Cooper McKim

Natural Resources & Energy Reporter

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

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He’s reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper studies Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.


 

Ways to Connect

Plans for the Millennium Bulk Terminal
Millennium Bulk Terminals - Longview

Wyoming alongside Montana will continue its lawsuit against Washington State stemming from a proposed coal port that's on its last legs.

Map of cultural resources, historic trails, and Native American concerns in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Converse County Oil and Gas Project
Bureau of Land Management

Several tribes have filed letters of protest against the recently approved Converse County Oil and Gas Project. The U.S. Interior Department signed off on the project at the end of last year; it allows for the drilling of 5,000 wells over the next decade by five operators.

Jupiter Oxygen

Jupiter Oxygen Corporation has plans to set up shop right here in Wyoming.

"We looked at Texas. We looked at North Dakota. We looked at Colorado, New Mexico... We homed in on Wyoming for a number of, I think, right reasons," said Steve Krimsky, senior vice President of operations for Jupiter Oxygen.

Screenshot of the online banner for the Millennium Bulk Terminal-Longview LLC
Millennium Bulk Terminals - Longview

A long sought after terminal to ship coal internationally from Washington may soon no longer be in the cards. A federal bankruptcy court has authorized the rejection of the ground lease between the Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview, LLC and Lighthouse Resources Inc, effective this Friday, Jan. 8.

Peabody Energy, Inc.

Peabody Energy struck a deal with creditors over the holidays to give itself more time to pay off significant debt; the deal provides the massive coal producer additional credit as well.

Image leading the Converse County Oil and Gas Project Record of Decision Document
Bureau of Land Management

The U.S. Department of the Interior has issued a record of decision allowing the Converse County Oil and Gas Project to move forward.

U.S. Senator John Barrasso, R-WY sitting next to President Donald Trump meeting with members of Congress in a bipartisan meeting to discuss infrastructure proposals in 2018
Public Domain/Shealah Craighead

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso voiced concern on Fox News Sunday as President-elect Joe Biden's climate team comes into focus. The Republican chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and says he isn't planning to let nominations move forward without a fight.

Wind Farm Near Wheatland
Holly Copeland

The legislature's Joint Revenue Committee once again considered and voted against a bill that would have raised the generation tax on wind. This time from $1 per megawatt hour to $2 per megawatt hour. The bill would have also removed a three-year tax exemption enjoyed by wind energy producers.

Cooper McKim

The holiday season is upon us and with it comes the Festival of Lights, better known as Hanukkah. Folks around the country are lighting their menorahs, including here in Wyoming. Cooper McKim spoke with Seth Ward, University of Wyoming professor of religious studies, about the holiday's special meaning this year.

Shale plays throughout the US
Wyoming Energy Authority

Dec. 15 was a busy day for federal oil and gas. New numbers detail the impact of possible restrictions to production, leases are being sold, and environmental groups are once again calling for a ban.

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

A state legislative committee is discussing the last stages of approval for a major oil and gas project in Converse County. The U.S. Department of Interior just has to sign the Record of Decision (ROD), which Select Federal Natural Resource Management committee members like Douglas Sen. Brian Boner is anxious to finish or even speed up.

Production at the Decker Mine according to a federal database
U.S. Energy Information Administration

Utah-based Lighthouse Resources has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will work on a reclamation plan for the Decker Mine in Montana. The company, with Wyoming employees, will lay-off more than half of its employees throughout its operations.

Peabody Energy's share price over the past year
Seeking Alpha

In a November federal filing, Peabody Energy reported it would no longer be paying into a certain healthcare benefit plan for retired miners who are on or eligible for Medicare or provide life insurance to retirees. That includes those in Wyoming.

Wyoming's Gov. Mark Gordon has tested positive for COVID-19. His office said he has only minor symptoms at this point, including a dry cough, and "plans to continue working on behalf of Wyoming remotely."

Cover page of supplemental draft environmental impact statement for the converse county oil and gas project
Bureau of Land Management

Multiple energy companies, Wyoming and Converse County are hoping to see a final decision signed that would enable a major oil and gas project to move forward before the Biden administration arrives on Jan. 20, 2021.

Several officials gave an update to the state legislature's Select Federal Natural Resource Management committee.

Location for Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind project. Several in public comment spoke from the county, along with a project official
Power Company of Wyoming

The state legislature's Joint Revenue Committee set aside time during a recent meeting to learn how the wind industry is currently being taxed in the state; no bill on the subject was under discussion.

Proposed projects or LWCF funding from the Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land / The Trust for Public Land

The Interior Department is facing criticism for putting up barriers to conservation projects nationwide funded through the new Great American Outdoors Act.

Screetshot of initial court document in a case that's been ongoing for four years
Court Listener

Last March, a federal court ordered the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management to provide better analysis of the climate impacts of oil and gas leasing on public land. After receiving that analysis, the judge rules it's not enough.

McFadden Wind Farm
Leigh Paterson

The Joint Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Committee voted to sponsor and move forward with a bill that would effectively raise the tax on generating wind energy in Wyoming. The bill removes the three year tax exemption given to companies before a $1 per megawatt hour tax sets in.

In May of 2020, the Converse County trailer park quickly emptied out after the pandemic hit and oil and gas activity declined.
Cooper McKim

Gov. Mark Gordon will use $15 million in CARES Act funds to create the Energy Rebound Program, a program intended to boost oil and gas activity in Wyoming. At the moment, there are five active rigs in the state compared to 25 at the beginning of the year.

2016 presidential map including vote map of Campbell County
New York Times

In 2016, President Donald Trump won Wyoming by the largest margin in the country. In Campbell County, he took 86.7 percent of the vote - the second highest margin in the state, only behind Crook County. This time, there was an even higher voter turnout. Still, Gillette Mayor Louise Carter-King said it still felt different.

Stevenson's Hyrail Services, LLC early on during the pandemic
Cooper McKim

Local businesses serving the energy industry in Wyoming are expressing anxiety over expected policy changes from President-elect Joe Biden.

Cevin Iemus, owner of Land Surveying, Incorporated in Gillette, said he expects his bottom line to be greatly impacted by this election. He's thinking about Biden's potential ban of oil and gas permits on federal land. For now, Iemus expects a surge of new permits and activity to outrun those changes, "but it's going to take a quick turn and go downhill."

Rail Tie Wind Project project location based on the ConnectGen website
ConnectGen

The state board of land commissioners has voted against leasing land to a renewable energy company planning to build a wind farm in Albany County. Local opponents raised concerns during the public meeting about the project's various impacts.

Rock Springs Historical Museum

The wind roars at an archaeological dig outside the 200 person town of Fort Bridger in the southwestern corner of the state. The historic site is remembered as a supply shop and a military outpost. It was also the first place where Chinese immigrants were recorded in Wyoming back in 1857.

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