Natural Resources & Energy

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Asiir via CC-BY-SA-2.5

For years, a wide variety of stakeholders have been working to come up with how to better manage prairie dogs in the Thunder Basin National Grassland. On Tuesday, Dec. 1, the U.S. Forest Service announced its final decision for its management plan amendment.

Peabody Energy's share price over the past year
Seeking Alpha

In a November federal filing, Peabody Energy reported it would no longer be paying into a certain healthcare benefit plan for retired miners who are on or eligible for Medicare or provide life insurance to retirees. That includes those in Wyoming.

Patrick Amole via wyomingbusiness.org/ERP

Wyoming will double its contribution of federal CARES Act funds to the oil and gas industry through the Energy Rebound Program.

TOM MANGELSEN

Grizzly 399 is arguably one of the most famous grizzly bears in the U.S. due to the amount of attention she has gotten over the years. This year is no different.

She and her four cubs have been spotted outside of Grand Teton National Park, and Jackson residents started worrying she could be in danger.

AMEEN AL-GHETTA/USFWS

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is starting the process to rework its elk feedground management plan. The first step is a public comment period.

For the past couple of years, Game and Fish has grappled with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a neurological disease that is deadly to deer, elk and moose. A public process looking at CWD management resulted with the need to examine the management of the 22 elk feedgrounds in northwest Wyoming. 

Frank Schulenburg / CC BY-SA 4.0

Wild turkey hunting didn't start in the state until 1955.

But the process began in 1935, when the Wyoming Game and Fish Department traded sage grouse with New Mexico for 15 Merriam's Turkeys. There were nine hens and six toms.

Utah State University

Researchers at the University of Wyoming are working to identify invasive plants using drones and satellites.

Invasive plant extension specialist Dan Tekiela said invasive grasses in Wyoming create fuel that makes fires larger. He said they also decrease biodiversity and hurt the ecosystem, which can harm agriculture.

Cover page of supplemental draft environmental impact statement for the converse county oil and gas project
Bureau of Land Management

Multiple energy companies, Wyoming and Converse County are hoping to see a final decision signed that would enable a major oil and gas project to move forward before the Biden administration arrives on Jan. 20, 2021.

Several officials gave an update to the state legislature's Select Federal Natural Resource Management committee.

Diego Delso

Researchers at the University of Wyoming are studying how moose cool themselves down.

UW researcher Tana Verzuh said the moose population in the Snowy Range is declining and that rising temperatures may be a cause.

Location for Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind project. Several in public comment spoke from the county, along with a project official
Power Company of Wyoming

The state legislature's Joint Revenue Committee set aside time during a recent meeting to learn how the wind industry is currently being taxed in the state; no bill on the subject was under discussion.

As the pandemic surges across the nation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday advised against families and friends gathering for Thanksgiving. But there is one potentially safe way to see relatives and celebrate the holiday – camping.

Allegations of negligence are part of a $270 million wrongful death claim against the National Park Service after an accident in Utah’s Arches National Park earlier this year.

Doug Smith

Trumpeter Swans were first documented in Yellowstone National Park in the early 1900s, and they were common until the 1960s when their population started to decline. By 2010, there were only about 60 swans in the park. The loss of these birds has brought together more than seven different federal, state, and private agencies in the quest to bring them back to their former numbers.

BlackRockSolar

  

Environmental groups are hoping to see action on climate, energy, and environmental justice when President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.

Proposed projects or LWCF funding from the Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land / The Trust for Public Land

The Interior Department is facing criticism for putting up barriers to conservation projects nationwide funded through the new Great American Outdoors Act.

Screetshot of initial court document in a case that's been ongoing for four years
Court Listener

Last March, a federal court ordered the U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management to provide better analysis of the climate impacts of oil and gas leasing on public land. After receiving that analysis, the judge rules it's not enough.

USGS

Back in 2018, the U.S. Geological Survey and several Western states formed the Corridor Mapping Team, a first-of-its-kind collaboration among state and federal wildlife biologists to map ungulate migrations.

Last week, the team published its first volume of maps, which document more than 40 big-game migration routes in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

US Forest Service

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team assembled by the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland has completed its assessment for the Mullen Fire area. 

Researchers have found that it’s not just forests on the landscape that can help mitigate climate change. Meadows also provide an efficient way to keep carbon out of the atmosphere.

McFadden Wind Farm
Leigh Paterson

The Joint Corporations, Elections & Political Subdivisions Committee voted to sponsor and move forward with a bill that would effectively raise the tax on generating wind energy in Wyoming. The bill removes the three year tax exemption given to companies before a $1 per megawatt hour tax sets in.

Panthera

For the past 17 years, researchers have been tracking mountain lions, also called pumas, north of Jackson Hole. When they started the research, the population was around 20 to 25 adults, but now it's down to about 10 adults. 

The U.S. is now officially out of the Paris climate accord

Climate policy is mixed around the Mountain West, but many states are seeing action and a transition to renewable energy regardless of federal leadership. 

President-elect Joe Biden wants to move the U.S. away from fossil fuel development, but he will face some challenges.

  

In May of 2020, the Converse County trailer park quickly emptied out after the pandemic hit and oil and gas activity declined.
Cooper McKim

Gov. Mark Gordon will use $15 million in CARES Act funds to create the Energy Rebound Program, a program intended to boost oil and gas activity in Wyoming. At the moment, there are five active rigs in the state compared to 25 at the beginning of the year.

Stephanie Joyce

What do you think of the Biden administration’s position on the future of energy in the United States?

By contributing your comment, you consent to the possibility of having it read on the air. 

WPM/NPR Community Discussion Rules

2016 presidential map including vote map of Campbell County
New York Times

In 2016, President Donald Trump won Wyoming by the largest margin in the country. In Campbell County, he took 86.7 percent of the vote - the second highest margin in the state, only behind Crook County. This time, there was an even higher voter turnout. Still, Gillette Mayor Louise Carter-King said it still felt different.

Vanessa Chavarriaga


Vanessa Chavarriaga loves to be outside, whether it's floating down a river in the desert or ice skating on a frozen alpine lake. And when she posts photos of her adventures, she includes information about where exactly she was.

Michael Dillon

Climate change is forcing insects to move to higher elevations.

Stevenson's Hyrail Services, LLC early on during the pandemic
Cooper McKim

Local businesses serving the energy industry in Wyoming are expressing anxiety over expected policy changes from President-elect Joe Biden.

Cevin Iemus, owner of Land Surveying, Incorporated in Gillette, said he expects his bottom line to be greatly impacted by this election. He's thinking about Biden's potential ban of oil and gas permits on federal land. For now, Iemus expects a surge of new permits and activity to outrun those changes, "but it's going to take a quick turn and go downhill."

Rail Tie Wind Project project location based on the ConnectGen website
ConnectGen

The state board of land commissioners has voted against leasing land to a renewable energy company planning to build a wind farm in Albany County. Local opponents raised concerns during the public meeting about the project's various impacts.

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