Natural Resources & Energy

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Fontanelle Dam in southwestern Wyoming
Public Domain / U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

A massive federal infrastructure bill could help Wyoming make more use of the Fontanelle Dam, part of which has never been used. U.S. Senator John Barrasso sponsored the America's Water Infrastructure Act that supports projects for flood protection, repairing old irrigation systems, and upgrading dams.

Vicki Christiansen was sworn in this morning as Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. She’s only the second female to serve in this role in its 113-year history.

Electric Car
Fleet Karma

Wyoming U.S. Senator John Barrasso has introduced a bill, the Fairness For Every Driver Act, that would repeal the electric vehicle tax credit. The credit has been around since the early nineties and gives buyers up to $7,500 off an electric car.

Westmoreland Coal

Westmoreland Coal Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday. It operates in five states, including Wyoming, with a large mine near Kemmerer employing around 280 people. The company’s debt has skyrocketed in recent years, and it’s lost nearly all of its share price value.

A new report from the United Nations says mankind must act fast to slow global warming, a message that is particularly urgent in Utah and throughout a scorched Mountain West that saw a devastating fire season and patches of severe drought.

http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us-2018/?est=happening&type=value&geo=state

A new report from a United Nations' committee predicts climate change will wreak major havoc if action isn't taken by 2030. To ward off the catastrophic wildfires, severe weather and the displacement of millions of people, the report calls for an immediate reduction in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Wellcome Images

Two researchers at the University of Wyoming have contributed to a study that paints a picture of human population over the last 10,000 years.

A major U.S. coal producer filed for bankruptcy Tuesday morning.

Westmoreland Coal Company operates five mines in Montana, Wyoming and New Mexico. They employ more than a thousand people.

A male Sage Grouse (also known as the Greater Sage Grouse) in the USA
Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Sacramento, US

The U.S. Forest Service is proposing changes to sage grouse protections that would make it easier to develop — especially energy — on vast swaths of land where the chicken-like bird lives.

Willow Belden

Wyoming lawmakers are sticking by President Trump as he escalates his global trade war even as fear is growing that it will soon be felt from the state's oil fields all the way down to the electronics you rely on.

The Environmental Protection Agency is making $20 million available for states and tribes to voluntarily test drinking water for lead at schools and childcare facilities.

The nation’s first commercial oil-shale mine could be built here in our region. The Bureau of Land Management issued a decision that allows a mine in Utah’s Uinta Valley to move forward.

Biodiversity Institute

In its remaining months, the Biodiversity Institute is gearing up for a regional conference on citizen science. In late July, the University of Wyoming announced plans to shut down the institute, which promotes the study of living organisms by learners of all ages, from pre-schoolers to Ph.D. students.

The Department of Interior just released a new science policy that it says will increase transparency. But conservationists are concerned. 

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

It's been a week since Wyoming lost management authority of the Yellowstone grizzly bear. This at a time when grizzly activity is increasing.

Remnants of a hurricane from the Pacific Ocean are dumping rain throughout the Mountain West region today and tomorrow.

In recent years, President Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax.

“I think it’s a big scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money,” he said on Fox News in 2015.

But a recent report by the U.S. Department of Transportation predicts global temperature will rise seven degrees by 2100. That’s catastrophic.

Bob Wick / wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org

A recent study shows that BLM-managed lands produced $3 billion in revenue. The study called “Quantifying the Economic Contributions of Wildlife-Related Recreation on BLM Lands,” took into account twelve western states including Wyoming in 2016. Outdoor activities provide 27-hundred jobs that pay workers $88 million a year and retail sales produce even more: $331 million a year. 

An important but little-known public lands fund expired this weekend. 

U.S. Forest Service

Fall might be in the air, but wildfires continue to burn across the country. One of the largest is in Wyoming and has reached over 60,000 acres.

Cooper McKim

Dave Hohl is a long-time resident of Pinedale, a town surrounded by oil and gas operations in western Wyoming. In 2008, Hohl went cross-country skiing and he noticed a heavy brown haze.

Maggie Mullen

When visiting Yellowstone National Park or any parks in our region, there's a lot to consider. Will traffic be bad? What about the weather? Will I see elk, buffalo, maybe even a grizzly bear? And then there's something more basic. Will I be able to find a toilet that's clean, has toilet paper, and if I'm lucky, somewhere to wash my hands? You could be in for a surprise, since the park recently added squat toilets.

A paper published this week reports that a recent fossil discovery in Central Utah is changing what researchers know about the emergence of large flowering trees both here in the Mountain West, and around the world.

Piikani National Administration

Native American tribes are celebrating the decision by a U.S. district court judge to re-list the Yellowstone grizzly bear as threatened. Numerous tribes sued the federal government to stop the de-listing and over 200 U.S. and Canadian tribes signed a grizzly bear treaty to protect the species. Blackfeet member Tom Rodgers is an advisor for the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders. He said efforts to protect the grizzly galvanized tribes around the world.

On Wednesday, the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources held a hearing on proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This comes right after a court ruling on Monday that returned federal protections back to the Yellowstone grizzly bear. Republicans have long been pushing for the modernization of the ESA, including Wyoming's U.S. Senator John Barrasso.

In numerous counties around Wyoming, collaborative committees are meeting to try to decide what to recommend the U.S. Congress do with dozens of wilderness study areas that have been stuck in limbo for over 40 years. These areas lack the permanent protections of wilderness but are also closed to most kinds of recreation or development.

Terray Sylvester, courtesy of the author


From the Gros Ventre Valley of Wyoming to a Walmart parking lot in Logan, Utah, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb traveled to all kinds places for his new book, Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter. Goldfarb says beavers have super powers. In fact, he calls them ecological and hydrological swiss army knives. And in the right circumstances, Goldfarb says they can tackle all kinds of problems that plague the West. Wyoming Public Radio’s Maggie Mullen spoke with the author ahead of his visit to Teton County Library Wednesday, September 26 starting at 5 p.m.  

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission has approved a set of goals and a strategic plan that will further the department’s mission of “Conserving Wildlife and Serving People.”

Jimbo Stevenson

Bull elk keep their antlers for a significantly longer time than moose or deer, and new research shows that might be to help protect them from predators. 

Wildfires in the West can destroy homes and create a lot of really nasty smoke. But a new study from the University of Montana says it also helps grow some really great food for elk.

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