Listen Live

Nate Hegyi

Nate is UM School of Journalism reporter. He reads the news on Montana Public Radio three nights a week.

TAYLOR BERGE / SHUTTERSTOCK

Many oil, gas and coal-dependent communities around the Mountain West are concerned about the Biden administration's aggressive stance on climate change. But a recent survey of hundreds of economists around the world suggests that reducing emissions now will save us financially in the long run. 

Montana's newly-elected Republican governor violated state hunting regulations when he trapped and shot a collared wolf near Yellowstone National Park in February, according to documents obtained by the Mountain West News Bureau.


The Mountain West saw a dramatic increase in white supremacist propaganda last year, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League. 

A Democratic firebrand in Congress has a new role overseeing the oil and gas industry.

California Rep. Katie Porter is known for her hard-hitting style. In her first two years in Congress, she grilled bank executives as a member of the powerful House Financial Services Committee. Now, as chair of the Natural Resources Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, she's doing the same to oil executives. 

BLM

A Senate committee vote Thursday brought Deb Haaland one step closer to becoming the nation's next Interior secretary. If she's confirmed she'll face myriad big decisions, including whether to move the Bureau of Land Management headquarters from Colorado back to Washington, D.C.

The Biden administration announced Friday that it's overhauling how it calculates the economic toll of greenhouse gas emissions, a change that could result in agencies placing tighter restrictions on oil, gas and coal producers in the Mountain West.

 


The Senate confirmation hearing for Deb Haaland, nominated to lead the Interior Department, began Tuesday. If confirmed, she'll be the nation's first Indigenous cabinet secretary and oversee federal public lands management and tribal affairs.

The Biden administration is considering an increase in royalty rates on oil, gas and coal development on public lands for the first time in more than a century.

 


This is the fourth story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Moses Lake is a hard-scrabble, working-class community out in the dry, flat scablands of eastern Washington. Ywhna Bin Wahid is taking me on a tour downtown.

This is the first story in the Mountain West News Bureau series "Elevated Risk," a project powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Last summer, parks and streets across the country filled with the sound of violins. They were played by people protesting the death of 23-year-old violinist Elijah McClain. The young black man was walking home from a convenience store in Aurora, Colo. when he was stopped by the police after someone called saying he looked "sketchy."


Last summer, I met up with Ben Barto outside the small town of Dubois, Wyo. He's a huge Trump supporter and we were having a conversation about where he thought America was headed. 

"Revolution," he said. "I think it's headed there."

Lauren Boebert for Congress

Updated 1:50 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10

A newly elected congresswoman from Colorado says she’ll carry a handgun on Capitol Hill.

"Even though I now live in one of the most liberal cities in America, I refuse to give up my rights – especially my Second Amendment rights," said Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., in a slickly produced video posted to Twitter Sunday.

Despite a drop in confirmed COVID-19 cases across the Mountain West last week, public health officials are warning folks not to breathe a sigh of relief.

"Here [in Utah] a lot of the facilities that were doing testing were closed completely on Thanksgiving," said Utah Department of Health spokesperson Charla Haley. "I think that had a big impact on the smaller numbers of people testing positive as well as people just being tested in general."

A newly peer-reviewed online tool allows people to assess the risk of going out to a restaurant, a bar or a dinner party during the pandemic. And the numbers across our region don’t look good.

While President Donald Trump's accusations of widespread voter fraud are based on no evidence, they are gaining some traction in the region. 

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., is asking his supporters via text to help fund the president's legal fight, saying, "Dems are stealing the election." 

For months it appeared that the Mountain West had COVID-19 somewhat under control. But now the positivity rate is skyrocketing in Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Utah.

"I feel despair," says Christine Porter, an associate professor of public health at the University of Wyoming.

Nate Hegyi, rural reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, is embarking on a 900-mile cycling trip crisscrossing the continental divide in August and September, interviewing and listening to Americans ahead of the 2020 election. You can follow along on social media, an online blog and this "Where Is He Now?" map.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

The U.S. Census Bureau has announced it's ending the 2020 count a month early, a move that's likely to have a big impact on Indigenous communities in the West.

 


This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

For Dr. Lori Drumm, the trouble began after she cancelled a rodeo in rural Deer Lodge, Mont.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

A physician based in Missoula, Mont., has a message for libertarian-minded skeptics of the pandemic – cowboy up and mask up.

 


Justin and his buddies look like they're from a special ops team: They're wearing military-style vests and carrying rifles and pistols. But they aren't military, and they aren't police.

"I see myself as a concerned citizen who happens to be armed," he says.

They won't give their last names, citing safety and job security. But on a recent evening they are standing watch over about 200 protesters at a rally about the death of George Floyd in Missoula, Mont.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

If you want a hearty breakfast in the small town of Thompson Falls, Montana, Minnie's Montana Cafe has you covered.

 



This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

It's Cinco de Mayo in Sandpoint, Idaho, and a downtown pub is giving away free meals to families in need. Not many people are out. A few are wearing masks. Outside the pub, a teenager is playing the Beatles' song "Yesterday" on his violin.


This story is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

It's a sunny, spring afternoon and Holly Spriggs and her teenage son, Sawyer Michaud, are digging around in her giant garden outside of Lander, Wyo.

"We're working on planting some potatoes and onions before we get some moisture here," she says. 

Spriggs is having a great time, but Sawyer would rather be snowmobiling.


This story is powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

On a recent rainy day in Rockville, Utah, cars roared down the highway as Dutch cyclists Marica van der Meer and Bas Baan huddled together underneath the awning of a post office, trying to fix a flat tire.

Some of the nation's top polluters are now running on the honor system after the Environmental Protection Agency last week announced relaxed enforcement of environmental regulations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four women from the nation's second largest Indian reservation have turned to the federal court system after they were banished by tribal leadership last year.

"It changed our lives," Ute tribal member Angelita Chegup said. "One moment, I had a job, the next moment I didn't."

Banishment is a severe and rare form of punishment in Indian Country. It has its roots in pre-Colonial America, when tribes would banish murderers, thieves or mutineers from their community and into the wild.

This story was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

A privately funded, nonprofit organization is creating a 3.2 million-acre wildlife sanctuary — American Prairie Reserve — in northeastern Montana, an area long known as cattle country.

Ryan Zinke has stepped down as interior secretary, resigning as planned amid a series of ethics investigations. In a tweet he said it's been a "high honor" to serve, adding that the agency has restored public lands, improved public access and "shall never be held hostage again for our energy needs."

So far the president has not nominated anyone as a permanent replacement. The acting secretary is Zinke's deputy David Bernhardt, a lawyer and former lobbyist for the oil industry with longtime experience at the agency.

The Federal Duck Stamp Program is for the birds, at least when it comes to birdwatchers.

Pages