Mountain West News Bureau

The Mountain West News Bureau covers five states with six partner stations.

KUNC is among the founding partners of the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration of public media stations that serve the Rocky Mountain States of Colorado Idaho, Utah and Wyoming.  Our mission is to tell stories about the people, places and issues of the Rocky Mountain West.

From land and water management to growth in the expanding West to our unique culture and heritage, we’ll explore the issues that define us and the challenges we face.

Other contributing stations are: Boise State Public Radio, Wyoming Public Media, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada and KRCC in Colorado Springs.

The editor for the Mountain West News Bureau is Kate Concannon. Rae Ellen Bichell is the reporter based at KUNC.

Too many decisions about the West get made in Washington, D.C. At least, that's what the Secretary of the Interior thinks. Ryan Zinke plans to move thousands of the department’s employees out west to manage water, public lands and energy from there. How might this seemingly dull, bureaucratic plan affect the West in interesting ways? Here's how people with a vested interest responded–starting in Wyoming.  


Christopher Cleary

States like Colorado and Wyoming require that new oil and gas wells be built at least 500 feet away from existing homes. But new research shows that might not be far enough away to protect people’s health.

James Gathany / CDC

The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report this week saying that the Department of Agriculture has "sidelined science" and "betrayed farmers.” The group is particularly concerned about antibiotics.

Teen birth rates have been going down for a while now but in one mountain west state -- Colorado --  they’ve gone down more than the rest of the nation. Could it be related to the national trend of kids having less sex or an attempt to make IUDs more accessible?

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.

Courtesy of National Pork Board and Pork Checkoff

The Chinese government has retaliated in what appears to be an escalating trade war. The government says it will slap tariffs on a long list of American goods including pork and fruit, a move that could put producers across the region in a bind.

China buys a lot of American pork. And while Iowa may be this country’s pig-producing colossus, tariffs would hit producers everywhere, including states in the Mountain West like Utah and Colorado.  

Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Details are unfolding about how British data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica influenced national elections. Meanwhile, a newly surfaced document suggests the group also had a hand in our region -- and in one especially tight Senate race in Colorado.

This weekend, hundreds of thousands of teens are expected to march on Washington D.C. and around the country, calling for gun control. The Mountain West News Bureau spoke with two students in Montana and Wyoming who do not plan to march, and are worried gun control reform could change their way of life.

This Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people are expected at rallies for gun control across the country. And no one is speaking louder than those who inspired the rallies and who feel they have the most at stake: teens.

Jeremy Lock / U.S. Air Force

For years, Western lawmakers have been trying to change the way we fight wildfires, or at least the way the government funds such work. Now, they may finally get that wish. Congress just passed a measure that would do just that, creating an emergency fund of $20 billion for the Forest Service to fight wildfires over the next decade. It's part of a sweeping new spending deal that the President signed on Friday.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock has been pushing for years to make this change.

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