Natural Resources & Energy

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Bob Beck

The Wyoming Legislature wrapped up its work this week with concerns about the future. A downturn in oil prices and worries about a drop in investment income has lawmakers thinking that they may need to make some difficult decisions in the not-too-distant future.

www.nrel.gov

There were only six bills centered on renewables this session, but you'd be forgiven to think there were many more. Even when it wasn't the topic of conversation, renewables were on lawmaker's minds.

Justin Farrell

A book out this month takes an unusual look at the role of the rich in American West, examining it through interviews with the super wealthy living in Teton County.

Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards sat down with author and sociologist Justin Farrell to talk about what he learned while researching Billionaire Wilderness: The Ultra-Wealthy and the Remaking of the American West.

A new government watchdog report published Wednesday says taxpayers are shouldering the burden of cleaning up the nation’s thousands of abandoned hardrock mines on public lands.

Princeton University Press

Compared to elsewhere in the country, the disparity between the rich and the poor is widest in Teton County, and a new book takes a sociological look at the problem.

Researchers in our region are arguing for new models to better plan for a recent climate phenomenon: flash droughts. According to a new paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change, these events present new challenges for climate predictors.

The deadline is tonight to submit public comment on sweeping changes to one of the nation’s bedrock environmental laws.

In today’s partisan political climate, one thing most Westerners seem to agree on is the need to protect wildlife corridors.

Wildlife corridors are historic wildlife migration routes. And sometimes, those routes need protecting. It could be as simple as restoring some native species, or it could involve building a grassy overpass over a busy highway.

Catherine Wheeler

The Northern Wyoming Community College District has sold its mountain campus, a historic ranch called Spear-O-Wigwam, to two local families.

WTI Crude pricing falling 20 percent since Friday, March 6.
oilprice.com

Oil prices fell 25 percent today in their steepest drop since 1991. The record stumble raises concerns of lasting impacts to Wyoming's revenue picture and energy producers in the state.

Industrial Hemp
Mountain Xpress

The Eastern Shoshone Tribe could soon take steps to launch its own cannabis business on the Wind River Reservation. The tribe's General Council, a governing body composed of all tribal members over the age of 18, will take up the issue during a meeting on Saturday​, March 14.

The Bureau of Land Management’s plan to move its headquarters out west is costing the agency around half the employees asked to make the move, according to a new report from federal watchdog Government Accountability Office.


A few of the changes in an amendment adopted by the Senate
Legislative Service Office

An amended bill to move ad valorem tax payments from an 18-month to a monthly schedule has passed its first hurdle on the Senate floor.

Ad valorem taxes are a property tax paid to counties from mineral companies. Wyoming is currently missing out on about $130 million in delinquent ad valorem taxes, according to the Wyoming County Commissioners Association. 

Wikipedia via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license

The Laramie City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to accept recommendations that hope to make Laramie carbon neutral by 2050. The recommended actions will offset municipal emissions with carbon removal techniques, and the city will turn to renewable resources where possible.

NARM Map
Peabody Energy

Peabody Energy laid off 50 temporary employees who worked at the North Antelope Rochelle mine (NARM) in southern Campbell County on Thursday, the company confirmed.

"We routinely match staffing levels with production needs and the reduction in temporary workers is consistent with that approach," wrote Charlene Murdock, Peabody director of corporate communications.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

The Wyoming Senate is scheduled to debate a bill today to set up a gaming commission who will determine how to regulate the growth in video gambling in the state.

Tufts University

Federal lands are much better at reducing habitat loss and protecting endangered species than private lands, according to a new study out this week by researchers at Tufts University and the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife.

Mike Lockhart

Wyoming is one of the most important golden eagle habitats in North America. But the iconic raptors are facing a potential population decline due to conventional and renewable energy development and other human-caused threats.

As water becomes more scarce in the Mountain West, a new analysis finds that a surprising amount is being used to raise cattle.

Wild mushroom foragers in the Mountain West may soon have a new and easy way to tell if their pickings are poisonous. 

Wyoming Game and Fish

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is offering a women only Hunter Education course in Laramie. The class will take place March 5 and 6 with a field day March 7.

BLM photo by Bob Wick

Wyoming's Red Desert is the largest unfenced swath of land in the continental U.S. Exploring it can be daunting, since there's little signage or information online. The Wyoming Outdoor Council is hoping to change that with a new map of the landscape.

InciWeb

The U.S. Forest Service is rethinking how it employs firefighters.

Part of the land where the proposed Brook Mine may be dug
Cooper McKim

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has deemed a mine permit application technically complete for the second time. It's a step towards Ramaco Carbon mining between 2 and 5 million tons of thermal coal near Sheridan.

In 2017, the DEQ also signed off at this stage for Ramaco's proposed Brook Mine, but issues arose from nearby landowners, a coal company with conflicting rights, and a landowners' advocacy group. The controversy resulted in a contested-case hearing in front of the independent review board, the Environmental Quality Council (EQC).

Keith Weller / US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service

The Wyoming Business Council has released a new report summarizing the status of the state's beef industry.

Melodie Edwards

The Holy Grail in the fight to stop climate change is reaching a bipartisan solution. To reach that end, the group Citizen Climate Lobby sent their regional director Bill Barron around Wyoming this month to engage in community conversation.

At his stop in Laramie, Wyoming Public Radio's Melodie Edwards sat down with Barron to hear about the proposal his organization says is already drawing consensus from many sides: a bipartisan bill proposing a carbon fee and dividend plan. The group is putting together action teams in the state too. You can learn more at their website

Online GIS Maps; Cooper McKim

Wyoming legislators are working through two bills that would lay the groundwork to study and potentially buy over a million acres of land and four million acres of mineral rights across the southern part of the state.

The 1,010,900 acres of land in question sits within six Wyoming counties: Lincoln, Uinta, Carbon, Albany, Laramie, and Sweetwater. Local officials are beginning to grapple with the potential risks and rewards of the deal.

Catherine Wheeler

Devils Tower National Monument has begun construction on a new project that will make the park more accessible, especially for people with physical limitations.

There will be three phases of improvements made, and the main goal is to make the first overlook of the Tower more accessible.

Devils Tower Chief of Interpretation Nick Myers says focus will be improving the trail from the parking lot to the base of tower.

City of Laramie

The Laramie City Council voted in early February to stop collecting plastics numbered three through seven in the single stream recycling program.

On the 100th anniversary of the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, the nonpartisan group Taxpayers for Common Sense published a report Tuesday calling for an increase in the royalty rate on publicly owned oil and gas.

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