Aaron Bolton

Aaron is Montana Public Radio's Flathead reporter.

A lengthy legal fight over an oil and gas lease in the Badger-Two Medicine area near Glacier National Park continued Tuesday in federal court. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. heard arguments over the U.S. Interior Secretary’s authority to cancel the lease. 

Former U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell in 2016 canceled the last two remaining oil and gas leases in the disputed area near the Rocky Mountain Front. Moncrief Oil and Solenex LLC took the Interior Department to court arguing that the agency couldn’t suddenly change its mind.

Last week, Glacier National Park announced that it will be changing signs warning that its signature glaciers would disappear by 2020. The park says the signs, put in more than a decade ago, were based on the best available predictions at the time.

Montana Public Radio’s Aaron Bolton spoke about what changed with Caitlyn Florentine, a research physical scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center.

Thirteen percent of the white-tailed deer in the town of Libby could be infected with chronic wasting disease (CWD), the highest prevalence rate in the state. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said this fall’s sampling efforts determined prevalence is almost three times the agency’s threshold for more aggressive management actions.

The Republican members of Montana’s congressional delegation are offering unwavering support of President Trump after the assassination of Iran’s Military General Qasem Soleimani. But others are questioning the situation.

The Flathead National Forest announced Friday that it has a new leader. Kurt Steele will replace former Forest Supervisor Chip Weber who retired earlier this month.

Silver Mountain Ski Resort in the Idaho Panhandle announced Tuesday that an avalanche killed one skier and injured five others. The slide follows wet, heavy snowfall over the past couple of days, which is also keeping avalanche danger high in the backcountry.

Anglers will no longer be able to harvest bull trout in Lake Koocanusa due to a declining population of the threatened species.

Glacier County is no longer transferring patients from the U.S. Indian Health Service’s Browning facility to other hospitals. The county is now suing the IHS, saying the federal agency owes over $1.8 million for ambulance rides dating back to 2014. IHS says it can’t verify the county’s claim.

Kalispell Regional Healthcare is facing a second lawsuit over its handling of a data breach last year of up to 130,000 patients' medical and financial information. Court documents allege the hospital was negligent in its cyber security practices and put patients at risk by not immediately alerting them about the breach. 

Three engines and several train cars derailed Wednesday evening along the Kootenai River near Bonners Ferry, in the Idaho panhandle near the Montana border. One of the locomotives is leaking an undisclosed amount of diesel into the river, which is a tributary of the Columbia River.

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