STATE & LOCAL NEWS

Tester, Daines Designate first week in April
National Asbestos Awareness Week

PRESS RELEASE

(U.S. Senate)

 

As part of their efforts to combat the dangers of asbestos exposure, U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines are teaming up to push a
Senate resolution designating the first week of April 2021 as National Asbestos Awareness Week.

The bipartisan resolution aims to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos, and urges the U.S. Surgeon General to teach Americans about the risks of asbestos exposure.

“Montanans know all too well the dangers of asbestos, but tragically, exposure to this dangerous
substance is still far too common,” Tester said. “As cleanup continues in Lincoln County, this resolution will help ensure more folks know about the risks of asbestos exposure, and arm them with the information they need to protect themselves from it.”

“Too many Montanans have tragically suffered at the hands of asbestos,” Daines said. “We must continue to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos, and prevent what happened in Libby and Troy from
occurring again. We need to work together to protect the health of Montanans across the state and shed a light on the serious medical implications of asbestos exposure.”

Since W.R. Grace closed its Libby vermiculite mine in 1990, more than 200 residents have died and thousands more are suffering from asbestos-related diseases. Clean up efforts began in 2002 when Libby, Troy, and surrounding communities were placed on the EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List.

It can take anywhere from 10 to 50 years to develop symptoms of asbestos-related diseases, which continue to kill thousands of Americans each year.

“For the sixteenth year in a row, the Senate has taken an important stand for public health. We are immensely grateful to Senator Tester and the five original cosponsors for the introduction of the Resolution,” said Linda Reinstein, co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization. “Each year, 40,000 Americans die from preventable asbestos-caused diseases while imports and use continue.
Undoubtedly, the Resolution’s momentum and U.S. Surgeon General’s asbestos warning will raise awareness and increase prevention efforts.”

FWP Hiring at Flathead Lake, Thompson Chain of Lakes

Are you interested in spending the summer working along Flathead Lake or Thompson Chain of Lakes? Do you value resource protection and customer service?

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is hiring full-time and part-time positions at several state parks across the
Flathead Valley to fill this spring through fall. Positions are available at Logan State Park on Middle Thompson Lake, and the Big Arm, Wayfarers,
Yellow Bay, Finley Point, and West Shore units of Flathead Lake State Park. A position is also available at Whitefish Lake State Park. The six-month positions pay $14.70 per hour with paid leave and retirement benefits.

Montana State Parks staff manage scenic, natural, historic, archaeologic,
scientific and recreational resources.

These local park positions will support daily park operations at day-use areas, campgrounds, water-based sites, park offices, visitor centers or entrance gates.

Interested applicants should apply at the State of Montana Career site at statecareers.mt.gov, or by clicking here. Successful applicants will be subject to a background check.

Libby and Troy among BTSF Planning Grant Recipients

PRESS RELEASE

 

On Friday, March 19, the Montana Department of Commerce announced it is awarding $430,273 to
support small business growth and local community
development across 15 Montana communities.

The funding is from the Big Sky Economic
Development Trust Fund (BSTF) Planning Grant at Commerce, which provides state funds to promote long-term, stable economic growth in Montana.

“When small businesses across Montana thrive, our communities and the hard-working Montanans who live and work here have new opportunities to prosper as well,” said Commerce Director Scott
Osterman at the time of this release. “This funding invests in Montana’s economy by planning for
business and local economic growth to create
good-paying jobs for Montanans.”

The Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund has two components – planning and job creation. The next application deadline for projects through both the BSTF Job Creation and Planning grants is June 16.

For more information about the Big Sky Trust Fund, visit BSTF.MT.GOV

 

*Both Libby and Troy were among those awarded grant monies  during this most recent allotment
period.  The Kootenai River Development Council  will receive $5,850 to assist the Lincoln County Port
Authority of Libby with a property development
feasibility study within the Kootenai Business Park.

The Kootenai River Development Council will also receive $21,500 to assist the town of Troy with an
outdoor recreation and trail-based economic
development plan.

Governor Gianforte Announces Funding for Forest Management Projects
Troy’s Rabbit Tracks Forest Partnership project among those awarded

PRESS RELEASE

HELENA, Mont.

 

Governor Greg Gianforte has announced the funding of 14 forest management projects across Montana that will reduce wildfire risks, improve forest health and wildlife habitat, and support local economies with good-paying jobs in the forest industry.

“Our Montana Comeback Plan calls for using all tools available to reduce wildfire risk across the state,” Governor Gianforte said.

“Today’s announcement helps to advance that goal to improve forest health, which in turn protects critical
habitat and watersheds and supports good-paying jobs in our local communities.”

The projects range in size from 100 to 1,000 acres and correspond with the recently completed Montana Forest
Action Plan, which reassessed statewide forest conditions, identified priority areas for treatment, and developed a cross-boundary plan to accomplish landscape-scale forest restoration.

Amanda Kaster, director of the MT Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, said the state has committed $4.5 million for the new projects and received $500,000 in grant funds from the USDA Forest Service.

“In order to qualify, all of these projects were to provide matching funds and carry out management activities in a collaborative manner across ownership boundaries,” Kaster said. “That’s a critical element of active management, because problems of forest health and wildfire risk don’t stop at the fence line.”

A total of 47 projects were submitted through the RFP process requesting nearly $14 million in funding.

“It is critical to continue to work with our partners to identify opportunities to utilize all available authorities and options to actively facilitate forest management work across Montana,” Gianforte said.

A complete list of awarded projects and their locations may be found at: www.montanaforestactionplan.org.

*The Rabbit Tracts Project Proposal to manage and treat just under 30,000 acres near Troy is a collaboration of groups including the U.S. Kootenai National Forest, Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (MTDNRC), Lincoln County, Stimpson Lumber, Vital Ground, and Northern Lights will cooperate in field work and management. Treatments will include commercial harvest, thinning projects, and mastication. 

For more information on the Rabbit Tracks Project in Troy, you may contact Lincoln County Forester, Jennifer Nelson, at 283-2322.