Cooper McKim

Natural Resources & Energy Reporter

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

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He’s reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. McKim has also received numerous awards including for coverage of the Blackjewel bankruptcy and a National Murrow for Best Use of Sound. He’s an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.

Ways to Connect

Dave Freudenthal

Carbon capture, utilization and storage continue to gain steam across Wyoming, with Governor Mark Gordon urging Congress last month to consider a bill that supports infrastructure for the technology. The hope is that carbon capture tech will take off in Wyoming and help offset the cost and emissions of a coal plant - and then keep it open. There's plenty of doubt about whether that can work.

Wyoming leaders have supported the tech since around 2008, when coal production in the state first began to decline. Energy and Natural Resources reporter Cooper McKim spoke with former Governor Dave Freudenthal about the origins of the state's vision for carbon capture and why it didn't gain traction right away. Noa Greenspan, producer for the audio series Carbon Valley, put together the interview.


Screenshot of the online XPRIZE Carbon Removal page
XPRIZE Foundation

As the $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE comes to a close in Wyoming, Gov. Mark Gordon has offered up the state to once again host an XPRIZE competition, public records acquired by Wyoming Public Media show.

Hunter in the National Elk Refuge
Lori Iverson/USFWS - 2013

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) refunded $585,000 worth of licenses, permits, and stamps so far to residents and non-residents who were unable to hunt, fish, or boat in 2020. That's more than double its previous record year for refunds in 2019.


Coming this month, Wyoming Public Media will be releasing Carbon Valley, a bi-monthly limited series following the race to develop an unlikely climate solution. Wyoming Public Radio's Naina Rao sat down with energy reporter Cooper McKim, who developed this series, on how Carbon Valley came about, and what drove the decision to create it.

June 2021 Preliminary Sale Parcels posted by BLM; the oil and gas lease sale scheduled for March was postponed due to the pause on oil and gas leasing on federal lands
Bureau of Land Management


Wyoming's U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney envisions a dark future for her home state under President Joe Biden.

If the new administration extends its pause on new oil and gas drilling on public land, it would endanger Wyoming's economy, kill 18,000 jobs and cause the energy state to lose out on critical education, infrastructure, and healthcare funding. Biden would be "cutting off a major lifeline that Americans have relied on to survive during this time," she has said.

Ad valorem taxes contribute to local and state-wide school funds
Pexels

The Wyoming House of Representatives and Senate have agreed on a path forward to solve a problem that has plagued the state for years: ad valorem tax collection.

A preliminary BLM map of June 2021 parcels available for a Q2 Lease Sale in Wyoming
Bureau of Land Management

In an effort to address climate change, the Biden Administration handed down a series of executive actions including one that will pause onshore and offshore leasing of federal oil and gas. The majority of both oil and gas production in Wyoming occurs on federal land.

Map of final parcels sold in BLM's Q4 lease sale
Bureau of Land Management

The Biden Administration has handed down a sweeping order that temporarily suspends several agency actions including the issuing of federal fossil fuel leases for the next 60 days, unless otherwise reviewed and approved by leadership.

Eagle Butte mine just after its 2019 bankrutpcy
Cooper McKim

A landowners' group voiced objections to Eagle Specialty Materials, LLC's Eagle Butte mine application for a five-year permit renewal. The Powder River Basin Resource Council raised concerns in a requested informal conference regarding the company's reclamation ability, legal right to mine, and connection to violations.

Map of the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative project with corridors represented
Bureau of Land Management

The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved the Wyoming Pipeline Corridor Initiative, a proposal from the Wyoming Governor's Office. The project has been in the works for nearly ten years with an eye towards boosting carbon capture utilization and storage including enhanced oil recovery.

CCO Public Domain

The state Senate Revenue Committee passed two bills that take different approaches to transitioning to a monthly ad valorem tax for the mining industry.

Ben Kraushaar


In 2018, a Wyoming research scientist ran 92 miles in just three days. His goal? Highlight the challenges of the seasonal migration for mule deer; a well-known species in Wyoming, but also one that's been in decline. A movie called 92 Miles is set to come out in the next few months about his journey. Wyoming Public Radio's Cooper McKim spoke with Wyoming Migration Initiative research scientist and runner Pat Rodgers on the importance of his trek.

Dave Johnston Plant
Greg Goebel via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Several companies interested in making money through carbon capture are taking steps to set up shop at the Dave Johnston Power Plant in Glenrock, Wyoming.

A portrayal of ambient air quality impacts within BLM's FEIS. EPA found its own model showed higher PM2.5 concentrations than presented through BLM's model.
BLM Eplanning

In official comments, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raised concerns about how the Bureau of Land Management analyzed and presented air quality impacts for the recently-approved Converse County Oil and Gas Project.

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.

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