News in Brief
Conservation groups laud mining pause near Yellowstone
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced a two-year pause on mining on public land neighboring Yellowstone National Park at a Nov. 21 meeting held at Chico Hot Springs Resort in Pray, Montana, and attended by more than 100 community members.
The Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition, of which they are more than 250 members, celebrated the announcement, which will prevent any new mining claims from being staked or mining activity being approved in some 30,000 acres of public land in Emigrant Gulch and Crevice Mountain for two years while a longer-term ban is considered.
“There are good places to mine for gold, but the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park is not one of them,” Jewell said in a Department of the Interior press release.
The action by the department does not apply to mining claims on private land. Two proposed mines in the area—one near Chico Hot Springs, and another in Jardine, Montana, near Yellowstone’s northern border—will not be directly impacted by the action since they are located on private land.
However, any attempts to expand those mines onto public land would be limited by the mineral withdrawal proposal. If a more long-term mineral withdrawal is approved after further study on environmental impacts, new mining could be blocked for up to 20 years.
“The bottom line is that the border to Yellowstone National Park is no place for exploratory mining, and the Yellowstone Gateway Business Coalition has taken their message all the way to our decision makers in D.C.,” said Marne Hayes, consulting director of Business for Montana’s Outdoors in statement by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition.
MSU Extension offers new MontGuide on climate science in Montana
MSU NEWS SERVICE
BOZEMAN – Montana State University Extension has published a new MontGuide factsheet, which details weather and climate in Montana.
The newly released MontGuide explains the difference between weather and climate. The color, four-page guide includes definitions of weather and climate, compares weather forecasting versus climate projections, defines the greenhouse effect and details climate change through time.
“We are excited to offer this new guide that gives Montanans the background to understand an important topic that affects us all,” said Brad Bauer, MSU Extension natural resources agent in Gallatin County and co-author of the MontGuide, “Climate Science 101.”
“There are several misconceptions related to climate and climate change,” said Fabian Menalled, MSU cropland weed Extension specialist and co-author of the guide. “We wrote this MontGuide to provide Montana citizens with easy-to-access, science-based information on a relevant topic. We hope the information presented will help everyone in Montana understand the causes and implications of climate change.”
A copy of “Climate Science 101” can be obtained at no charge from local county Extension agents or it can be printed for free from the web at http://store.msuextension.org/Products/Climate-Science-101-for-Montana__MT201614AG.aspx.
Tester introduces legislation to increase government transparency
Calls on Trump to deliver on promise to ‘drain the swamp’
OFFICE OF JON TESTER
Sen. Jon Tester in late November called on President-elect Donald J. Trump to stand by his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., of former officials lobbying the government after leaving service. He also introduced legislation to increase transparency of public records and hold the federal government accountable.
Tester’s Public Online Information Act will make all public records from the executive branch permanently available on the Internet in a searchable database at no cost to constituents.
“It’s time we shine some light on government and hold federal agencies accountable to the public,” said Tester, whose bill aligns with the Freedom of Information Act in exempting matters of national security, personnel records, and pending law enforcement investigations from the database.
Following news that Trump is filling his administration with former lobbyists, Tester said he was deeply troubled that the president-elect would make this decision after promising to “drain the swamp.”
Tester is sponsoring the Close the Revolving Door Act, which would prevent former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists. He also holds himself to a high ethical standard, posting his daily schedule online.
“I look forward to working with President-elect Trump to create good-paying jobs, strengthen our economy, and make responsible investments in infrastructure, education and health care,” said Tester. “But when he doesn’t uphold our Montana values, I will hold him accountable.”
Malfunctioning propane tank causes fire, one minor injury at Montana Dinner Yurt
The Big Sky Fire Department and Yellowstone Club Fire Department responded to a Nov. 30 fire at the Montana Dinner Yurt, a seasonal dining yurt on Andesite Mountain accessed by snowmobiles and snowcats during the winter.
The valve of a propane tank in a nearby tent was stuck open. When the propane gas met with heat from a burner that was on, it started a fire that burned the tent down.
Big Sky Fire Department Chief William Farhat said five people were present at the time of the fire—the owners of the yurt were preparing to open it for the season—and one person sustained minor injuries. The tent burned down, but the yurt sustained only minor damage.
“The fire burned itself out,” Farhat said. “There wasn’t too much to it.”
Big Sky Ski Patrol and Mountain Operations assisted the fire departments by helping them access the fire on snowmobiles and snowcats.
Farhat said the owners of the malfunctioning propane tank would be contacted and an investigation is underway.
Chelsi Moy, Big Sky Resort’s Public Relations manager, said the Montana Dinner Yurt will continue operations as planned this season.
Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office close to nabbing suspect in Casey’s Corner robbery
Capt. Jason Jarrett said the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office is close to issuing a warrant for the felony arrest of a male suspect in a robbery at Casey’s Corner gas station in Four Corners near Bozeman.
On Saturday, Nov. 26, a male suspect entered Casey’s Corner, walked through the store and into the bathroom where he remained until the store was empty of patrons.
The suspect then donned a ski mask, as seen in video footage captured during the crime, and detained the store clerk in a back room by threat of force with two 12-inch kitchen knives.
The suspect was in the store for more than 15 minutes until the robbery was complete. The Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office would not provide details about the robbery while still under investigation.
The suspect exited the back of the store when a patron entered. It is believed the suspect ran past the Carriage House Car Wash and possibly Summit Motorsports to an unknown location or vehicle.
The Sheriff’s Office released photographs of the suspect wearing the stocking cap and another that partially revealed his face.
Jarrett said the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received a tip based off the photographs and announcement released on Gallatin Valley Media Center on Dec. 6 and that he expected the suspect to be in custody shortly, but could not provide any more information at this time.