Mountain West News Bureau

KUNR Public Radio is a proud partner in the Mountain West News Bureau, a partnership of public media stations that serve Nevada, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Utah. The mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Mountain West. 

Contributing stations include Boise State Public Radio, Wyoming Public Media, KUER in Salt Lake City, KRCC and KUNC in Colorado, and KUNR Public Radio. 

The editor for the Mountain West News Bureau is Kate Concannon, a long-time NPR regional editor. Noah Glick is the KUNR reporter for this partnership. 

The Mountain West News Bureau is supported in part by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Regional Journalism Center program.

Tim Gouw / Unsplash

U.S. household debt is on the rise again. And states in the Mountain West are seeing some of the highest levels in the country.

A new study shows that global wind speeds have increased in the last decade, and that may allow wind turbines in the Mountain West to generate more clean energy.

Senators from Colorado and Nevada are among those sponsoring a bill aimed at reducing firefighters’ exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. 

Earlier this month the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously approved the bill, which aims to protect firefighters from being exposed to a group of chemicals known as PFAS that are found in firefighting foams and gear.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will be discussing bills to fund programs that help pay for public schools and infrastructure in rural areas this Thursday.


In response to skyrocketing youth suicide rates, one rural Colorado county is now offering kids two free vouchers to see a counselor at a local mental health center. 

Climate Central

As an increasing number of states focus on renewable energy, batteries are becoming more of a necessity. And according to a new report, battery costs are dropping—but not enough to compete with fossil fuels.

The report comes from Climate Central, a nonprofit organization that studies the impacts of climate change. In it, the authors state that batteries and renewable energy sources are becoming cheaper by the year.

A new draft proposal by the Trump administration may throw both current and future clean air and water laws into question.

A government watchdog on Wednesday filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management to find out why it hired a one-time, anti-public lands advocate to run the agency. 

There's been a lot of criticism of the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to move hundreds of positions from Washington D.C. to Western states. But the agency’s acting director is giving a new reason for the move.

William Perry Pendley told the Mountain West News Bureau that it’ll be easier to hire people in the West in part because people want to live here.

An industry trade group says uphill skiing is one of the fastest growing snow sports in the country, especially in the Mountain West.

Wildfire smoke crosses the U.S. on jetstream
NASA

For much of the last decade, air pollution was decreasing. But it’s now on the rise, particularly in the West.

That’s according to a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It found that between 2016 and 2018, the levels of fine particulate matter increased 11.5% in the West. California's been impacted the most.

State of Colorado

As the Trump administration begins the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, three states in the Mountain West pledge to follow the tenets of the accord anyway.

Ed Franklin shows one participant how to take a reading on a solar panel, during the Native Waters on Arid Lands 2019 Tribal Summit in Reno, Nev.
DRI / Native Waters on Arid Lands

The climate crisis is threatening traditional ways of life throughout Indian Country. Now, tribal leaders and scientists are working together to help reservations become more climate resilient.

A mountain goat, the basis for the Backcountry.com logo
Glacier National Park

After filing trademark protections last year, the Utah-based e-commerce giant Backcountry.com has filed several lawsuits against organizations with the word “backcountry” in their names.

The Interior Department’s chief watchdog updated Congress Wednesday on the agency’s efforts to curb a long-term pattern of sexual harassment. 

A new analysis from the Bozeman-based non-profit Headwaters Economics shows that the outdoor recreation industry is growing more than twice as fast as the overall economy, and the industry has an especially outsized role in the Mountain West.

  

It’s Saturday night, and I’m in Asylum 49’s basement. It’s actually an old hospital. Heavy metal is blasting from a loudspeaker. The basement’s pitch black except for a single, flickering strobe light. 

This story was supported by the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

The Promise And Peril Of Environmental Philanthropy | A Privately-Funded Park For The People | Save The Cowboy, Stop The American Prairie Reserve | A Hunter’s Paradise | The Buffalo Is A Symbol of God

The northern Great Plains aren’t much to look at. It’s the drab, boring part of a cross-country interstate drive between Seattle and Chicago. 

No trees in sight. No water. But Sean Gerrity, founder of American Prairie Reserve, has always seen something more out here. 

UNLV Sociology Professor Simon Gottschalk
University of Nevada, Las Vegas

With white supremacist violence on the rise nationwide, a University of Nevada, Las Vegas sociologist is studying how the Internet can turn hateful feelings into deadly actions.

Drew Eggers stood at the edge of one of his stubble fields when he plucked a patch of mint left over from harvest.

“You can smell the spearmint,” he said, offering it up for a sniff.


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