Natural Resources & Energy

Click here for more information on Wyoming Public Media's Natural Resources & Energy.

Pilot Hill Land Purchase

Community organizers are progressing on an effort to raise money to buy a mountainside east of Laramie known as Pilot Hill. The hope is to turn it into a state park that connects the city of Laramie to trails in the Laramie Range, and will also protect the city’s aquifer from future development.

Revised Ramaco application
Liz Brimmer / Ramaco Carbon

Ramaco Carbon has submitted a revised permit to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The Environmental Quality Council (EQC), an independent review board, refused the company’s first permit last year to begin constructing the Brook Mine in Sheridan County. 

OTCMKTS: WLBAQ

In southwest Wyoming, the Kemmerer coal mine is the largest contributor of tax revenue to Lincoln County and a big employer. It's owned by Westmoreland Coal Company, which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It's one of the largest and oldest coal producers on the continent and some think it's another sign coal markets are not bouncing back, despite the Trump administration's efforts.

Tennessee Watson

Rising sea levels for some, and catastrophic droughts and wildfires for others, are imminent unless immediate action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new report from the United Nations. Yet in Wyoming only 60 percent of adults believe that global warming is actually happening. University of Cincinnati Anthropologist Daniel Murphy has studied how humans make decisions in the face environmental changes, from Mongolia to the Mountain West. He says the key to starting conversations about what to do about climate change is not to mention it all. Wyoming Public Radio's Tennessee Watson sat down with Murphy to find out more.


In the Mountain West, we love our rivers, our mountains, our forests, deserts and wildlife. They’re part of our economies, our lifestyles and our identity. But that very connection makes us vulnerable to a growing mental health problem -- climate anxiety.

An online startup out of Idaho has launched a new service pitched as Airbnb for hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts.


Environmental Protection Agency's January 2010 sampling.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Scientists and landowners are gathering in Riverton Thursday night to discuss ongoing issues in the Pavillion gas fields. There have been signs of oil and gas components detected in water wells and sediment for years but the extent and cause of the contamination is still unknown.

Mead Gruver/AP

Cheyenne lawyer Karen Budd-Falen has been tapped as Deputy Solicitor for Fish, Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior. She is well known for representing private property owners and local governments in disputes with federal land agencies.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state-wide drought emergency this week. It’s one of two states in our region that were especially hard-hit this 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.

 


An Idaho wildlife commissioner resigned and apologized Monday for emailing controversial photos from his recent African safari trip.

Eleven grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem have been euthanized since the beginning of September in a "particularly bad month" for grizzly conflicts, the Powell Tribune in Wyoming reports.

That rate may be normal for the fall.

Fontanelle Dam in southwestern Wyoming
Public Domain / U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

A massive federal infrastructure bill could help Wyoming make more use of the Fontanelle Dam, part of which has never been used. U.S. Senator John Barrasso sponsored the America's Water Infrastructure Act that supports projects for flood protection, repairing old irrigation systems, and upgrading dams.

Vicki Christiansen was sworn in this morning as Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. She’s only the second female to serve in this role in its 113-year history.

Electric Car
Fleet Karma

Wyoming U.S. Senator John Barrasso has introduced a bill, the Fairness For Every Driver Act, that would repeal the electric vehicle tax credit. The credit has been around since the early nineties and gives buyers up to $7,500 off an electric car.

Westmoreland Coal

Westmoreland Coal Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday. It operates in five states, including Wyoming, with a large mine near Kemmerer employing around 280 people. The company’s debt has skyrocketed in recent years, and it’s lost nearly all of its share price value.

A new report from the United Nations says mankind must act fast to slow global warming, a message that is particularly urgent in Utah and throughout a scorched Mountain West that saw a devastating fire season and patches of severe drought.

http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us-2018/?est=happening&type=value&geo=state

A new report from a United Nations' committee predicts climate change will wreak major havoc if action isn't taken by 2030. To ward off the catastrophic wildfires, severe weather and the displacement of millions of people, the report calls for an immediate reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Wellcome Images

Two researchers at the University of Wyoming have contributed to a study that paints a picture of human population over the last 10,000 years.

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.

A male Sage Grouse (also known as the Greater Sage Grouse) in the USA
Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Sacramento, US

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing changes to sage grouse protections that would make it easier to develop — especially energy — on vast swaths of land where the chicken-like bird lives.

Willow Belden

Wyoming lawmakers are sticking by President Trump as he escalates his global trade war even as fear is growing that it will soon be felt from the state's oil fields all the way down to the electronics you rely on.

The Environmental Protection Agency is making $20 million available for states and tribes to voluntarily test drinking water for lead at schools and childcare facilities.

The nation’s first commercial oil-shale mine could be built here in our region. The Bureau of Land Management issued a decision that allows a mine in Utah’s Uinta Valley to move forward.

Biodiversity Institute

In its remaining months, the Biodiversity Institute is gearing up for a regional conference on citizen science. In late July, the University of Wyoming announced plans to shut down the institute, which promotes the study of living organisms by learners of all ages, from pre-schoolers to Ph.D. students.

The Department of Interior just released a new science policy that it says will increase transparency. But conservationists are concerned. 

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

It's been a week since Wyoming lost management authority of the Yellowstone grizzly bear. This at a time when grizzly activity is increasing.

Remnants of a hurricane from the Pacific Ocean are dumping rain throughout the Mountain West region today and tomorrow.

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.

Bob Wick / wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org

A recent study shows that BLM-managed lands produced $3 billion in revenue. The study called “Quantifying the Economic Contributions of Wildlife-Related Recreation on BLM Lands,” took into account twelve western states including Wyoming in 2016. Outdoor activities provide 27-hundred jobs that pay workers $88 million a year and retail sales produce even more: $331 million a year. 

Pages