This month, global leaders are gathered in Paris to make a plan to combat climate change. There is broad scientific consensus that climate change is real, serious and caused by humans. But political consensus in this country has been elusive and clouded by doubt. Over the years, climate denial arguments have changed, but as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, the results stayed the same: blocking action on climate change.
Today, nearly 40% of all coal produced in the U.S. comes from Wyoming. In order to access that coal, companies use huge machines to move dirt out of the way. That means a lot of land, over 170 thousand acres, is currently dug up by mining operations in the state. And reclaiming it- restoring it to what it once was- is expensive.
As the health of the coal industry declines, the ability of coal companies to pay for future mine clean up is in question. Our Inside Energy reporter Leigh Paterson sat down with Todd Parfitt, the Director of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, to talk about coal mine reclamation.
With the Consensus Revenue estimating group saying that revenues are dropping, Governor Matt Mead announced his budget this week. While his budget reduces spending that will impact some, it does not feature the deep cuts some feared. The governor is proposing to balance the budget by borrowing from reserves initially and paying it back with future income.
Thursday night the U.S. Senate voted to repeal so-called Obamacare – no, don’t tune out. We know Republicans have done that dozens of times, but this time is different, or so they say. This ‘repeal’ is expected to make it to President Obama’s desk, and, as Matt Laslo reports from Washington, Wyoming’s two senators both played a key role in the effort.
The West has been struggling with drought for a decade and a half, putting a serious strain on states along the Colorado River. Wyoming is in a special position since the Green River flowing from the Wind River Range is actually the main branch of the Colorado. And, as Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards reports, its one reason governor Mead wants to build 10 small reservoirs in the state in the next ten years to save water for Wyoming’s use before it flows away to other states.
After it was discovered that some of the suspects involved in last month’s terror attacks in Paris may have come to France as refugees, governors around the U.S. have announced that their states would not accept Syrian Refugees until more security checks could be promised. Wyoming governor Matt Mead was one of them. But, as Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard reports, Wyoming still doesn’t have a refugee resettlement program to bar Syrians from in the first place.
Americans love the “guy in the garage” inventor story. But invention is only one step: successful inventors need to get legal protection, and that can be tough if you’re working on your own. The average legal fees for just applying for a patent cost about seven thousand dollars. But now, that cost won’t be such a barrier for some inventors. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan reports, low-income Wyoming inventors can now get free help with their applications.
Most parents of public school students in Wyoming can access all sorts of data on how their child’s school is doing, but the public cannot see test scores or graduation rates for the state’s two online learning providers. That lack of transparency is a problem that those providers—and education advocates around the state—would like to see fixed. In part two of our series on virtual education, Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank explains why that problem exists in the first place.