Nate Hegyi

Mountain West Bureau at YPR

Nate Hegyi is a reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau based at Yellowstone Public Radio. He earned an M.A. in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism in 2016 and interned at NPR’s Morning Edition in 2014. In a prior life, he toured around the country in a band, lived in Texas for a spell, and once tried unsuccessfully to fly fish.

Ways to Connect

Briana Lamb posts a status update on Facebook at the state capitol in Helena, Montana.
Nate Hegyi / Yellowstone Public Radio

Mark Zuckerberg is on the hot seat this week. He’s testifying in front of Congress about Facebook user profiles being mined without permission.  

The data breach prompted a “Delete Facebook” movement that hasn’t really gained any traction.

That’s especially true in the Native American community, where Facebook is much more than sharing cat videos or keeping in touch with friends and family.  

Extreme fires, flash droughts, and fast-melting snowpacks are all predicted in the state's first ever climate assessment, which is slated for release on September 20th.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management

The omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last month earmarked billions of dollars for fighting wildfires.  Many conservationists and politicians celebrated that change.

But the legislation also rolls rolls back some environmental protections and that has split the conservation community.

Coal
Kym Farnik / Flickr

Over the past decade, the market for Mountain West coal has cooled. Renewables and natural gas in the U.S. are cheaper, stocks are tumbling and some coal companies are even teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

oil well
Montana Public Radio

A federal judge has ruled the federal government can’t ignore climate change when considering new fossil fuel leases in Montana and Wyoming.

18-year-old Joey Chester, a College Republican at Montana State University, is slated to speak at the rally on Saturday.
Gordon Calhoun / courtesy of Joey Chester

Hundreds of thousands of students are calling for stricter gun control measures at “March For Our Lives” rallies across the country on Saturday. But in Mountain West states like Idaho, Utah and Montana, counter-protestors are organizing pro-gun rallies. 

States in the Mountain West sell everything from beef to computer parts to China.
J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Ranchers and farmers in the Mountain West ship a lot of products overseas to China. Now the Trump administration is expected to hit China with $60 billion dollars worth of annual tariffs.

Last year China opened its doors to U.S. beef for the first time in more than a decade.

Montana ranchers jumped at the opportunity. They signed a multi-million dollar deal with a large Chinese company to sell beef.

George Haynes, an economist with Montana State University, wonders what the retaliation is going to be if the Trump administration slaps these tariffs on China.

Study co-author Philip Higuera holding a burn severity map near Lolo, Montana.
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

I’m marching through a stand of blackened, towering pine trees with fire ecologist Philip Higuera. He stops and sniffs the air.

“We can smell the charcoal here,” he says. “You smell that?”

Higuera is a low-key guy with a trimmed beard and sporty sunglasses. But when I ask him whether the massive wildfire that raced across Lolo Peak in Montana last summer was bad, he corrects my choice of words. 

Bison
Yellowstone National Park

This week, Yellowstone National Park officials arrested two animal rights activists who were protesting a controversial, annual slaughter of some of the last free-roaming bison in the world. 

The Trump administration's aluminum tariffs could cost thousands of dollars for breweries in the Mountain West.
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

There are hundreds of microbreweries scattered across the Mountain West. In fact, in parts of our region there are more breweries per capita than most anywhere else in the country.

Many of them sell their beers in aluminum cans. So with the Trump administration’s proposal to slap a steep tariff on imported aluminum, the beer industry is feeling nervous.

Chris Marchion takes a look at the Sapphire Wilderness Study Area in southwestern Montana.
Nate Hegyi / Mountain West News Bureau

Life’s been tough on Chris Marchion. There was the high school football injury and the knee replacement.

“Unfortunately I got a hip that’s wore out,” he says.

We’re standing alongside a gravel road near a cow pasture. Nowadays, this is about as close as Marchion can get to the Sapphire Wilderness Study Area. It’s a clump of rolling, grey mountains in the distance.

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