis quarantine facility. 

Wherever you go, you leave behind a tiny trace of yourself, a fingerprint even smaller than a cell that says you were here. Every organism does this, including the invasive quagga and zebra mussels the state is trying to keep out of Montana. This summer, a team of scientists in the Flathead Valley is using cutting-edge technology to detect the mussels’ genetic fingerprints sooner. They say early detection may offer the only hope for eradicating the mussels if they do get here.

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers launched an ad campaign Wednesday criticizing Secretary Ryan Zinke's review of national monuments.
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced on Wednesday he won’t recommend any changes to the Upper Missouri River Breaks. It’s one of 27 national monuments under review by the secretary, who is now the target of a new ad campaign launched by a Montana-based sportsmen’s group.

Boaters in the Flathead Basin may see some significant changes next season. A new set of regulations aimed at preventing the spread of invasive mussels next year are now being drafted.

The proposed regulations would require all boats to be inspected before they launch, set up a sticker for boats that only launch in Flathead and Swan Lakes, and establish annual fees to fund the program.

Nate Hegyi / YPR

As the most severe drought in the nation continues to pummel ranchers and farmers in northeastern Montana, the National Weather Service says it isn’t ending anytime soon. 

grizzly bear
National Park Service / National Park Service

The Greater Yellowstone grizzly bear was officially removed from the threatened species list on Monday.

The Interior Department stripped federal protections for grizzly bears living near Yellowstone National Park and they will now be managed by state and tribal agencies in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.

Nate Hegyi

Yellowstone National Park is taking action against up to a dozen employees after an investigation found some female workers were subjected to sexual harassment and other problems.

Superintendent Dan Wenk says some of the employees could be fired while others could receive suspensions or counseling.

“Tell me an organization that’s almost 1,000 employees and find me one that doesn’t have issues about work place issues, find me one,” said Wenk. “I don’t think you will. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t improve it.”

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