Natural Resources & Energy

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The Bureau of Land Management has issued draft proposals outlining the uses the federal government wants to allow in the Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments in southern Utah.

Low water levels on the Colorado River could force water shortages in Arizona, Nevada and Mexico in 2020, according to a new forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

A shortage on the river is tied to the level of its main reservoir, Lake Mead near Las Vegas, Nevada. If the lake drops past an elevation of 1,075 feet, water users downstream have to start cutting back how much water they use. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation projects the lake to drop below that level next year, triggering water cutbacks in 2020.

Alexi Hubbell Photography

With its breathtaking views, the Mountain West has long been a destination for weddings. But now, some wedding industry workers are seeing fewer couples wanting to get hitched in late summer months because of an increasingly smoky backdrop.

Julio Mulero

Governors around the West are expressing alarm over a new Trump administration directive that lifts a rule requiring energy companies to pay for any damage they leave behind, especially in sage grouse habitat. It’s a tool long used to keep species off the endangered species list.

You may not have noticed, but a few months ago the Trump Administration stopped using a century-old law to fine industries when birds are accidentally killed by oil spills, power lines or wind farms.

Utah officials are praising a Draper firefighter who was killed while battling California's biggest wildfire, the first fatality of the massive Mendocino Complex Fire. 

public domain

If there's a fee for either a camping site or a day use area on Forest Service land, there's probably some kind of toilet there. But solving the problem of human waste in vaulted or backcountry toilets is not as easy as flushing it out of the system.

Scorching temperatures are hitting our region’s biggest tourist attractions. On Friday, temperatures at Glacier National Park hit triple digits for the first time in recorded history.

A couple days later, the Howe Ridge fire blew up.

Lodgers and campers awoke late Sunday night to officials telling them to get out as soon as possible.


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.

Some Steamboat Springs, Colorado residents are welcoming the Interior Department Secretary with a protest Friday evening.  Ryan Zinke is the keynote speaker at the Steamboat Institute’s annual ‘Freedom Conference,’ a private event.

The Interior Department is once again facing change in agency leadership. The acting head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has stepped down. 

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. 

NPS / Jacob W. Frank

Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk held a virtual press conference on Thursday addressing his retirement on September 29, 2018.

A new study shows air pollution like soot, dust and smoke is down around the country with one exception: wildfire prone areas like the Mountain West.  

The head of Yellowstone National Park is leaving his post next month after the Trump administration forced him to either take a transfer to D.C. or retire early.

When our Mountain West News Bureau first broke that news in June, Superintendent Dan Wenk said he felt “abused” by the U.S. Interior Department.

But during a press conference Thursday, he mellowed his tone.

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.

A new species of tick, the longhorned tick, has arrived in the U.S.

In other parts of the world it’s been known to carry diseases that can sicken people and livestock. In East Asia the tick can carry a nasty hemorrhagic fever called SFTS. A study in China looking at SFTS cases there found that 16 percent of people who were diagnosed with the disease died of it.

Record-breaking wildfires in California have prompted tweets from President Trump and U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. They blame the fires on “bad environmental laws,” too many dead or dying trees, and not enough logging.

As record wildfires rage across the West, funding for fire prevention science is in jeopardy. Under President Donald Trump's 2019 budget proposal, cuts to various programs will be significant.

TENNESSEE WATSON

One of the main goals of the University of Wyoming’s strategic plan is to positively impact Wyoming communities through learning outreach programs, and through collaborations that make academic expertise relevant in our daily lives. UW’s Biodiversity Institute is emblematic of this vision. But an administrative decision to close it down has raised doubts about the university’s commitment to its own goals.

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest

Fires continue to burn in many parts of the west and officials are bracing for a long, grueling and even deadlier fire season than they’re used to. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso chairs the Environment Committee where he oversees the nation’s forests.   

Wikipedia

A man was arrested Friday, August 3, for harassing a bison in Yellowstone National Park. Earlier this week, Oregon native, Raymond Reinke, was caught on video taunting a on a road in the national park.

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. 

Starting this fall, our region will host something new: a graduate program in space resources.

“This is the very first program in the world that is focused on space resources,” says Angel Abbud-Madrid, the director of the Center for Space Resources at the Colorado School of Mines.

GREYS RIVER WILDLIFE HABITAT MANAGEMENT AREA

A new study by the University of Wyoming suggests elk feedgrounds actually do more harm than good. By ending the practice, it could help slow down a deadly disease.

A Belgian hiker died from apparent heat-related causes earlier this week at the Utah-Arizona border.

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. 

Portrait photographers working in the region have been getting reminders lately of a federal rule that they need permits to shoot on forest service land.

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