Natural Resources & Energy

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The U.S. military is asking Congress for control over more public land in Nevada, and much of that could come at the expense of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, the largest wildlife refuge outside of Alaska.

That has the state of Nevada, environmentalists and tribes all stepping up to condemn the proposal.

A nonprofit conservation group is launching what it says is one of the largest lawsuits ever brought under the Endangered Species Act. 

Courtesy Jackson Hole Community Housing Trust

The lack of affordable housing in Teton County is affecting state agencies like the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

Statewide Chronic Wasting Disease Distribution (All Species)
Wyoming Game and Fish Department

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has released a draft of its Chronic Wasting Disease management plan.

Rock climbing is making its debut in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the U.S. national team is training in Salt Lake City. For the eight elite athletes who make up the team, the games will represent a high point in their career.

US shale gas map
https://www.eia.gov/maps/images/shale_gas_lower48.jpg

Nearly three dozen Wyoming landowners are suing Occidental Petroleum Corporation and its recently acquired company Anadarko Petroleum Corporation alleging they monopolized both the oil and gas market and the leasing rights in Laramie County. Occidental Petroleum acquired Anadarko this year in a deal valued at $55 billion and is in the process of finalizing the sale.

The Trump Administration is continuing to deploy park rangers at the U.S.-Mexico border to help with enforcement. And while national parks and other public lands in the West are feeling the effects, it’s unclear just how much.

It’s been one of the driest starts to the water year across parts of the Mountain West, but that doesn’t mean there’s cause for alarm just yet.

Bear River State Park

Hooved animals, known as ungulates, are known to "surf the green wave" and follow the nutritious spring growth as they migrate. But researchers have found that bison in Yellowstone National Park are not only surfing the green wave, they're also creating their own nutritious lawns and reducing their reliance on the wave.

U.S. Forest Service

The number of non-native lake trout in Yellowstone Lake is on the decline. Yellowstone biologists are optimistic that this means the native cutthroat trout population may be recovering.

mule deer
USFWS Mountain-Prairie via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The Wyoming Department of Transportation's (WYDOT) efforts to improve wildlife crossings in the state have gotten a boost from the federal government.

Third-quarter 2019 data includes 529 mines that reported positive figures to MSHA. Third quarter 2019 reporting mines represent 99% of those that reported positive figures in the second quarter of 2019.
S & P Global Market Intelligence

Coal mine employment in the U.S. has fallen to nearly its lowest level since the industry began reporting it. The industry has lost 2,206 jobs since the start of this year, according to updated data from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

Lucia R.M. Martino, Smithsonian

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. is featuring a portrait exhibition that was created by a University of Wyoming (UW) professor.

Jimmy Emerson / Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Campbell County's local governments are supporting a project that hopes to bring a new Department of Energy rare earth laboratory to the area.

Charlie Craighead

Scientists at the University of Wyoming wanted to know how fish fare in streams near energy development. Their results were recently published in the Journal of Applied Ecology and paint a picture of how human disturbance and less water can crunch the habitat that some fish need to survive and thrive.

Maggie Mullen


One day last June, Susannah Roberts and her boyfriend, Reilly Davis, drove out to Leazenby Lake, just outside of Laramie, Wyoming. They had their black lab Teton with them, and they fished in the clear water.

Wyoming Women in Ag

When people think of women involved in agriculture, maybe they think of them paying the bills or raising children and keeping the workers fed, but the stereotype for Wyoming women is changing.

Cooper McKim

Your phone, your house, your car. It all originally comes from the earth. Artist Nina Elder is fascinated by the complexity of land being at once something beautiful, sometimes sacred, and often extremely valuable - providing resources that the modern world depends on. Through long journeys to mining-based communities, Elder collects found materials and creates intricate drawings that help tell the multilayered stories that lands have to tell.

She's been supported by the Andy Warhol Foundation, Rauschenberg Foundation, and the Pollock Krausner Foundation. Elder has been features in VICE Magazine, PBS and Art In America. She's also held positions as an Art + Environment Research Fellow at the Nevada Museum of Art and Polar Lab Research Fellow. Wyoming Public Radio's Cooper McKim speaks with Elder about her latest exhibit now at the University of Wyoming's Visual Arts Building called Nina Elder: Accumulations.

Agriculture, forestry and other land uses are responsible for about a quarter of human-caused greenhouse gases. That “land sector” holds huge potential to cultivate climate solutions, too, according to a new study.

A new white paper from the non-profit Headwaters Economics says transferring public lands from the federal government to Western states would generate more revenue, but also comes with high economic costs.

Joe Giersch

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) pointed to impacts from climate change in its November 21 listing of two stonefly species. The meltwater lednian and the western glacier stonefly were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Both primarily inhabit Glacier National Park, but the western glacier stonefly also has populations in Grand Teton National Park.

 Comparison of Natural Gas Production and Price Forecasts.
Consensus Revenue Estimating Group

Natural gas producers in Wyoming are facing a dramatic new normal as prices drop and supply explodes. The state Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) report estimates natural gas production is falling at similar levels to coal projected to be down nearly 40 percent this year from 2009.

A report out this week shows a significant number of Americans don't have access to basic services like running water. And many of the places that lack plumbing are in the Mountain West.

“Small pockets of communities without complete plumbing exist in every state,” write the researchers, who also say the gap isn’t driven by people who choose to live off-the-grid, but instead by a lack of basic infrastructure. 

Corporations Committee hears from its first public commenter
Cooper McKim

A crowd lined a room in the Wyoming Liquor Division as the Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee heard testimony on two bills that would affect the solar industry. After nearly four hours of impassioned speaking, both bills died on split seven to seven votes.

Naughton Power Plant; Rocky Mountain Power's coal-fired power plant looking at early unit closures
Pacificorp

Wyoming's Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee tabled a bill that would have changed how the Public Service Commission (PSC) oversees coal-fired power plants that are closing early. The bill considered requiring the PSC to consider socioeconomic factors, reliability impacts and any other information deemed necessary when looking at early retirement.

A new study shows that global wind speeds have increased in the last decade, and that may allow wind turbines in the Mountain West to generate more clean energy.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will be discussing bills to fund programs that help pay for public schools and infrastructure in rural areas this Thursday.


U.S. Natural Gas dry production, consumption and exports (2000-2018)
U.S. Energy Information Administration

Natural gas had a banner year in 2018 with production, consumption and exports all hitting record highs. Production actually saw its largest year-over-year growth by volume since the Energy Information Administration began collecting the data in the 1930.

Update November 15, 2019 at 3:30p.m.:  

According to Travis Duncan with Colorado Parks and Wildlife: "The commission voted to dismiss both citizen petitions on allowing atlatls and stone broadheads for use in hunting big game at today's meeting. The Commission noted there are no quality standards on sharpness of blades, weight or design on stone projectiles which can lead to inconsistent performance and more injured animals on the landscape."

The original story continues below.

Preferred portfolio cited in the PSC's order to initiate an investigation
Wyoming Public Service Commission

The Wyoming Public Service Commission has initiated an investigation into Rocky Mountain Power's (RMP) Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) filed on October 18, 2019.

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