You might have heard a strange sound this last Tuesday morning around 10 a.m. It was a sigh of relief from ranchers, oil and gas workers and miners all over the West at the announcement that the greater sage grouse won't be listed as an endangered species. But you probably also heard the slapping of foreheads from wildlife advocates who say the grouse needs full federal protections if it’s going to survive.
Last weekend Wyoming’s annual Sage Grouse hunt began. Many hunters were worried that this could be the last hunt in a while since the bird was facing the possibility of getting listed as an endangered species. When the chicken-sized bird started seeing declines in the 1990’s, some states stopped Sage Grouse hunting altogether. Wyoming continued its hunt after changing the start date and limiting the take. That will continue even as the state addresses mandated conservation efforts. One of those who has studied the Sage Grouse for many years is Doctor Jeff Beck, no relation to our News Director. But he is an associate professor of Wildlife Habitat Restoration Ecology at the University of Wyoming. He’s also an avid Sage Grouse hunter. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more.
In a joint press conference with President Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a commitment put a price on carbon emissions. The plan is a cap and trade program which would effectively make china the world’s biggest carbon market. It is a key part of joint efforts by the US and China to find cleaner ways to burn and use coal. Inside Energy’s Leigh Paterson recently traveled to one of China’s main coal-producing provinces, to see what the country is doing to clean up coal.
In recent years, solar energy has gone from the fringe to mainstream. Solar costs have dropped dramatically while solar installations have similarly increased. Solar still provides less than 1 percent of the nation’s power, and in states like Wyoming, it’s virtually nonexistent. But many predict solar power will play a much larger role in the future.
Among them is Philip Warburg, author of the recently-published book Harness the Sun: America’s Quest for a Solar-Powered Future. He joined Wyoming Public Radio’s energy reporter, Stephanie Joyce, to talk about what he learned on his tour of solar projects across America.
President Obama has announced the U.S. will accept at least 10-thousand Syrian refugees over the next year. Right now it’s unclear where those refugees will go when they arrive in the U.S. But we do know one place they won’t be heading: Wyoming. It’s still the only state without a resettlement program. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard explains.
When energy booms bust, the public is often left responsible for the cleanup. That’s because while most states and the federal government make companies put up at least some money in advance to pay for any mess they leave behind, it’s often not enough. In Wyoming, the bust of the coal bed methane industry has left the state responsible for plugging thousands of wells, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars. Now, with both oil and natural gas prices in a slump, Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports on whether history is bound to repeat itself.
The National Outdoor Leadership School, or NOLS, turns 50 years old this Fall. The organization teaches outdoor safety and wilderness medicine and also has programs for leadership, networking, and general adventure in the outdoors. NOLS was founded in Wyoming and is still headquartered in Lander, where it serves tens of thousands of students each year. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard caught up with John Gans, the executive director at NOLS, to hear his take on the school’s 50-year legacy.
Sitting in an airplane is usually cramped and stressful. But sitting in the pilot’s seat is a different story. For people who really love piloting a plane there is one ultimate dream: living in an airpark. That’s a planned community where your garage is a hangar and the runaway is in your backyard. Wyoming Public Radio’s Miles Bryan visited an airpark just outside the town of Alpine, and has this report.
Every year, a few hundred migrant workers come to Wyoming on H-2A agriculture visas to tend cattle and sheep. The region’s reliance on that program was full display recently in Wyoming’s Little Snake River Valley—where more than 100 ranch hands went head-to-head in an all-day soccer tournament. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Aaron Schrank reports, the event comes as the industry faces some big changes.