Eric Whitney

Eric Whitney is the news director for Montana Public Radio.

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Earlier this week we heard from the major party candidates in the race for Montana’s U.S. House seat on the topic of Wilderness Study Areas. Both Democratic challenger Kathleen Williams and Republican incumbent Greg Gianforte held roundtable discussions about them on Wednesday.

Today, we’re getting the perspective of Libertarian candidate Elinor Swanson, a Billings attorney.

Governor Steve Bullock made an appearance at the Iowa State Fair Thursday. He gave a speech at the Des Moines Register’s “Political Soapbox” event. It’s an event politicians go to when they’re at least thinking about running for president.

Here’s how Bullock responded when someone asked him if that’s what he’s doing.

The Democratic and Republican candidates for Montana’s U.S. House seat both held roundtable discussions about Wilderness Study Areas Wednesday.

Kathleen Williams, the Democratic challenger, hosted hers at the University of Montana, and her campaign's Facebook page shared a link to a Facebook Live stream. 

Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte and his Democratic opponent Kathleen Williams are both hosting what they’re calling “roundtable discussions” about wilderness study areas Wednesday.

"We’re doing it because there really hasn’t been a public dialog," Williams says. "Because my opponent hasn’t done it, we’re going to do it."

Preparations are underway for the sold out Pearl Jam concert at Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula Monday night. This the third time the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band has played Missoula. (CORRECTION: A fan let us know that this will be the 7th Pearl Jam show in Missoula, we regret the error). 

"It’s sort of my big ask of the band. I said, ‘every six years I’m going to ask you guys to play Montana, as long as Jon’s running for Senate.’ So, here we are."

The state health department is figuring out how to restore funding to health care providers who take Medicaid, but it may be too late for people in Libby and Eureka who need help with mental health.

"I don’t think we’ll be able to keep those offices open," Megan Bailey, a therapist with Sunburst Mental Health told a legislative committee Monday.

Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality is preparing to haul 20,000 semi-truck loads of contaminated soil from the banks of the Clark Fork River in and around Deer Lodge.

"This has been a very difficult year," says Sheila Hogan, director of Montana's state health department.

She was talking to hundreds of people online and in a hotel ballroom in Helena who were not shy about telling her just how tough their year has been. They were people impacted by a nearly three percent cut in payments to people and organizations that help Montanans on Medicaid.

This year is the 30th anniversary of the fires that burned nearly half of Yellowstone National Park in 1988.

They freaked a lot of people out. Media coverage at the time characterized the fires as causing unprecedented devastation and the destruction of park forests and wildlife habitat. 

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of an environmental group challenging a timber and forest thinning project in the Kootenai National Forest.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that that Forest Service, “acted arbitrarily and capriciously,” by failing to determine whether the East Reservoir Project will result in new roads that will exceed a cap on them meant to preserve grizzly bear habitat.

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