Daily Empire Builder service returns next week

BY: - May 16, 2022

Daily service on the Empire Builder, the only Amtrak line that traverses Montana, will resume May 23, the federally funded passenger rail service announced last week. The rail agency said that the hiring of an additional 1,500 employees and increased demand for travel has enabled the restoration of daily service to four long distance lines […]

Biden administration vows to speed up environmental permits needed for infrastructure projects

BY: - May 11, 2022

President Joe Biden’s administration will seek to hasten construction of roads, bridges, wind farms and more by tweaking the federal review process for environmental and other permits, administration officials said Tuesday. On a press call, administration officials said they were seeking to make permitting easier without sacrificing environmental standards. The new permitting plan includes five […]

Democratic leaders in Congress want more power for regulators over high gasoline prices

BY: - May 2, 2022

WASHINGTON —  Democratic leaders in Congress critical of soaring gasoline prices say they will push legislation to allow the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general to go after oil companies that engage in price gouging in times of crisis. “Big oil has profited in this (and) has exploited the market,” House Speaker Nancy […]

Biden administration will appeal ruling on travel mask mandate — if CDC says it’s needed

BY: - April 20, 2022

The Biden administration will appeal a federal judge’s order striking down a mask mandate for air travel and public transit, subject to a decision by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Justice Department said in a Tuesday night statement. The CDC has yet to conclude that the mandate — which applied in […]

Federal judge in Florida throws out national mask mandate for travelers

BY: - April 18, 2022

A federal judge in Florida voided the nationwide mask mandate for airline and public transportation passengers Monday, saying the requirement was beyond the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s authority. The legal analysis of U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, whom then-President Donald Trump appointed in late 2020, turned on the language in a federal law […]

Yellowstone National Park opens some roads April 15

BY: - April 8, 2022

Beginning April 15, 2022, select roads in Yellowstone National Park will open to the public for the season, weather permitting. On Saturday, April 16, entrance fees will be waived in celebration of National Park Week. Roads open to the public April 15 West Entrance to Old Faithful Mammoth Hot Springs to Old Faithful (via Norris) Norris to Canyon Village North Entrance […]

Biden goal for U.S. transition to electric vehicles cast into doubt at U.S. Senate hearing

BY: - April 7, 2022

A White House climate goal to transition the United States to electric vehicles is in trouble if the nation cannot produce more minerals that go into those vehicles’ batteries, U.S. senators of both parties said Thursday. Members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee agreed during a hearing that more domestic production of lithium, […]


Too much of a good thing: Montanans getting fed up with some tourism

BY: - March 18, 2022

The latest study from University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research finds the press of an increasing number of tourists is starting to wear on resident Montanans. For many, that comes as no surprise and more of a “firm grasp of the obvious.” When 10 times the number of people who live in our […]

States to federal government: Don’t tell us how to spend COVID money

BY: - February 26, 2022

State and local leaders from both parties are at odds with the Biden administration over how billions of dollars in new infrastructure money should be spent. Republican governors are upset over a federal memo seeking to limit dollars for highway expansions. Western states and some progressive cities don’t like the feds’ plan for how to […]

Family of couple killed in Empire Builder crash takes Amtrak to court

BY: - February 25, 2022

The family of a Georgia couple killed in the 2021 Amtrak derailment outside of Joplin is alleging gross negligence and wrongful death in a suit filed against the quasi-public passenger rail corporation this week, the fourteenth lawsuit stemming from the deadly crash of the Empire Builder last September. Donald and Marjorie Varnadoe had set out […]

Agriculture secretary pressed about pandemic relief funds for farmers

BY: - January 20, 2022

WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack faced questions on how his agency is doling out emergency pandemic aid and fostering collaboration with historically Black colleges during a Thursday hearing before the House Agriculture Committee. Committee Chairman David Scott, a Georgia Democrat, asked Vilsack for “critical updates on the implementation of pandemic relief programs, including the […]

Anti-drunk driving tech to be installed in all new vehicles

BY: - December 15, 2021

The infrastructure bill includes a provision that mandates new passenger vehicles be equipped with tech to stop drinking and driving. The end goal, supporters say, is to achieve what decades of varied — and often harsh — drunk-driving laws have failed to do: Eliminate driving while intoxicated completely. “To put this technology in a vehicle […]