Nate Hegyi | KUER 90.1

Nate Hegyi

Reporter

Nate Hegyi is the Utah reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, based at KUER. He covers federal land management agencies, indigenous issues, and the environment. Before arriving in Salt Lake City, Nate worked at Yellowstone Public Radio, Montana Public Radio, and was an intern with NPR’s Morning Edition. He received a master’s in journalism from the University of Montana.

When he’s not doing radio, he likes to run, fish and listen to Bruce Springsteen tapes in his ‘99 Toyota Tacoma.

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Photo of Joshua Tree entrance sign.
National Parks Service

As the partial government shutdown stretches toward a third week, both the public and public employees alike are feeling the pain. But there’s another casualty: public information.

Photo of David Bernhardt
U.S. Department of the Interior via Twitter

Despite the government shutdown, there's been a handover at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Former Secretary Ryan Zinke is out, deputy secretary David Bernhardt is in, with a continuance of the Trump Administration policy of energy dominance.

KUER's Diane Maggipinto spoke with Nate Hegyi of KUER's Mountain West News Bureau to sort it out, starting with Zinke's wins and losses.

Photo of craft beers.
iStock.com / EddieHernandezPhotography

If the impasse over President Trump’s proposed border wall makes it to Saturday morning, this will be the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. And it has an unlikely victim — craft beer.

Photo of old faithful.
Nate Hegyi / KUER

Unlike previous administrations, President Trump’s Interior Department has directed national parks to keep their gates open while furloughing most workers during this latest government shutdown. But as the partial shutdown enters its third week, critics argue the parks are becoming unsafe.

Photo of Lisa Murkowski.
Office of U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, may try to re-introduce landmark legislation that would address the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women in the U.S.

Image of redacted FOIA documents.
Renee Bright / KUER

A new rule proposed last week by the U.S. Interior Department could make it harder for news outlets and non-profit organizations to get public information on a range of federal issues.

Ryan Zinke has stepped down as interior secretary, resigning as planned amid a series of ethics investigations. In a tweet he said it's been a "high honor" to serve, adding that the agency has restored public lands, improved public access and "shall never be held hostage again for our energy needs."

So far the president has not nominated anyone as a permanent replacement. The acting secretary is Zinke's deputy David Bernhardt, a lawyer and former lobbyist for the oil industry with longtime experience at the agency.

DPS Skis in Salt Lake City, Utah has created a new product called Phantom. It's a wax replacement that makes your skis go fast season after season.
Oskar Enander / DPS

 

Wearing flannel, sporting beards and donning beanies, many of the workers at the DPS ski factory in Salt Lake City look like ski bums warming up between runs at the local resort. But they are hard at work crafting some of the most advanced skis in the world.

Photo of road on Navajo reservation.
iStock.com / lorcel

The federal government has continually broken treaty promises to tribal nations, according to a damning new report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

Photo of duck stamp.
U.S. Department of Interior

The Federal Duck Stamp Program is for the birds, at least when it comes to birdwatchers.

Photo of chekcpoint sign.
iStock.com / aijohn784

Utah will soon impose the country's strictest limits for drunk driving.

Photo of Jon Tester.
U.S. Senate Committee On Indian Affairs

Lawmakers grilled federal law enforcement agencies over their lack of rigorous investigations into missing and murdered indigenous women at a landmark Senate hearing Wednesday.

Photo of Ryan Zinke.
Tami Heilemann, U.S. Department of the Interior

Public record requests have played a major role in spurring multiple ethics investigations into U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Photo of Salt Lake City Police Car.
Brett Neilson via Wikimedia Commons

The Salt Lake City Police Department has criticized a landmark report released last month that found that more than 500 indigenous women have either gone missing or were murdered in 71 U.S. cities.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

President Trump has pledged to nominate the acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency as it’s next permanent head, a move that some Senate Democrats have promised to oppose.

Renee Bright / KUER

It’s pretty weird seeing my dad cut into the neck of a dead cow elk.

Like me, my dad Mike has never hunted before. He’s a software engineer. But now he’s wearing blue latex gloves, covered in blood, as he peels skin and fur off the animal.

Erik Neumann / KUER

A historic election near Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah faces a legal challenge as Republicans have appealed a federal judge’s earlier ruling that allowed the eventual winner to be on the ballot.

Photo of Zinke.
U.S. Department of Interior

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is the subject of at least three open federal investigations. But on the right-wing talk show Breitbart News Sunday, Zinke dismissed news of his imminent departure from the Trump administration.

Photo of Tester and Heitkamp.
Courtesy the office of Sen. Jon Tester, D-MT

At least 500 indigenous women have either been murdered or have disappeared from 71 U.S. cities, according to a first-of-its-kind report from a Native American health group.

Nate Hegyi / KUER

The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee will discuss on Wednesday landmark legislation that aims to address the crisis of missing and murdered women in Indian Country.

Since taking power at the U.S. Interior Department last year, Secretary Ryan Zinke has been the subject of more than a dozen investigations by the DOI’s Office of Inspector General. Some are ongoing and the latest report was released Monday.

On Thursday night, President Trump rallied in Montana for Republican candidates. At the rally, he congratulated a Montana congressman for body-slamming a reporter last year.

 

Calling it a matter of national security, the Trump administration wants to export coal to Asia through military bases along the West Coast. Companies are currently blocked from using ports in California and Washington State.

A major U.S. coal producer filed for bankruptcy Tuesday morning.

Westmoreland Coal Company operates five mines in Montana, Wyoming and New Mexico. They employ more than a thousand people.

On Friday, an intergovernmental organization hosted a hearing in Boulder, Colorado on the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women in the U.S. That group faces some of the highest violence and sexual assault rates in the nation.

In recent years, President Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax.

“I think it’s a big scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money,” he said on Fox News in 2015.

But a recent report by the U.S. Department of Transportation predicts global temperature will rise seven degrees by 2100. That’s catastrophic.

The sun is just a dim red dot. The nearby Canadian Rockies are shrouded in thick wildfire smoke.

Bob Gray knows we probably shouldn’t be hiking up a mountain right now.

“I have a scratchy throat,” he says. “Physically it effects my breathing. I probably shouldn’t spend a lot of time in it.”

The midterm elections are notorious for low voter turnout. In 2014, it was the lowest since World War II. So this year, companies, celebrities and non-profit organizations are rallying behind get-out-the-vote campaigns.

The Mountain West is a pretty conservative place. So when Democrats win here… it’s big news. And now two Democratic governors from the region are mulling a run for president.

Colorado’s John Hickenlooper and Montana’s Steve Bullock are both moderate progressives, both won in fairly conservative places, and both are kind of wonky.

“They’re not that person who can command a crowd,” Lee Banville, a political journalism professor at the University of Montana, says.

The ongoing trade war with China is feeling close to home these days. Mounting tariffs on outdoor recreation gear may hit the wallets of folks in the Mountain West who love going outside.

On Monday, the Trump administration announced $200 billion dollars worth of new tariffs on products from China.

“This is going to include backpacks, sport bags, leather ski gloves, bikes and some camping equipment,” Rich Harper, a trade analyst with the lobbying group Outdoor Industry Association, said.

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