The Mountain West News Bureau

Left to right: Kate Concannon, Maggie Mullen, Madelyn Beck, Robyn Vincent, Matthew Frank, Savannah Maher, Stephanie Serrano-Escoto, Nate Hegyi, Amanda Peacher.

The Mountain West News Bureau is a collaboration of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain states of Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Our mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Rocky Mountain West.

From land and water management to growth in the expanding West to our unique culture and heritage, we'll explore the issues that define us and the challenges we face.

The Mountain West News Bureau is a collaboration between 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.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland met with tribal leaders as well as Utah state leaders Wednesday in San Juan County to talk about Bears Ears National Monument. They toured the monument together Thursday morning.

New research published in the journal Nature Climate Change finds that snow is melting earlier – often in the winter. That’s a bad sign for the Mountain West. 


Savannah Maher

 

Last month, Deb Haaland made history as the first Indigenous person ever confirmed by the Senate to serve in a president's cabinet. In her first official trip as secretary of the Interior, she visited the Mountain West with a focus on tribal issues.

Amid a national rise in COVID-19 cases, Colorado is the latest Mountain West state to ease its mask mandate.

Democratic Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement issued April 2 that the loosening of a mask order is “a step toward the light at the end of the tunnel.” It eases restrictions for Colorado counties with low transmission rates. The change comes as the state opens up vaccinations to all people over 16.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has created a new unit to confront the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people, reflecting the first Native American Cabinet secretary's prioritization of the issue in leading an agency that once sought to "civilize or exterminate" Native people.

Heat waves induced by climate change will threaten future agricultural crops at a faster rate than gradual global warming, according to a new study published in the Journal of the European Economic Association. Steve Miller, a UC Boulder assistant professor of environmental studies, was a lead researcher in the study.

SizeSquares / Shutterstock

This week, federal officials issued dire warnings of a potential fourth wave of coronavirus cases and deaths if Americans let their guards down. President Joe Biden urged governors to maintain or reinstate mask mandates to ward off a surge.

Spring bird migration is underway and will continue in the Mountain West for the next few months. 


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. 

Amid a sharp rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, some Asian Americans living in the Mountain West say they are not surprised by the recent mass shootings at Atlanta-area spas that left eight people dead, including six women of Asian descent.

Authorities have not ruled the incident as a hate crime yet, but many observers feel otherwise.

The suspect, a white man, blamed his “sex addiction.”

Denver Indian Health and Family Services

This is the second in a two-part series about the vaccine rollout in Indian Country. Part one looks at the success of the rollout on rural reservations.

 

The Indian Health Service has delivered coronavirus vaccine doses to the most far-flung corners of the country. From remote villages in Alaska to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, Indigenous Americans as young as 16 have had access to the shot for weeks.

Amanda Fehring

 

This is the first in a two-part series about the vaccine rollout in Indian Country. Part two looks at the challenges of vaccinating our region's urban Native population. 

 

A new study shows that listening to nature could have significant health benefits.  


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 new campaign is putting pressure on Facebook to combat Spanish-language misinformation.

The wind and solar industries made historic gains last year. Both reached new highs in energy production and capacity in 2020.


A salmonella outbreak is killing songbirds around the West, and it continues to spread.


Aaron Yazzie was born on the Navajo Nation and grew up in Holbrook, Arizona, a town that borders the reservation.

As a kid, Yazzie said he never thought he would one day work for NASA.

“There just weren’t a lot of people that I knew in my community or my family that had gone down a path to get a job like this,” he said. “But I knew I was good at building things and being creative. I think those things pushed me in a path toward engineering.”

A Western lawmaker faces growing scrutiny over her potential role in the Capitol insurrection.

Last month, almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook cracked down on vaccine misinformation.

Yet another study is showing an alarming decline in butterflies across the warming American West.

KrisNM / Flickr creative commons

 

Some Indigenous histories are preserved in stories, songs, ceremonies and elder testimony that are passed down orally - rather than with written records. These histories can constitute important evidence of past events. But they're sometimes ruled inadmissible as evidence in the American justice system.

A new report could help you analyze wildfire risks to homes in your state, county or community.

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. 

UNM Newsroom

 

Most students enrolled half-time or more in college typically aren't eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), sometimes known as food stamps. But temporary changes to the federal program are allowing some low-income students to take advantage during the pandemic.

Savannah Maher

President Joe Biden is expected to sign the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill into law on Friday. It includes the largest ever one-time federal investment in Indian Country, with $20 billion in direct aid to tribal governments, and another $11 billion set aside for federal Indian programs. 

The aid comes as many tribal nations in the Mountain West are struggling to stay afloat.

Adobe Stock

 Deb Haaland's road to lead the Department of the Interior has been rocky, with some members of Congress using her confirmation process to air grievances with President Joe Biden's climate change agenda. 

On Tuesday, Montana Sen. Steve Daines and Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis, both Republicans, placed a procedural hold on her nomination, citing concerns about her positions on oil and gas development.

 

There’s high drama in the oil world right now. Last year, we saw prices go negative as a glut took over the world. Annual production fell by record amounts. Last week, though, prices shot up after oil-producing countries decided they would keep production low.


Polls show Americans are increasingly interested in getting vaccinated against covid-19, but such surveys are largely national, leaving a big question: When the vaccines become available to the general public, will enough people get it in your county, city or neighborhood to keep your community safe?

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