Natural Resources & Energy

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National Park Service

The National Park Service has partnered with Grand Teton National Park Foundation to improve access to the Snake River.

Image of HollyFrontier's Cheyenne Refinery on its website
HollyFrontier

HollyFrontier Corporation, a Texas-based independent petroleum refiner, announced it plans to transform its Cheyenne Refinery to focus on a new product and reduce its overall workforce by about 75 percent. Rather than producing conventional diesel, it will now look to renewable diesel.

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

The Joint Revenue Committee began a discussion on how to transition to a monthly ad valorem tax collection schedule. During this year's budget session, legislators voted to slowly shift mineral producers from an 18-month lag in collection to a monthly schedule in order to reduce tax delinquency.

When I was little, my dad and I would walk behind our house in west-central Montana and stare at the ground. And then walk. Stare. Walk. Stare. We'd do this for hours, searching for that tasty, edible and highly prized morel mushroom.


National Park Service; Yellowstone Forever

Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks partially re-opened this week and visitors from around the country are already flocking to the celebrated destinations. The parks are not back to normal quite yet as many facilities remain closed including campgrounds, restaurants, and entrances into Yellowstone from Montana and Idaho. In a press conference, Governor Mark Gordon said the goal is not to have the destinations overwhelmed.

BLM's online reporting system lists lease suspensions in Wyoming, but not yet royalty relief approvals
BLM LR 2000 system

State and federal agencies are seeing an increase in requests for relief by oil and gas producers in Wyoming. The Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) online records system finds 69 requests have been approved for lease suspension in May.

Tom Mangelsen

Typically, grizzly bears give birth to single or twin cubs. But Grizzly 399 is not a typical bear. She's given birth to multiple sets of triplets. And this spring, the Yellowstone region's most famous bear showed up in Grand Teton National Park with four cubs by her side.

Yellowstone National Park/Creative Commons

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer, and an influx of tourists are expected to come through the state to visit some of Wyoming's national parks. But as with everything, this year is a little different.

NTEC's Antelope Mine - operated by Cloud Peak Energy at the time of the photo
Cloud Peak Energy

The Navajo Transitional Energy Company (NTEC) has laid off eight salaried employees and furloughed 93 hourly employees at its Antelope Mine. The move comes about a month after the company laid off 130 employees between its Spring Creek, in southern Montana, and Antelope mines.

The Bureau of Land Management is charging back-due rent on renewable energy projects on public lands, as the Department of Interior simultaneously works to give oil and gas operators financial relief.

Lauren Ponisio

According to a recent study, bees in areas with natural fires are more resilient in the face of a changing climate. Not only do these typically small wildfires clear away underbrush and dead trees, preventing the chances of a megafire, but they also provide important signals for native plants to grow, leading to an increase in native plant diversity. 

Everyone knows that living in the Rockies can get expensive. Headwaters Economics wanted to know why. The non-profit published new research this week that examines what causes housing to become so expensive in places where outdoor recreation is a main economic driver.

The new homepage for Arch Resources
Arch Resources

On May 15, Arch Coal officially changed its name to Arch Resources, Inc, in conjunction with the launch of its new website. The two moves are part of a larger shift in Arch's focus away from thermal coal.

USFWS Mountain-Prairie via CC BY 2.0

Sixty-eight and a half acres of land along the Wind River front range is now protected as a conservation easement - which is a voluntary legal agreement that permanently limits uses of the land to protect its conservation values.

Michael Curran

A University of Wyoming Ph.D. student is looking to improve reclamation on well pads for oil and gas. Michael Curran developed a way to monitor out-of-the-way areas with drone imagery hoping to get faster and more accurate data collection at a lower cost.

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brandon Valle

State Parks are opening this weekend to Wyoming residents only. To ensure that this is the case the Department of Outdoor Recreation and State Parks has instituted a reservation process that's only opened to Wyoming residents. Deputy Director Dave Glenn discusses the plan with Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck.

Robert Alescio

Cody has anxiously been waiting for Yellowstone National Park to open up since its economy depends on summer tourism. Mayor Matt Hall said the community is willing to try new ideas.

Ultra's production and expected declines over 2020
SEC Filings

On May 14, Ultra Petroleum Corp. filed voluntary petitions for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

The largest natural gas producer and taxpayer in Wyoming operates exclusively in western Wyoming with 3000 producing wells in the Jonah and Pinedale fields. The company has 151 full-time employees.

Duane Keown

Some conservation groups are pushing back against a potential long term restoration program in Medicine Bow National Forest.

From Brook Mine Revised Permit Application: Extent of declared alluvial valley floors (AVFs) at and adjacent to the proposed Brook Mine in the upper Tongue River Basin, Wyoming.
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) held an informal conference Wednesday to hear comments and objections to a revised permit application from Brook Mining Co., LLC, a subsidiary of Ramaco Carbon. The company hopes to mine thermal coal and then research, develop and manufacture products using it as the feedstock.

As the coronavirus pandemic hammers oil prices, the number of "orphaned" or abandoned oil wells could grow. A group wants to enlist newly unemployed oilfield workers in addressing the problem.

 


CC0 / Public Domain

The Wyoming entrance gates to Yellowstone National Park will open on Monday, May 18, at noon. Grand Teton National Park plans to open its gates at the same time.

The Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages 18 million acres of public land in Wyoming. Out of that, close to 11 million acres are leased for oil and gas production.

The rough map of Pacificorp's transmission expansion throughout the Mountain West
Pacificorp

A large western utility with customers in 10 western states including Wyoming is preparing to make its largest request for new renewable energy ever. It's a step towards executing its October 2019 Integrated Resource Plan.

In the past decade, the Decker Coal Mine sent its coal to several locations around the country. Since 2015, though, it's primary customer has been a Minnesota coal-fired power plant
U.S. Energy Information Administration

The past few months, COVID-19 has taken its toll on employment in the Powder River Basin. Weak market conditions have struck again with a new round of furloughs at the Decker Coal Mine just north of the Wyoming border in Montana.

Cooper McKim


The sun is beating down on a nearly empty gravel plot. Just a few weeks ago, trailers owned by oil field and pipeline workers lined this man camp.

Brandi Forgey

Part of a rancher's daily life is dealing with threats to their livestock. And one of the almost impossible threats to try and solve is depredation - especially if the culprit is a protected species, like the golden eagle.

Several members of the Joint Minerals Committee meeting over Zoom for the first time before the Special Session
Wyoming Legislature Youtube

The Joint Minerals, Business & Economic Development Interim Committee amended a bill that will determine how federal relief funds will eventually reach Wyoming businesses. Among other changes, the committee decided to double the allotted funds from $25 million to $50 million available.

A recent study shows that humans have been living in a specific temperature "niche" for at least 6,000 years, but climate change could force billions of people to live in areas outside of the niche by 2070. That could be intolerably hot, even lethal, for many of them.  

BNSF Subdivision Map in Wyoming
BNSF Railway

BNSF Railway announced this week it will close two facilities in Wyoming and lay off the related employees within the next two months. The Guernsey shop is set to close on July 7, 2020 laying off 92 people; the Donkey Creek facility in Rozet is set to close on June 5, 2020 laying off 38 people.

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