Natural Resources & Energy

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Monday afternoon a federal district court judge placed the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear back under federal protection. This means Wyoming’s planned grizzly hunt will not happen and management will be returned to the federal government.  

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.

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. 

Public lands are a big deal in the mountain west. Conservationists across our region are celebrating these lands all this month.

 


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.

The federal agency overseeing the Lake Powell Pipeline license application issued a key ruling on Tuesday which some critics are saying will delay the project. But supporters insist that now they're actually a step closer to getting final approval.

U.S. FOREST SERVICE-BRIDGER-TETON NATIONAL FOREST FACEBOOK PAGE

It may be autumn in a couple of days but wildfire season isn't slowing down. People living in parts of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah remain evacuated from their homes because of nearby wildfires. And the flames are fueling another thing-private firefighting companies.

The outdoor recreation industry is growing faster than ever, especially in our region. In fact, new statistics show this sector grew faster than the overall U.S. economy.

Public Domain / Max Pixel

Yellowstone is showing signs of the effects of climate change, according to a "Vital Signs" report by the Yellowstone Center for Resources. Greater Yellowstone Network Program Manager Kristin Legg said the Lamar Valley is now seeing an increase in the invasive species cheatgrass, even though most scientists didn’t think it would invade that high in elevation. Legg said this could lead to more fires in higher elevations. And she said years with more rain and snow isn’t necessarily helping.

The Trump administration just relaxed Obama-era industry regulations for methane leaks from oil and gas operations on federal lands. But reactions to the change in the Mountain West are mixed.  

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.

Sybille Research and Visitor Center

A U.S. district court has decided to end a long-term permit for an elk feeding ground in the Bridger Teton National Forest in northwest Wyoming, saying the agency did not do enough to analyze the risk of chronic wasting disease to animals there.

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.

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.

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.

Wildfires are still burning across much of the Mountain West. In Colorado, heat and drought are pushing fires into new areas. In Utah, evacuations are still in place for two blazes.

Meanwhile, new information is out about what caused the death of one Utah firefighter last month during California’s Mendocino Complex Fire.

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.”

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.

Nearly three hundred names have been added to the Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Colorado Springs. Occupational cancer claimed many of those lives.

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.

Holly Copeland

Wyoming has a lot of wind energy but conservation biologists warn Wyomingites need to pay attention to how turbines can be harmful to wildlife. Biologists are figuring out ways to protect wildlife while still producing wind energy. Wyoming Public Radio’s Kamila Kudelska spoke with Holly Copeland, the director of science for the Nature Conservancy in Wyoming, on which animals are in danger.

thinkwy.org

Two professors from the University of Wyoming have created an original opera about the story of an unusual subject; the Rocky Mountain locust.

A judge has decided that a grizzly bear hunt in Wyoming and Idaho must be delayed for another two weeks. Thursday, September 13 was the last day of a temporary restraining order filed by a conservation group two weeks ago. The grizzly bear hunt that was supposed to start on September 1 was stalled in hopes a federal district court judge would make a decision whether to restore federal protections to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear.

A federal judge has extended a temporary ban on grizzly bear hunting near Yellowstone National Park while he mulls the animal’s fate.

 


Norman M

At a legislative meeting in Laramie last week, ranchers called to abandon efforts to introduce the endangered black-footed ferret in Thunder Basin National Grasslands. The ferret’s need a healthy population of its primary food, the prairie dog, but ranchers say too many prairie dogs would compete with livestock for grasses. 

A leaked memo this week from the Interior Department shows Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to give states more clout over wildlife management on public lands, unless it conflicts with federal law.

 


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.

NPS Photo / Ken Conger

Over the weekend an adult grizzly bear was spotted in the city of Cody. The bear has not been caught yet but trapping operations are underway.

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