Mar. 11 Montana News Briefs

Monday, March 11, 2019

Study: Proposed copper mine won’t harm popular Montana river

HELENA (AP) — Montana officials say a new environmental analysis has found that a proposed copper mine would cause no harm to a river popular for its scenery and trout fishing. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality released its draft environmental impact statement of the Black Butte Copper Project for public comment on Monday. The proposed copper mine on 1,888 acres of private land outside White Sulphur Springs would extract 15.3 million tons of rock over 15 years. Conservation groups worry about potential pollution into a tributary of the Smith River, which is so popular with boaters that a lottery is held each year to issue permits. DEQ Director Shaun McGrath says environmental officials studied the mine’s potential effects to the river. He says the analysis found no impacts to water quality, air quality or aquatic life.

Glacier backcountry reservations going to a lottery system

COLUMBIA FALLS (AP) — Glacier National Park is changing how it administers backcountry camping reservations this year. The park says it will use a “modified lottery system” that will process requests on opening day in a randomly sequenced order. After that, reservations will be taken in the order they’re received. The Hungry Horse News reports that the reservation system for opening day had been on a first-come, firstserved basis. Opening day for reservations is Friday. The changes come after a rush of reservation requests last year overloaded the system and it crashed. Last year 1,500 campers made an attempt to get a reservation in the first hour. The previous year, 1,600 people applied for permits on the first day.

Montana officer cleared by jury in November incident

MISSOULA (AP) — A Montana jury has exonerated a Missoula police officer who shot and killed an armed 49-year-old woman during a confrontation last year. The Missoulian reports that the jury needed little time Friday to find that the actions of Officer Joseph Burger were justified. Testimony and evidence presented to the seven-person jury at the coroner’s inquest showed Jenessa Cooper had swung into aggression when she first attacked her roommates. Burger testified that he followed his training when he responded to the house last Nov. 18 and shouted commands at Cooper to drop her .45-caliber handgun. He says he fired seven rounds at her as she raised her pistol toward him. Cooper died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

Second gym roof collapses at Montana State University

BOZEMAN (AP) — A second gym roof has collapsed at Montana State University as officials had expected. The North Gym’s roof collapsed Saturday evening, two days after the student fitness center’s South Gym gave out following heavy snowfall. The second collapse was considered likely since the two connected gyms were built around the same time and the buildings were constructed using similar methods and materials. University officials say the school hired structural engineers to evaluate more than 40 flat-roofed buildings on campus.