Cooper McKim

Natural Resources & Energy Reporter

Phone: 307-766-0809
Email: cmckim5@uwyo.edu

Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and now Wyoming. In South Carolina, he covered recovery efforts from a devastating flood in 2015. Throughout his time, he produced breaking news segments and short features for NPR. Cooper recently graduated from Tufts University with degrees in Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.

 

Ways to Connect

Delinquent mineral production taxes by county updated in July of this year
Powder River Basin Resource Council

Last Friday, legislators spent three and half hours hearing testimony and discussing improvements to the ad valorem tax system, one-time severance taxes paid to counties to fund local services and the state school system. 

The Revenue Department

The Joint Revenue Committee has decided to put together a framework of what a corporate income tax could look like in Wyoming. The meeting grew heated as two public commenters accused the committee trying to adopt a tax increase. 

Falmouth Public Library

The Wyoming Joint Revenue Committee has voted to move forward with an optional municipal tax. It would allow any Wyoming town or city to institute its own one-cent sales tax to fund specific projects, a new source of revenue proponents say is sorely needed.

Protest decision document from Interior Department
Department of the Interior

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has put oil and gas leases up for sale in the state. Compared to this time last year, the agency is seeing a 150 percent increase in the number of parcels available.

United States Department of the Interior

The Interior Department has released its final plan to rollback a rule limiting methane emissions from oil and gas producers. This follows the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) move last week to weaken its own methane protections.

Ken Lane via https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

The ground investigation of a grizzly attack in the Bridger Teton National Park that left one dead has ended. A female grizzly bear and her yearling — a larger cub — attacked and killed Wyoming hunting guide, Mark Uptain, last Friday, while injuring his client, a Florida resident.

Powder River Basin Resource Council

The Joint Interim Revenue Committee is planning to discuss changes to a particular kind of tax known as ad valorem. It's a mineral property tax that has been a huge challenge for counties to collect for years due to policies that don't prioritize its collection.

Rawlins City Clerk

Last week, the city of Rawlins took a concrete stance no city or county in Wyoming yet has, and it might sound odd. They voted to not remove its funds from Bank of the West.

A gas flare, used to burn off flammable gas -- on Highway 59 from Gillette
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

The Trump administration is proposing a rule that would make it easier for oil and gas companies to release methane emissions — a potent greenhouse gas – into the air. The proposal targets an Obama-era policy pushing energy companies to fix gas leaks.

Most prevalent utility-scale electricity generation fuel by state, 2007 and 2017
U.S. Energy Information Administration, Electric Power Monthly

In 2017, coal remained the most common fuel source by state percentage, leading in 18 states — a surprising fact given it’s fallen behind natural gas in overall generation across the country. A report from the Energy Information Administration shows the gap, but while coal holds a lead in state generation, the gap is slimming.

Cooper McKim

Scientists know very little about a species of stonefly that can only be found in the alpine streams of the Grand Teton Mountain Range: the Lednia tetonica.

Alpha male (712) of the Canyon pack in the Lower Geyser Basin
Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Aspen trees are making a comeback in Yellowstone National Park, and according to a new study out of Oregon State University, that’s thanks to wolves. 

Bureau of Land Management

After seven years on the back burner, a major oil and gas development near Pinedale has completed its final step and is weeks away from drilling. Jonah Energy's Normally Pressured Lance project obtained its Record of Decision from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The project aims to construct 3,500 wells over 10 years near Pinedale, 96 percent of the project is on public land.

Joint Minerals, Business, and Economic Development Meeting At UW
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is looking for a way to deal with idle limiting mining operations (LMOs). Those are small aggregate, or gravel, pits used by ranches or oil companies, among other entities, to build roads.

ACPIC Projected Revenue vs Operating Budget - from legislative presentation
The Advanced Carbon Collaborative Balanced Resources

Some state legislators are concerned about the market impacts of Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center (ACPIC), a non-profit center aimed to be a home for advanced carbon-related research at the Fort Union Industrial Park near Gillette. 

Tri-State’s coal fleet costs versus regional renewable energy benchmarks - within RMI report
Rocky Mountain Institute

An electric power cooperative could save over half a billion dollars by transitioning away from coal to renewables by 2030. That’s according to an independent analysis of the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association portfolio. The association, however, criticized the report as lacking in expertise.

Cooper McKim

It's a bright, cloudless day in Gillette, Wyoming as a long train passes by overflowing with coal. Huge, open-pit mines dot the perimeter of a light-blue coal-fired power plant. Inside, a turbine is making the building rumble with its constant hum of producing electricity. It's supplying power to the entire western grid.

State Treasurer Mark Gordon

State Treasurer Mark Gordon won the Republican nomination for governor with an unofficial seven percent victory over multi-millionaire Foster Friess. Cheyenne attorney Harriett Hageman finished third.

Gordon overcame a last-minute endorsement of Friess from President Trump and some negative attacks from other candidates to win. Gordon said he was surprised by the Trump endorsement, but at the end the day he said it didn’t matter.

Screenshot from the report with a flow chart of carbon technology
American Jobs Project

A new report from the American Jobs Project outlines how Wyoming could become an economic leader in carbon technology. That includes developing activated carbon, graphene – a type of metal – carbon foam, and nanotubes. Those are materials that go into home insulations, concrete, and transmission lines.

Bank of the West logo
BNP Paribas Bank of the West

Leaders across Wyoming are criticizing Bank of the West for its recent decision to stop doing business with coal, oil or gas companies — including financing coal mines or power plants, or engaging in activities to do with mineral exploration, distribution, or marketing. The bank has 23 branches in Wyoming.

Order delivered July 31st, 2018 from the US District Court For the District of Montana Great Falls Division
US District Court For the District of Montana Great Falls Division

A federal court is ordering the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to reanalyze environmental and climate impacts of coal and oil and gas leasing in two field offices by fall of 2019. 

Job listings posted on Plenty's website including an IT position in Laramie
Plenty

After just one year with a Wyoming facility, Plenty cut 23 of only 55 positions at the site Tuesday. Plenty is an indoor farming company based out of San Francisco. In June 2017, the company purchased the Laramie-based start-up Bright Agrotech.

Cooper McKim

It’s a hot day south of Wheatland, near the small town of Chugwater. Dirt kicks up around passing cars on a long driveway as the sunbeams gold on waving fields of wheat. At the end is the Baker Farm, with old water tanks and rusted antique farm vehicles in front of the home. 

Mule deer photo captured by the Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Land Management

An iconic big game migration corridor in western Wyoming will avoid oil and gas development for the time being. Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke and Governor Matt Mead announced Tuesday the deferral of thousands of leases within the area and stipulations for some development. 

Bureau of Land Management / Public Domain

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) is once again on the lookout for West Nile virus in sage grouse. The department is asking Wyoming residents to report any dead sage grouse they find, so it can be tested through the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory.

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