DEQ issues $516,000 fine for alleged mining activity at site of former Zortman mine

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has levied a $516,567 fine for alleged illegal mining activity at the former Zortman-Landusky Mining District, which is in the midst of long-term reclamation efforts to mitigate acid mine drainage. The penalty is accompanied by an order directing property owner Luke Ployhar and Owen Voigt, a mining consultant employed…

Latest Environmental Reporting


The dust next door

People living in the Greeley neighborhood near Montana Resources’ open-pit Continental mine are concerned about what’s in the dust blowing in from the mine that occasionally coats their homes and vehicles. In a city where past mining left a legacy of soil and water pollution, is the air unsafe, too? Montana Resources and the DEQ…

Feds ponder endangered species protection for Yellowstone bison

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced June 3 that it’s exploring federal protections for Yellowstone bison. In a 90-day preliminary review, the federal agency charged with administering the Endangered Species Act found that petitioners seeking threatened or endangered protections for Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem bison have presented “substantial, credible information indicating that a listing action…

EPA nixes Montana’s new water quality standards

In a May 10 letter to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, the EPA asserted that a measure the Montana Legislature passed in 2021 runs afoul of the Clean Water Act. The EPA said it’s concerned that the state’s repeal of numeric standards for nitrogen and phosphorus codified in Senate Bill 358 has led to…

The didymo dilemma

“Rock snot” algae blooms are hurting the Kootenai River fishery. Could fertilizer be the fix?

The selenium battle of Lake Koocanusa

In late March, the state Board of Environmental Review sided with a Canadian mining company in its assertion that the Department of Environmental Quality broke Montana law when it adopted a strict new standard for selenium pollution entering Lake Koocanusa, which straddles the U.S.-Canada border. DEQ is holding firm to its standard — and that…

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Environmental group sues over new water quality law

Environmental nonprofit Upper Missouri Waterkeeper has filed suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its handling of a new Montana law that loosens nutrient pollution regulations in the state’s waterways.

What’s driving southern Montana’s deadliest avalanche season in more than a decade?

There have been good winters and there have been bad winters, but during an average one, avalanches claim the lives of three backcountry recreationists in Montana. Compared to other mountainous states in the West, Montana is usually somewhere in the top five for total avalanche deaths, but rarely tops the list. But so far this…

Federal judge sides with Forest Service in Crazy Mountains access lawsuit

U.S. Magistrate Judge Timothy Cavan says the sporting and conservation groups that sued the Custer Gallatin National Forest have failed to identify a “discrete agency action the Forest Service was required to take” in its handling of disputed historic trails in the Crazy Mountains. Although not final — a more senior judge will issue a…


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