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, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Mountain West. 

Contributing stations include Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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 U.S. Forest Service is rethinking how it employs firefighters.

A close-up image of a sage grouse, a wide, chicken-like bird.
Bureau of Land Management

A federal judge in Idaho has ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to limit public input when leasing the West’s public lands to oil and gas drillers. The decision voids five oil and gas leases in three states.

It’s a Monday night in Salt Lake City and thousands of people are gathering to hear Democratic presidential nominee Pete Buttigieg, former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, speak at a convention hall downtown. Parker and Chloe Woods have just driven an hour and a half from the university town of Logan, Utah, to be here. 

As outreach efforts ramp up ahead of the next U.S. census, many people are confused about what the census means or how they can participate, according to a new report.

 


Rural hospital closures are becoming more common, and that’s leading to longer response times for ambulances to reach the scene of an emergency, according to a recent study.

An image of oil drills on public lands.
Bureau of Land Management

On the 100th anniversary of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, the nonpartisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense published a report Tuesday calling for an increase in the royalty rate on publicly owned oil and gas.

It looks like President Trump’s partial trade deal with China won’t bring in the promised $40 billion or so worth of agricultural trade for the U.S. this year. 

The Bureau of Land Management is now taking public comments on newly-published information about its sage grouse management plans. The agency posted these draft supplemental environmental impact statements to the Federal Register on Friday, Feb. 21.

An image of a person working in waterways in Idaho.
U.S. Geological Survey

Earlier this month, the Trump administration released its budget proposal for next year. It included significant cuts to the U.S. Geological Survey, but that agency’s director told the Mountain West News Bureau that’s not going to happen.

Ten years ago, when Colorado College first conducted the Conservation in the West Poll, 48 percent of respondents said yes, climate change is a problem requiring action. This year, that number is up to 59 percent.

An image of a man wiping down a large array of solar panels.
U.S. Department of Energy

Solar jobs are up across the U.S., after two consecutive years of declines. But that growth is mixed in our region.

According to the latest report from the nonprofit solar energy advocate, The Solar Foundation, more than 5,600 solar jobs were added last year.

An image of two Latino students sitting on couches chatting with each other.
Noah Glick / KUNR Public Radio

As Nevadans get ready to caucus this weekend, the nation should be paying attention. That’s because unlike Iowa and New Hampshire, where the first caucus and primary were held, respectively, Nevada’s population more closely mirrors the U.S. According to the U.S. Census, almost one-third of the state is Hispanic or Latino.

An image of a sign that reads "Vote Here, Vote Aqui"
Bree Zender / KUNR Public Radio

Update 9:45 a.m. PST: According to the state Democratic Party, more than 70,000 Nevadans took part in the early caucus voting period from Saturday through Tuesday.

The first wave of Democratic voters are casting their ballots in Nevada’s early caucuses, and the process looks different than in years past.

Aiming to boost turnout, Nevada Democrats instituted a four-day early voting period for the first time this year. It appears to be working. According to the state Democratic Party, more than 36,000 Nevadans took part in early caucus voting over the long weekend, and more than half of Saturday’s 18,000 voters were first-time participants.

A new degree program in Colorado aims to train business leaders for the fast-growing outdoor recreation industry in the Mountain West.

Listen to this story here.

After congressional Democrats voted this week to give one of their own the power to subpoena the Trump administration, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt dismissed the move as a “witch hunt.”

Recognizing the youth mental health crisis in the Mountain West, some states are debating bills that address the problem from both inside and outside of schools.

A side-by-side image shows glacial differences between 1938 and 2019 at Glacier National Park in Montana.
USGS

President Donald Trump unveiled his budget proposal Monday, and a significant cut to the Department of Interior is on the table.

The Trump administration wants to cut funding for all but one agency within the Interior, for a 16% overall reduction.

An image showing a view of a lithium mine operation from space.
NASA

The nation’s largest known lithium deposit is here in the Mountain West. As demand for electric vehicles grows — and with it demand for lithium, used to make EV batteries — one company hopes to harvest the mineral from that deposit in Northern Nevada.

Updated 2:24 p.m. MST 2/6/2020

In the face of ongoing litigation from tribes and conservation groups, the Trump administration has finalized plans to expand drilling, mining and grazing across southern Utah — including within the former bounds of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. 

President Donald Trump somewhat misrepresented his administration’s role in the expansion of domestic oil and gas production during his State of the Union address Tuesday. 

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