The Mountain West News Bureau

The Mountain West News Bureau team, from left to right: Amanda Peacher, Judy Fahys, Ali Budner, Rae Ellen Bichell, Maggie Mullen, Nate Hegyi and Kate Concannon.

In addition to a full news department serving just Wyoming, Wyoming Public Media is a founding partner in the Mountain West News Bureau, a partnership of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain States of Wyoming, Colorado Idaho, Montana, and Utah. Our mission is to tell stories about the people, places, and issues of the Rocky Mountain West.

Many of these stories and issues are regional and affect all people living in the Mountain West. From land and water management to growth in the expanding West to our unique culture and heritage, the Bureau addresses issues that define us as a region. Part of the Bureau’s charge is to submit stories to NPR and other national and global distributors, thus sharing the Mountain West culture more broadly.

Contributing stations include Boise State Public RadioWyoming Public MediaKUER in Salt Lake City, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

The editor for the Mountain West News Bureau is Kate Concannon, a long-time NPR regional editor. Maggie Mullen is the lead Wyoming reporter for this partnership, with contributions from all Wyoming Public Media reporters. The partnership is overseen by news directors in all participating stations and networks.

The Mountain West News Bureau is supported in part by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Regional Journalism Center program. Matching or contributing donations for the support of this initiative or for general WPM reporting are welcome. For more information, contact Christina Kuzmych, Wyoming Public Media General Manager at ckuzmych@uwyo.edu.

Researchers at Idaho State University said they’ve lost a small amount of weapons-grade plutonium. Federal officials aren’t pleased.

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

NASA Earth Observatory

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.

Two Native Americans were pulled out of a college tour this week when a parent told campus police the young men were making her nervous.

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.

  

Marita Growing Thunder, 19, is sitting in the grass on a warm spring afternoon at the University of Montana campus in Missoula where she studies art. Growing up, she said, her mom was always talking about aunt Yvonne.

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

If you’re looking for a new primary care doctor in states like Idaho or Wyoming, good luck. Our region has some of the worst doctor shortages of all U.S. states.


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.

Democratic U.S. Senator Jon Tester is hoping Montanans will give him a narrow victory this fall.

But President Donald Trump isn’t making it easy.

Charles Preston

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.

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.

Dan Salkeld doesn’t like plunging toilets, filling out tax forms, or clipping his children's toenails. But he loves collecting ticks in Colorado.

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

National parks tourism pumped nearly $36 billion into the U.S. economy last year, and communities just outside the parks benefited the most. That’s where more than 330 million visitors dropped more than $18-billion-dollars and supported 255 thousand jobs.

CREDIT GRIZZLY BEAR ON SWAN LAKE FLATS, YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK; JIM PEACO

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.  

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson's recent proposal to triple rent for the lowest income households is part of what’s being called "Welfare Reform 2.0." This change to federal assistance could have a big impact on our growing region.

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.

University of Wyoming

If your name is John, you’re more likely to run a large company or be a politician than if you’re a woman with any name. That’s according to the latest "Glass Ceiling Index" by the New York Times. So does this under-representation hold true in our region’s so-called "Equality State"?

The U.S. Interior Department wants to repeal an Obama-era rule that reduces the burning of methane gas on federal lands. The public comment period on that plan ended April 23, 2018 and it looks like almost everybody thought it was a bad idea.


  

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.

The nasty strain of E. coli that’s sickening people across the U.S. has turned up in Idaho and Montana, and health officials remain on alert.

Environmental groups want to stop sheep grazing on public lands in the region. The issue is playing out in the courts in Idaho and Montana.  

Members of Congress are pushing to seal the deal on the status of immigrants who came to this country illegally as children.

The decision was supposed to be made by March 5, but that didn’t happen.

A new Bloomberg analysis looks at the widening gap between the rich and the poor in cities across the nation. 


Coastal communities across the country are suing oil companies for contributing to climate change. Now, a lawsuit in the landlocked interior joins the list.

At the heart of the lawsuit is this realization: Climate change is expensive. Just look at worsening wildfires and floods nationally. 

National Park Week is an annual celebration of what many people call America’s best idea, beginning with a fare-free day, April 21.

It’s International Dark Sky Week, a time to look up and enjoy the night sky across the globe.  Our region is home to many dark sky parks and communities. We’re also home to lots of growth and that means growing light pollution.  

CREDIT JOHN MCCOLGAN, BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, ALASKA FIRE SERVICE

When it comes to being prepared for an emergency, much of our region lags behind the rest of the country. That's according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

A new report from the American Thoracic Society shows how tightening federal air-pollution standards would pay off in better health and longer lives.

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