Natural Resources & Energy

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Yellowstone River
National Park Service

The official non-profit of the National Park Service has set up a fund to help repair parks once they reopen.

Bob Wick / Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management is confirming that federal employees are back at work and getting paid to process drilling permits. Conservation groups are pushing back.

Two bills are currently moving through the legislature that would give the Wyoming Game and Fish Department more flexibility to manage the collecting of antlers on the landscape. Right now, people can collect them anytime between January 1 and May 1 in designated areas of the state.

Yellowstone officials try to make it very clear that tourists should not get close to wild bison. There are posters, educational videos and park rangers who warn people to stay clear of wildlife. But all that education might not be cutting it, according to a recent study. 

Cloud Peak Energy's share price over the course of a year
Seeking Alpha

The coal company Cloud Peak Energy filed a stockholder rights plan, more commonly known as a poison pill provision, with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week. It's a way of protecting management from a hostile takeover from a new investor. 

Public Domain

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon asked the legislature's Joint Appropriations Committee to fund a $10 million carbon capture test project. Gordon said the money would be provided to the University of Wyoming's School of Energy Resources.

FY 2019-2020 Biennium General Fund and Budget Reserve Account Revenue Forecast Comparison (M = millions).
CREG

Following a bout of weak oil prices, state revenue from the industry is expected to go down dramatically, according to a Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) report. It predicts the state will collect about $67 million less this biennium than forecast in October of last year. The overall contribution of severance taxes, investment income and royalties are still forecast to be higher than in the last biennium.

Missouri has already made it a crime to label something like a veggie burger or tissue grown in a lab as “meat.” Now, other states are considering doing the same.

Wyoming legislators are scheduled to discuss a bill this week that would prohibit the word “meat” from appearing on a package that does not contain edible parts of what was previously a live animal.  

Lisa Robertson

Over the weekend, people in Wyoming took part in a worldwide rally against trophy hunting for the first time.

A Jan. 31 deadline is approaching for the Drought Contingency Plans, a set of agreements between seven states about how to manage dwindling water supplies, including here in the Mountain West.

The region has been in a drought for 19 years now, and water levels continue to retreat in major reservoirs.

BLM eplanning text recounting the deadline change
Bureau of Land Management

The public is getting extra time to voice opposition for proposed changes to an Obama-era sage grouse rule. The Bureau of Land Management is extending the deadline after some technical mishaps related to the partial government shutdown.

Winter is when the federal government starts spending dollars to prepare for the wildfire season, but the ongoing shutdown has put some of this preparation in limbo.

As the partial government shutdown stretches toward a third week, both the public and public employees alike are feeling the pain. But there’s another casualty: public information.

Jen Tennican

A Jackson Hole documentary filmmaker, Jennifer Tennican, is premiering her film "Hearts of Glass" at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Northern California later this month. The film follows the trials of the first 15 months of the Vertical Harvest project.

CASC Regions and Consortia
U.S. Geological Survey

The government shutdown is affecting federally-funded climate centers across the country, including here in our region. 

Despite the government shutdown, there's been a handover at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Former Secretary Ryan Zinke is out, deputy secretary David Bernhardt is in, with a continuance of the Trump Administration policy of energy dominance.

KUER's Diane Maggipinto spoke with Nate Hegyi of KUER's Mountain West News Bureau to sort it out, starting with Zinke's wins and losses.

Conniemod, Wikipedia Creative Commons

Drought conditions are becoming more common across the West, and Wyoming lawmakers are looking at some ideas for how to conserve and replenish water resources. Last year, lawmakers failed to fully fund an $80 million dam project on the Wyoming-Colorado border, instead, giving about $5 million to try to persuade Colorado to join forces since ranchers there could benefit, too.

A new study shows US greenhouse gas emissions are going up. The natural gas boom is partially to blame. It’s a big industry in our region.

Department of the Interior

A new Executive Order posted Monday in the Federal Register is aimed at fire risk reduction. It prioritizes "active management" on about eight million acres of public lands. That's a catch-all phrase that includes logging.

Taylar Stagner

Rural communities have issues getting fresh nutritious foods in the best of circumstances. But in Native communities, it can sometimes be next to impossible especially if you are on a fixed income.

Unlike previous administrations, President Trump’s Interior Department has directed national parks to keep their gates open while furloughing most workers during this latest government shutdown. But as the partial shutdown enters its third week, critics argue the parks are becoming unsafe.

Erik Neumann

2018 was an interesting year for our region. From elections and population growth to an evolving debate about public lands use, the Mountain West News Bureau tackled all kinds of stories. We took a look back.

Tony Webster, Wikimedia Commons

Energy companies in Wyoming are offering programs for customers to switch to renewable energy. Customers can pay between $5 and $15 per month to make their homes completely carbon neutral. Partial plans are also offered.

There's no doubt skiing can be a very expensive sport, and now there's a concern that mergers and acquisitions could make it even more pricey. So is it increasingly a sport for the wealthy?


A new rule proposed last week by the U.S. Interior Department could make it harder for news outlets and non-profit organizations to get public information on a range of federal issues.

On Thursday, Democrats take back control of the House. Among several priorities is reviving a popular bipartisan conservation program that’s been dead for months.

James St. John via Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

2018 was a busy year for the Steamboat Geyser. The hot spring located in Yellowstone National Park erupted a record 31 times. Before this year, it was known to only erupt periodically.

Irina Zhorov of Wyoming Public Radio

Three PacifiCorp coal-fired power plants in Wyoming reported contamination of groundwater earlier this year above state or federal limits. That includes the Dave Johnston, Jim Bridger and Naughton plants. PacifiCorp reported detecting selenium, arsenic, lithium and many more polluting elements. A recent report from Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental law firm, drew attention to the information. It highlighted 67 plants across 22 states with the same problem.

Cartoon sketch field pumpjack
sapunkele

Minority owners of oil and gas rights are seeing excessive profits from a certain practice, according to Gillette Senator Michael Von Flatern. He plans to introduce a bill that would limit some of the benefits minority owners receive in January’s full legislative session... specifically when some landowners with minimal property rights are draining oil and gas owned primarily by other operators.

Comparison of benefits treatment in bankruptcies
Peter Morgan / Sierra Club

Filings from Westmoreland show it’s taking a different approach to its financial obligations from other recently bankrupt coal companies. The coal company is seeking to default on nearly $400 million owed in pension funds, black lung claims and retiree healthcare benefits. Three other coal companies, Alpha, Peabody and Arch all passed along those obligations to re-organization debtors with value reduced in some cases.

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