Latest Billings News

FILE - In this April 24, 2015, file photo, pumpjacks work in a field near Lovington, N.M. In the closing months of the Trump administration, energy companies stockpiled enough drilling permits for western public lands to keep pumping oil for years. That stands to undercut President-elect Joe Biden's plans to block new drilling on public lands to address climate change. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

Biden halts oil and gas leases, permits on US land and water

Jan. 21, 2021 7:51 PM EST

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Biden administration announced Thursday a 60-day suspension of new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits for U.S. lands and waters, as officials moved quickly to reverse Trump administration policies on energy and the environment. The suspension, part of a broad review of...

FILE - This June 29, 2017, file remote camera image provided by the U.S. Forest Service shows a female gray wolf and two of the three pups born in 2017 in the wilds of Lassen National Forest in Northern California. Trump administration officials on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020, stripped Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in most of the U.S., ending longstanding federal safeguards and putting states in charge of overseeing the predators.  (U.S. Forest Service via AP, File)

Groups ask court to restore protections for US gray wolves

Jan. 14, 2021 5:54 PM EST

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife advocates on Thursday asked a federal court to overturn a U.S. government decision that stripped Endangered Species Act protections for wolves across most of the nation. Two coalitions of advocacy groups filed lawsuits in U.S. District Court in Northern California seeking to...

FILE - In this April 20, 2013 file photo, male greater sage grouse perform mating rituals for a female grouse, not pictured, on a lake outside Walden, Colo. The Trump administration has completed a review of plans to ease protections for a struggling bird species in seven western states, but there's little time to put the relaxed rules for industry into action before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. The ground-dwelling, chicken-sized greater sage grouse has been at the center of a long-running dispute over how much of the region's expansive public lands should be developed. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Sage grouse review done, but scant time for Trump's changes

Jan. 12, 2021 7:01 PM EST

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration has completed a review of plans to ease protections for a struggling bird species in seven states in the U.S. West, but there's little time to put the relaxed rules for industry into action before President-elect Joe Biden takes office. The ground-dwelling,...

FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2020, file photo, the San Francisco skyline in the distance behind Crissy Field is barely visible due to smoke from wildfires burning across California. Researchers say smoke from wildfires accounted for up to half of all small particle air pollution in parts of the western U.S. in recent years (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Study: Wildfires produced up to half of pollution in US West

Jan. 11, 2021 7:53 PM EST

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Wildfire smoke accounted for up to half of all health-damaging small particle air pollution in the western U.S. in recent years as warming temperatures fueled more destructive blazes, according to a study released Monday. Even as pollution emissions declined from other sources...

FILE - In this April 9, 2014, file photo, oil rigs stand in the Loco Hills field on U.S. Highway 82 in Eddy County near Artesia, N.M., one of the most active regions of the Permian Basin. In the closing months of the Trump administration energy companies stockpiled enough drilling permits for western public lands to keep pumping oil for years. That stands to undercut President-elect Joe Biden's plans to block new drilling on public lands to address climate change. (AP Photo/Jeri Clausing, File)

Oil companies lock in drilling, challenging Biden on climate

Jan. 10, 2021 11:04 AM EST

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — In the closing months of the Trump administration, energy companies stockpiled enough drilling permits for western public lands to keep pumping oil for years and undercut President-elect Joe Biden's plans to curb new drilling because of climate change, according to public records and...

FILE - In this June 26, 2010 file photo, Plaquemines Parish Coastal Zone Director P.J. Hahn rescues a heavily oiled bird from the waters of Barataria Bay, La. The Trump administration wants to end the criminal penalties under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to pressure companies into taking measures to prevent unintentional bird deaths. Critics including top Interior Department officials from Republican and Democratic administrations say the proposed change could devastate threatened and endangered species and accelerate a bird population decline across North America since the 1970s. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Trump administration scales back wild bird protections

Jan. 5, 2021 6:37 PM EST

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration on Tuesday finalized changes that weaken the government's enforcement powers under a century-old law protecting most American wild bird species, brushing aside warnings that billions of birds could die as a result. Federal wildlife officials have acknowledged...

FILE - In this Sept. 27, 2011, file photo is a gopher frog at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. Federal officials are proposing on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, changes to how the endangered species act is used following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on habitat for the frog. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

US wildlife agency gives more deference to economic benefits

Dec. 17, 2020 2:24 PM EST

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The Trump administration finalized a proposal Thursday that will allow the government to deny habitat protections for endangered animals and plants in areas that would see greater economic benefits from being developed. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials said the rule gives...

FILE - This Aug. 1, 2011 file photo, shows whitebark pine that have succumbed to mountain pine beetles through the Gros Ventre area east of Jackson Hole, Wyo. U.S. officials say climate change, beetles and a deadly fungus are imperiling the long-term survival of the high-elevation tree found in the western U.S. (Rick Egan/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP, File)

US: Mountain pine tree that feeds grizzlies is threatened

Dec. 1, 2020 6:43 PM EST

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Climate change, voracious beetles and disease are imperiling the long-term survival of a high-elevation pine tree that’s a key source of food for some grizzly bears and found across the West, U.S. officials said Tuesday. A Fish and Wildlife Service proposal scheduled to be...

Wildlife advocates sue US agency to protect Canada lynx

Dec. 1, 2020 5:58 PM EST

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife advocates sued the federal government Tuesday in a bid to force officials to do more to conserve Canada lynx, a snow-loving cat that has struggled to survive in parts of the U.S. West. Attorneys for Friends of the Wild Swan, Rocky Mountain Wild and other groups filed the...