Natural Resources & Energy

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Bipartisan legislation before the Senate would finally designate congressional funds to take care of about $12 billion of deferred maintenance for national parks. 

 


US Fish and Wildlife Service-Mountain Prairie Region

States in the Colorado River’s upper basin, including Wyoming, are considering ways to start saving any water conserved from efforts like avoiding irrigation in hayfields or watering lawns. It’s a novel idea being considered in the wake of low snow packs this year in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah that have caused Lake Powell to receive less than half its usual flow. That flow is needed to satisfy water allocations promised to states downstream. 

Oregon Bureau of Land Management

Social media has brought us lots of things - from Instagrammed food pics to the ubiquitous "selfie" and a tweeting president. And "brand ambassadors"? These are people who have huge followings on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. For a price, they will highlight certain company brands when they post, but one such ambassador has set off a huge upset in the world of fly fishing, prompting responses from those who might otherwise stay quiet.

  

There is a moment as heatstroke sets in when the body, no longer able to cool itself, stops sweating. Joey Azuela remembers it well.

"My body felt hot, like, in a different way," he says. "It was like a 'I'm cooking' hot."

Three summers ago, Azuela, then 14, and his father were hiking a trail in one of Phoenix's rugged desert preserves. It was not an unusually hot day for Phoenix, and they had gotten a later start than usual. By the time they reached the top, Azuela was weak and nauseous. They had run out of water.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Scott Pruitt may have resigned but the controversies continue. A recently disclosed collection of emails between the EPA, an oil and gas lobbyist and at least one elected official in Utah are causing concern.

In an open field in Longmont, Colorado, about a dozen people crouched in the tall grass, moving slowly and deliberately through mud that squelched underfoot. Some carried huge, serrated knives called hori-hori, a Japanese tool made specifically for gutting weeds. Others wielded gardening shears, saws or chemical sprays as their weapons of choice.

Supt. Vela describes the significance of the NPS badge to a 4th grade student from Donald Stalker Elementary before awarding a Jr. Ranger badge to her at the completion of an "Every Kid in a Park" visit, sponsored by Grand Teton Lodge Co. (May, 2015)
National Park Service

The superintendent of Grand Teton National Park is rumored to be President Trump’s nominee for the National Park Service (NPS). The position has been left unfilled for 18 months. David Vela has been with the NPS on and off for 37 years. He’s worked at several historic sites, coordinated operations in Texas, and oversaw the NPS southeast region, covering 66 parks.

So far around 60 wildfires are burning on 700,000 acres of land nationwide. Here’s a look at the 2018 fire season in our region and the forecast for the summer.

Mark Elbroch

Wildlife management policies have contributed to a steep decline of mountain lions in northwest Wyoming, according to a new report published last week in the journal “Ecology and Evolution,” which found that population numbers have dropped by almost 50-percent in only 16 years.

Throughout the Western U.S., water conservation is in the toilet.

And that’s a good thing.

Utah is the only state in the Mountain West region that offers a bounty for coyotes — a major predator of young mule deer. Now the program is being updated because some people are cheating.

Antelope Butte Foundation

The Antelope Butte Foundation has raised $360,000 to restore a chairlift. It’s the latest development in the effort to reopen the Antelope Butte Recreation Area near Sheridan. The ski area originally opened in the 1960s but closed in 2004.

Screenshot of a passage Sen. Barrasso's proposed draft legislation
Environment and Public Works Committee

U.S. Senator John Barrasso is leading an effort to overhaul the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The proposed draft legislation would give states more authority over endangered species.

Screenshot, taken from the Campbell County government’s website.


In the second hour of a fluorescent-lit Board of Commissioners meeting in Campbell County, Chairman Mark Christensen introduces "the long-awaited Alpha Natural Resource payment."

Wind Power Controversy In Wyoming

Jun 29, 2018
PRI’s The World

Strong winds blowing through a gap in the rocky mountains could generate electricity in Wyoming. And customers in California want to buy it. But wind power's a hard sell in Wyoming, where coal is still king. A state with an economy built on coal  - has a chance to develop a green resource. As part of PRI's The World "50 States" project, reporter Jason Margolis has more.

CC0 Public Domain

Several conservation organizations sent a letter to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) saying it hasn’t accurately counted the total number of grizzly deaths for 2017, and the low number could change the number of bears available to hunt this fall.

Fires are burning in Colorado, Utah and there’s fire danger in other parts of the Mountain West. Now three U.S. Congressmen from Colorado have introduced legislation that would make it a felony to fly a drone over a wildfire. Drones can make fighting fires more difficult and put lives at risk.

Between growing populations and changing climate conditions, our water sources are only expected to get more crunched. Communities in some very dry states have had to get creative about where to get their water, sometimes purifying sewage into drinking water. More western cities are beginning to get on board, too. But there’s a problem: the ick factor.

Pilot Hill Project

Community organizers in Laramie have been working to raise over $10 million to buy 5,500 acres of privately-owned land, turning the mountainside property east of town known as Pilot Hill into a park. 

You may not have heard of PILT payments, but they’re pretty important for local economies in areas like the Mountain West.  The federal government gives these 'payments in lieu of taxes' to counties with federal lands that can't earn regular tax revenue.  

A federal watchdog group is looking into U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s family land deal with an oil executive. But Zinke is calling the controversy fake news.

Public Domain

Some wildlife activists see the grizzly bear hunting lottery as an opportunity to have a voice in Wyoming’s wildlife management. Opponents of this coming fall’s historic grizzly hunt say if they apply for and receive a tag, they won’t use it to hunt the bear, giving the animal that ten extra days to live. The grizzly bear hunt allows one hunter in the Yellowstone region at a time, each with a ten-day limit.

Map of the NPL project location
Bureau of Land Management

A 3,500-well natural gas project has taken a step forward. The Bureau of Land Management published the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Jonah Energy's Normally Pressured Lance project in western Wyoming. The project would be on located over 140,000 acres.

U.S Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke explained the abrupt departure of Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Dan Wenk on the radio show Montana Talks Wednesday. The incoming superintendent is military veteran Cameron Sholly.

Every day, about 19 people move to Boise. And that growth is creating a housing crunch in the valley.

Public Domain / Richard Spencer

A U.S. District Court sided with wildlife advocates this week. It ruled that a federal agency ignored scientific studies that did not support its justification for killing animals.

Deputy County Attorney Carol Seeger speaking in front of the Campbell County Commissions on the Alpha Bankruptcy
Campbell County

Earlier this month, Campbell County and Alpha Natural Resources have reached a settlement after a lengthy case over unpaid taxes. Alpha is one of the three major coal companies that went bankrupt between 2015 and 2016.

The House of Representatives passed its newest version of the farm bill this week. It includes stricter work requirements for people who get food stamps.

A study in the journal Science says a lot more methane is leaking from oil & gas sites than previously thought -- about 60 percent more than the current estimate from the Environmental Protection Agency.

No Review Of Federal Coal Leasing Program, Following Court Case
Western Organization of Resource Councils

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided not to reassess the federal coal leasing program in a decision this week. 

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