Friday, October 22, 2021


Some states entice people back to the workplace by increasing safety standards and higher minimum wage; Bannon held in Contempt of Congress; and the latest cyber security concerns.


House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress; Trump announces new social media platform TRUTH Social; and the Biden administration says it will continue to expel migrants under Title 42.


An all-Black Oklahoma town joins big cities in seeking reparations; a Kentucky vaccination skeptic does a 180; telehealth proves invaluable during pandemic; and spooky destinations lure tourists at Halloween.

MT Groups Push for Land & Water Conservation Fund in Lame-Duck Congress


Wednesday, November 28, 2018   

HELENA, Mont. – Groups in Montana and nationwide are urging Congress to reauthorize and fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund as the lame-duck session ticks down.

The fund, which provides access to public lands, expired in September. Montana has received nearly $600 million since the fund was created more than 50 years ago.

Tom Healy, a board member for the Montana chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, said the program opened up 13,000 acres to the public last year in northwestern Montana. A similar project adjacent to Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge is slated for 2020, but Healy said it won't happen without LWCF reauthorization.

"This is hunting grounds that families in the Flathead Valley have been using for a couple generations," he said, "and unless LWCF can fund an opportunity like this, that'll go away, and those lands will be sold into the private sector."

The program has provided funds to open nearly 70 percent of public fishing access sites in Montana and also funds facilities such as playgrounds, swimming pools and urban bike paths. LWCF dollars are from royalties paid by energy companies drilling offshore, meaning it doesn't rely on taxpayer dollars.

Groups such as Trout Unlimited, the Montana Sportsmen Alliance and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership also are pushing for reauthorization.

Rick Potts, interim executive director of Montana Conservation Voters, said the program has bipartisan support and that its fate is, in part, in the hands of U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., who sits on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Daines has issued a letter supporting it, but Potts said congressional efforts are stalled at the moment.

"It's discouraging, actually, to watch it languish and die, and expire in Congress when really, there was no need for that to happen," Potts said. "There's no need for the LWCF to be used as a political football."

Still, Potts said he is optimistic the program will gain approval. Along with supporting the state's booming recreation industry, which generates more than $7 billion in consumer spending a year, Potts said the LWCF has been integral to Montanans' way of life.

"Every county has benefited to one degree or another from LWCF dollars," he said. "We absolutely would not be able to enjoy the breadth and depth of amenities and quality of life that we enjoy as Montanans were it not for LWCF."

get more stories like this via email

California has collected more than 600 tons of unwanted prescription drugs since the Take-Back Day program began in 2010. (Dodgerton Skillhause/Morguefile)

Health and Wellness

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, when the Drug Enforcement Administration encourages everyone to clean out …

Health and Wellness

BALTIMORE - This month marks the four-year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, and an art project aims to help incarcerated survivors heal by telling …

Social Issues

OGDEN, Utah - Utah is one of only a handful of states that taxes food, but one state legislator says taxing groceries should become a thing of the …

In a new poll, 71% of all registered voters support strengthening rules to reduce oil and gas methane pollution, including 73% of Independents and 50% of Republicans. (Adobe Stock)


CASPER, Wyo. - A strong majority of voters across party lines say they want national rules similar to those passed in Wyoming to reduce methane …

Health and Wellness

ARLINGTON, Va. - Although COVID-19 rates have gone down, the virus continues to hit the Hispanic community especially hard. Now, a new campaign aims …

Child-care advocates say if North Dakota doesn't boost funding for the system, more families might pull out of the workforce because of access issues. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

BISMARCK, N.D. - A portion of American Rescue Plan funding sent to North Dakota has yet to be divvied up. Groups that want to improve the child-care …

Social Issues

PITTSBURGH - As businesses across the country deal with a massive labor shortage, Pennsylvania aims to entice people back to the workplace by …


ALBANY, N.Y. - Environmental groups want Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill that mandates monitoring the state's drinking water for "emerging …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021