Environment

The EPA is expected to announce a rollback of regulations on coal-fired power plants. Meanwhile, two new reports could cast some doubt on that decision.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP

After more than a century at the forefront on public lands protections, a new report finds the U.S. is being edged out by its neighbors to the north and the south.

Roughly a third of Americans said climate change played into their voting decisions in the last four years. Other than Colorado, voters in the Mountain West are even less interested in the issue. Bernie Sanders is trying to change that. He hosted an online town hall on the topic Monday night.

City of Boise / via Facebook

In 2006, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter signed the Mayor’s Agreement on Climate Change. Since then, the city has taken steps to improve efficiency and sustainability, including a compost and revamped recycling program.

 

Andrew Bonamici / Flickr

Idaho Rivers United, a member of the consortium of organizations threatening to sue the state over steelhead season, is backing away from the possible litigation.

Our region is known for its abundant public land and the backcountry enthusiasts that prize it. But a lot of that land is out of reach to the public.

According to a new report, 9.5 million acres of public land in the West is inaccessible because it is surrounded by private land. The largest swaths of landlocked public acres are in Wyoming, Montana, and Nevada.

Bannock County Sheriff's Office via AP

Cyanide bombs largely targeting nuisance predators like coyotes can stay on public lands – for now.

You may have missed it, but on Black Friday the federal government released a second climate-related report. The United States Geologic Survey (USGS) found nearly one-quarter of carbon dioxide emissions come from fossil fuels extracted on public lands - that's the average from 2005 to 2014. Not to mention over 7 percent of methane and 1.5 percent of nitrous oxide, on average during that same time period.

A pair of conservation groups recently purchased land in northwest Montana hoping to help secure a corridor for grizzly bears to travel between two isolated ecosystems: the Cabinet-Yaak in Montana and Selkirk on the border of Idaho and Washington. This comes after a couple of recent sightings of grizzly bears moving on the periphery of both areas.

Allison Corona / Boise State University

Many people say hiking in places like Boise’s Camel’s Back trails make them feel less stressed. Now there’s some proof to that theory.

Dan Dzurisin / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s not the first time the public has had a chance to share their opinions on sage grouse conservation, and it probably won’t be the last.

 

If you own mineral rights to a piece of private property and an important dinosaur fossil is discovered there, do you own the fossil? A federal district court just ruled you do. 

The return of wolves and cougars to Yellowstone National Park is helping stream systems make a comeback. The new study published in the journal Ecohydrology suggests returning carnivores to a landscape can have a cascading effect across the ecosystem.

midas gold

Boise State Public Radio's Wanna Know Idaho looks at the Midas Gold's Stibnite Mining Project and answers the question, "What impacts will this mining operation have on our greater community here?" We speak with the podcast's producer, Frankie Barnhill, about what she learned about the project.

Midas Gold

Wanna Know Idaho traveled to Idaho's West Central Mountains to answer this question from McCall resident Fred Coriell: "What impacts will an open-pit mining operation, like the one proposed by Midas Gold, have on our region?" Cascade-based reporter Monica Gokey has the story for this episode of the podcast


Roger Phillips / Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Steelhead fishing normally runs through the winter and into spring, but this year the season will end early, on December 7, and remain closed until further notice.

MPCA Photos / Flickr

A team of scientists from University of Idaho has made it to the finals in a competition to fight algae blooms in public waters.

idahotrailsassociation.org

Thousands of miles of Idaho hiking trails are in a state of disrepair. We speak with the Idaho Trails Association about restoring the accessibility of some of the trails.

Paul B / Flickr

A recent overhaul of some city plumbing in Ketchum is saving the Wood River Valley community a staggering amount of water.

The words “record-breaking” and “unprecedented” are commonly used to describe the scale of the modern-day west’s wildfires. But a new study suggests those terms leave out some important historical context.

In September, Ear Spring Geyser in Yellowstone National Park erupted. At 20 feet, it was the largest eruption in over 60 years. But it wasn't just water that spewed out.

Dan Boyce / Mountain West New Bureau

Oil and gas producing states around the country are closely watching Colorado this election season. Voters are deciding on a ballot measure dramatically increasing the so-called “set-back” distance drilling rigs need to be from homes.

Air quality is a major issue across much of the Mountain West. That’s true in some rural areas - such as Wyoming’s Upper Green River Basin - as well as in cities like Salt Lake City, Missoula and Denver. Now Denver just won a national challenge grant, funded by Bloomberg, to tackle the problem.

As the demand for coal continues to decline in the U.S., two companies with mines in Montana and Wyoming are saving money by cutting worker benefits.

Midas Gold

The Stibnite Mining District is loaded with gold, silver, tungsten and antimony. The region had been heavily mined for decades and just as heavily polluted. Operations stopped in 1997 and 12 years later, Midas Gold acquired the site and began to look at ways to resume mining operations in the area. The mining firm says it is committed to responsible and sustainable mining practices but conservationists are waryIdaho Matters looks at new efforts to harvest minerals at the Stibnite Mining District.

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