Natural Resources & Energy

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After congressional Democrats voted this week to give one of their own the power to subpoena the Trump administration, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt dismissed the move as a “witch hunt.”

Wind Farm in Medicine Bow, Wyoming
Tony Webster, Portland, OR

The House Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee moved forward on a bill that would allow coal mines to become a disposal site for decommissioned wind turbine parts if it's part of the company's reclamation plan.

As part of its budget plan, the Trump administration proposes spending $150 million for a new uranium reserve. That could help struggling uranium mining companies in the Mountain West. But the idea has its critics.

 


Light pollution is usually associated with big towns and cities. But a new kind of light pollution map shows it’s also a problem in rural areas, including in the Mountain West.

 


Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon praised a number of groups for working together as he officially signed his migration corridor executive order.

National Parks Service

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $56 million to improve water quality for farmers in watersheds across the country, including one effort in the state.

NPL project area in maroon. Location of National Parks, Wilderness Areas and Sensitive Lakes within the NPL CMAQ 4-km Modeling Grid
Bureau of Land Management

On February 7, the Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming State Office (WSO) vacated its approval of an oil and gas well and associated pipelines within Jonah Energy's Normally Pressured Lance (NPL) project in western Wyoming. The WSO remanded its decisions back to the local field office.

The Cordero Rojo Mine - taken when Cloud Peak was still the operator
Cloud Peak Energy

Governor Mark Gordon and the Navajo Transitional Energy Company have agreed to a Limited Waiver of Sovereign Immunity. The move resolves a barrier for the Navajo Nation-owned corporation in acquiring its mining permits.

Back in October, NTEC paid the recently bankrupt coal company Cloud Peak Energy in order to assume operations of three mines: Cordero Rojo, Spring Creek, and Antelope.

President Donald Trump unveiled his budget proposal Monday, and a significant cut to the Department of Interior is on the table.

The Trump administration wants to cut funding for all but one agency within the Interior, for a 16% overall reduction.

Naughton Power Plant - one of Rocky Mountain Power's plants that's scheduled to close earlier than anticipated
Pacificorp

Last year, the Wyoming legislature passed a bill called "New opportunities for Wyoming coal fired generation" requiring any utility retiring a coal plant earlier than scheduled would make a good faith effort to find a buyer.

Through the interim, legislators have been putting together a bill that would lay the groundwork for that to happen.

Nancy Patterson, Outdoor Recreation Planner, BLM Wyoming

Girls who want to learn how to mountain bike in Cody will soon have the space to do that. This summer, Cody will be the first community in Wyoming to have a mountain biking organization dedicated to young women. Little Bellas is a national mountain biking organization with the goal to empower women through cycling.

Pilot Hill Project and SE Group

The Pilot Hill Project recently released their draft plan outlining how the 5,500-acre parcel of land east of Laramie will be organized.

Natural gas prices over 5 years from Bloomberg Energy
Bloomberg

Adjusted for inflation, the natural gas spot price dropped to its lowest point in the shale revolution era. Fracking and horizontal drilling revolutionized the industry a decade ago, but the success has also cost producers with now record low prices hitting $1.77/million BTU today.

Utah Avalanche Center

Highways and some ski resorts in our region have had to close in recent days due to high avalanche danger.

Southern Utah’s red rock desert is home to towering canyons and the clear, shallow Escalante River. It’s also home to many ancient petroglyphs. Jonathan Paklaian is trying to find one along the banks of the river. He scrambles along a cliff wall until he spots it — a petroglyph he says was drawn more than 800 years ago by the Indigenous Fremont people. 

On January 27, oil and gas company Southland Royalty Company filed for bankruptcy. Wyoming's 15th largest natural gas producer said in a filing, "the debtor has suffered from the industry's general and sustained decline over the past several years." It went on to say the company would be taking drastic measures to get back to profitability.

Ivy Engel

This past December, the City of Laramie commissioned the Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) to create an emissions reduction plan with the end goal of net carbon neutrality - offsetting our carbon emissions with carbon removal techniques. 

The nation’s largest known lithium deposit is here in the Mountain West. As demand for electric vehicles grows — and with it demand for lithium, used to make EV batteries — one company hopes to harvest the mineral from that deposit in Northern Nevada.

Updated 2:24 p.m. MST 2/6/2020

In the face of ongoing litigation from tribes and conservation groups, the Trump administration has finalized plans to expand drilling, mining and grazing across southern Utah — including within the former bounds of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. 

Ameen Al-Ghetta/USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released its final version of a five-year step-down plan in December that aims to reduce elks' dependency on supplemental feed. 

President Donald Trump somewhat misrepresented his administration’s role in the expansion of domestic oil and gas production during his State of the Union address Tuesday. 

Conceptual design of the iCam
Ramaco Carbon

Ramaco Carbon expects to open its Sheridan-based research park, iCAM, and associated campus early this summer. The Kentucky coal company wants to use the facility to research and develop new uses for Wyoming coal from rebar to car products.

Ramaco CEO Randy Atkins said iCAM will feature lab operations along with pilot facilities to work on new research and development. He said the scope of the project has actually grown.

Planning and NEPA Map
Bureau of Land Management

The Trump Administration is looking at removing environmental review requirements from public land-use plans. The possible changes by the Bureau of Land Management is one of several suggestions in a document obtained by Bloomberg News.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements have long been part of land-use planning as the Bureau of Land Management balances energy production and conservation. Any plan must include a finalized environmental impact statement.

A stakeholder committee in Campbell County and Gillette is recommending a marketing firm to advertise the area as the Carbon Valley.

Bureau of Land Management via Attribution 2.0 Generic

The Wyoming Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comment on proposed changes to a resource management plan and environmental impact statement for wild horse management in southern Wyoming. 

Public Lands in Wyoming
Bob Wick, BLM / Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is looking to open access on public lands for more recreation opportunities.

NPS Photo / Stacey Skirvanek

A planned natural gas pipeline is being challenged by opponents who say its approval might violate the Endangered Species Act.

Kamila Kudelska

A small community ski hill west of Cody announced in January that it's unlikely to re-open next winter season.

New legislation introduced in the U.S. House Thursday would make it easier for conservation groups to remove cattle and sheep from federal lands. 

Savannah Maher

Karen Zoller's two rescue dogs, Macy and Izza, love to run and explore. So, she takes them to public trails around Fremont County where she can let them off leash.

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