Natural Resources & Energy

Click here for more information on Wyoming Public Media's Natural Resources & Energy.

Pilot Hill Project

The Wyoming Board of Land Commissioners closed a land exchange on Friday that secures 4,343 acres of land for the Pilot Hill Project. The exchange has been in the works for more than two years and traded 11,668 acres of isolated state trust land for the area now in Pilot Hill.

Yathin S Krishnappa via the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Hunter education is required for all hunters in Wyoming who were born after January 1, 1966. But the Wyoming Game and Fish Department's (WGFD) Hunter Mentor Program enables new hunters who haven't completed their hunter education to experience the hunt with a mentor who has taken the course.

Last week, the Bureau of Land Management held its first oil and gas lease sales in months, netting more than $8 million from drillers eyeing public lands primarily in New Mexico.


Orion Mine Finance

The likely new owners of four million acres of mineral rights and a million acres of land primarily in Wyoming is Orion Mine Finance, a subset of the investment management firm Orion Resource Partners. Jon Lamb, portfolio manager with Orion Resource Partners, spoke with Cooper McKim regarding the firm's thinking behind the purchase and their plans forward.

Savannah Maher


The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is considering changes to laws and regulations surrounding trapping. This comes after some encounters that members of the public and pets have had with traps near public areas. Some want trapping near trails banned, and others say pets should always be leashed. A working group has looked into solutions. Lander Region Wildlife Supervisor Jason Hunter spoke with Bob Beck to discuss what they are proposing.

Below the Dry Fork Station is the Integrated Test Center where Carbon XPRIZE teams were expected to set up shop. CO2Concrete's shelter is located near the middle of the picture.
Cooper McKim

The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE competition is nearing its finale, though with fewer teams on site than expected. The international carbon capture competition based in Gillette welcomed its second and last competitor to site this week after COVID-19 complications prevented all three other competitors from making the trek.

Kamila Kudelska

On a hot afternoon, a group of girls are going in circles playing musical chairs, except there are no chairs. Just orange cones. And they are all on mountain bikes.

Anna Rader


Medicine Bow National Forest is a popular area for recreation in Southeastern Wyoming, covering about one million acres of mountains, lakes, and more.

The National Forest Service is launching a plan for restoration in Medicine Bow. The Landscape Vegetation Analysis, or LaVA project, gives the Forest Service the ability to treat over two hundred thousand acres of the forest with prescribed burns and logging and build up to 600 miles of temporary roads. Although the Forest Service said the goal of the project is to create a healthier forest, environmental groups are critical of the plan.

The lab going up in Boise, Idaho, will be part of a new, larger U.S. Geological Survey building. And it would test environmental DNA, or eDNA, from around the nation. That is, instead of trying to find an invasive animal, like a single mussel or fish in a lake, scientists could just sample water to test for DNA of certain species.


National Forest Service

The National Forest Service is launching a new restoration project in Medicine Bow National Forest.

Rocky Mountain Power

Rocky Mountain Power's renewable energy program turns 20 this year. So far, it has helped over 20 Wyoming organizations start renewable energy projects.

William Perry Pendley’s nomination to lead the Bureau of Land Management may have been pulled, but he’s still effectively leading the organization. Two lawsuits are still trying to put that to an end. 


Wyoming Game and Fish Department

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is encouraging kids and their families to get outside and learn more about the state's wildlife with their "Inspire a Kid" program. The program kicked off in June with the release of the "Wyo-100" checklist which features 100 outdoor activities to do across the state.

Bernard Spragg

A study by the Bureau of Reclamation predicts that the current water levels in the Colorado River Basin will only postpone water shortages.

TERRA earth

Skies are hazy across the region thanks to the many wildfires burning in the West, and that smoke is more dangerous during the pandemic. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has greenlighted the expansion of hunting and fishing access to more than 2.3 million acres and 147 wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries across the nation.


State of Wyoming

Gov. Mark Gordon released a statement following a press release providing answers to some long-held questions regarding the state's bid for Occidental Petroleum's 4.5 million acres of mineral rights and one million acres of surface land.

Proposed Oxy Land Purchase
Governor's Office

Wyoming has withdrawn its $1.2 billion bid for land and minerals owned by Occidental Petroleum after it entered into a purchase and sale agreement with another entity.

Occidental announced it entered into the agreement with Orion Mine Finance to divest some of its Land Grant assets in Colorado, Utah, and primarily, Wyoming. It includes 4.5 million mineral acres and one million fee surface acres.

Brocken Inaglory / (CC BY-SA 3.0)

As August comes to an end, conditions are ripe for potential fires.

Many counties and federal agencies have issued fire restrictions throughout the state due to the prime fire conditions: hot, dry and windy.

Matthew Lachniet

Caves in Nevada can tell scientists about the history of the climate in the West and what it might look like in the future.

Casper Star Tribune

Three workers have filed a lawsuit against EOG Resources after a natural gas explosion left them with severe injuries. EOG is among the state's top producers of natural gas and has been the state's largest producer of oil since 2015.

After much anticipation, the Governor's Office announced this afternoon that Occidental Petroleum moved on with another parties' bid for its one million acres of land and four million acres of mineral rights in southern Wyoming. The company alerted Gov. Mark Gordon over the weekend that Wyoming was not selected, according to his office.

Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness Foundation

On Wednesday, August 12, a virtual reading will feature authors of the new book, Voices of Yellowstone's Capstone: A Narrative Atlas of the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness

The book includes stories of the wilderness area just north of Yellowstone National Park. It compiles stories from 30 authors and as many artists. 

J. David Ake/AP


A new analysis by the Great Plains Institute and the University of Wyoming describes possible steps that industries in the U.S. can take to lower their carbon dioxide emissions. They propose using carbon capture technology and transportation infrastructure that moves the carbon dioxide to storage locations underground.

Hana Vizcarra

Several policies that affect the west and the energy landscape here are back in the news, including proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, the Bureau of Land Management Waste Prevention Rule, and the Great American Outdoors Act.

On August 4, President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law. On July 29, three coalitions of environmental groups filed lawsuits challenging the final NEPA regulations. On July 29, the EPA made changes to how coal ash will be treated, including extending a deadline for discarding the waste in unlined ponds. On July 23, EPA the Nuclear Regulatory Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding hoping to boost production of uranium.

Hana Vizcarra, staff attorney at Harvard Law School's Environmental & Energy Law Program, spoke with Wyoming Public Radio's Cooper Mckim about why so much action is happening right now.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

Residents in Wyoming and across the country are reporting packages of mysterious seeds showing up at their doorstep, but the recipients never ordered them. 

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park is asking for the public's help in addressing its non-native mountain goat problem. The park announced Thursday, August 6, it is now accepting applications from qualified volunteers for a culling program. Culling is set to begin mid-September and wrap up by the middle of November.

Jacob W. Frank / NPS

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed the Great American Outdoors Act, a bipartisan bill being hailed as the biggest public lands and conservation legislation in a generation.

This story was powered by America Amplified, a public radio initiative.

Tourism to Yellowstone and Glacier national parks is humming along this summer despite the pandemic, but it appears that out-of-staters are bringing more than just their money with them.

 


National parks in the Mountain West are seeing a surge in visitors. And while tourism can spell good news for struggling local economies, some are worried not only about spikes in COVID-19 cases but also added pressure on the landscape.

Pages