Environment

Liralen Li / Flickr Creative Commons

People who have solar panels on their homes are different from typical Idaho Power customers. That’s according to a new ruling by Idaho’s Public Utilities Commission, which could cost more money for those embracing renewable energy in the future.

While Colorado and Utah didn’t get a lot of snow this winter, the Northern Rockies did. But now those record-breaking snowpacks are melting really fast and causing some of the worst flooding in more than four decades.

Rebecca Boone / AP Images

Wildfire experts in Boise say the upcoming summer wildfire season could be significant in the Gem State. But that's to be expected, given a suite of environmental and climactic factors.

The Trump administration’s plans to cut red tape on environmental projects is getting predictably mixed reviews.

National Parks and Monuments are preparing for the onslaught of summer tourists, and park officials are hoping visitors will remember these are wild places with wild animals. Yellowstone National Park has already seen two dangerous incidents over the last week.

Howard Berkes / NPR

The Society for American Archeology canceled a panel this spring because the Bureau of Land Management wouldn’t pay for its staffers to attend and lead a symposium on Land Management issues.

According to a monthly survey, farmers across the U.S. aren’t feeling too optimistic these days.  

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

As catastrophic wildfires have become more common in the West, they’ve also become more expensive. That’s forced the Forest Service to raid money set aside for fire prevention and instead use it to pay suppression costs.

In a flurry of lawsuits stretching across the West, conservation groups are accusing the federal government of failing to protect a rare bird: the sage grouse. This week, the groups involved in one of those lawsuits came to a legal truce.

Old Faithful gets all the attention, but a geyser called Steamboat is the world’s tallest active geyser. And it’s acting a little odd.

When federal protections were lifted for the Yellowstone-area grizzly bear last year, conservation groups quickly got to work to reverse that decision. One of those attempts was recently thwarted when U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced they would not restore protections after a months-long review.

wild horses, nevada, wildlife
James Marvin Phelps / Flickr Creative Commons

The Bureau of Land Management has presented Congress with a controversial new plan to manage wild horses.

Wyoming is drafting a plan for its first grizzly bear hunt in decades. Conservation groups are accusing the state of not following agreed-upon quotas for how many Yellowstone Grizzly can be hunted.  

While Colorado and Utah are prepping for a severe wildfire season this year, Montana, Wyoming and northern Idaho have been counting their lucky stars because all three states had a huge snowpack this season.

“We have the best snowpacks in the country,” said meteorologist Michael Richmond.

When all that snow melts, it’ll keep the forest wet and protected from fire.

However that doesn’t mean the region is free and clear.  Richmond said it may get hotter and drier than usual this summer. A lot of heat and no rain can dry out a forest within a week or two.

  

This is about two very different visions of how we should use land in the American West.

On the Great Plains of Montana, conservationists and tribes want to rewind the clock and return wild bison to the shortgrass prairie. But cowboys and ranchers say if that happens, their way of life – their very culture – will disappear.

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