Natural Resources & Energy

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

Eric Barnes

For the last four years, Green River and Little Snake River basin ranchers have been getting paid not to irrigate in late summer to conserve Colorado River water. But the pilot phase of the program is now over. The next step is developing the technology to measure how much water is actually saved.

Protesters dressed as swamp creatures kayaked down a river while others marched along a bike path, past private tennis courts and swanky swimming pools outside the hotel where governors met with Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

“My shirt says keep your oily hands off of Colorado's public lands,” says Chelsea Stencel, who was among the protesters. “David Bernhardt, the ultimate swamp monster.”

Cases were assigned to a single category. Blue indicates "pro" cases in favor of climate-related protections and orange indicates "con" cases opposing climate-related protections.
Dena Adler

A new report from Columbia University's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law finds the Trump administration has yet to score a court victory upholding their efforts to roll back major regulations related to climate change. It shows the administration has failed in court to defend 10 of 12 attempts to delay or roll back climate protections with two still pending an initial court decision on the merits.

Ellen Currano

University of Wyoming researchers are "going back to the future." By studying the climate that existed 50 million years ago, they hope to better understand what the climate might be like in the next century.

picryl.com

With summer around the corner, fire season also looms. This year's wet spring has delayed the onset of wildfires compared to last year, but that doesn't necessarily mean the fire season will be less intense than normal. Wyoming State Forester Bill Crapser says fire season can be very hard to predict.

Cooper McKim

A $7.5 million competition to develop products out of carbon dioxide is less than a year away from its final stage. The NRG Cosia Carbon XPRIZE competition will take place at the Integrated Test Center outside of Gillette. Five teams are nearing the point where they can set up operations. Wyoming Public Radio's Cooper McKim speaks with Marcius Extavour about how teams are progressing and what's still to come.

Nick Cote for KUNC/LightHawk

The Colorado River is short on water. But you wouldn't know it by looking at a slate of proposed water projects in the river's Upper Basin states of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

Melodie Edwards

It's late May in Wyoming. It snowed last night, and more snow is predicted. That's why it's good that Big Piney Rancher Chad Espenscheid is behind the wheel of the truck. The roads are sloppy and Middle Piney Creek is running high.

Judy Fahys / KUER News

The drive behind a massive water development project in southwestern Utah, the Lake Powell Pipeline, shows no signs of slowing even after the Colorado River Basin states signed a new agreement this spring that could potentially force more conservation or cutbacks.

MOAB — About 40 miles north from the tourist hordes in town and set against a backdrop of tan clay and red mesas, the vista looked primed for a nature magazine cover shoot: early afternoon, the desert bloom in full force, awash with purple and yellow flowers. Quiet.

A group of wildlife advocates is suing the federal government, saying they need to have more of a role in helping to prevent grizzly bear deaths on national forest land in Idaho and Wyoming.


According to a study out of Colorado State University, more people believe that animals should be protected and given rights on par with humans than they did 15 years ago. Fewer people believe that wildlife exists for our gain.

Ramaco Carbon's Brook Mine logo
Ramaco Carbon

Last year, the Environmental Quality Council (EQC) denied a coal company's permit to mine. Ramaco had sought a permit to create a mine near Sheridan to research and develop advanced coal-based products. Ramaco Carbon is now appealing the EQC decision in a Laramie County District Court by arguing there was a violation of federal law.

Business leaders are seeing climate change as a major risk to their bottom line. And according to a new report, more companies are planning for it.

Worldwide, 72 percent of businesses are preparing for climate risks as part of their overall business strategy. That's true here in the U.S., but that number drops down to 65 percent.

Parks Canada

This time of year in bear country you're more likely to see the animal along the sides of the roads looking for the first shoots of grass. That's a hazard for the bear and for visitors, and wildlife managers resorting to what they call hazing.

The Trump administration is responsible for the largest reduction of federally protected land in U.S. history after it shrunk two national monuments in Utah, according to a recent study published in the journal Science.

Updated image of WSGS interactive oil and gas map for Wyoming
Wyoming State Geological Survey

Oil production in Wyoming has risen to its highest level in 25 years. The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) discovered the increase while updating its online map of oil and gas drilling.

Twenty-one young Americans, including two from Colorado, are going to court this week for the latest development in their case against the U.S. government over climate change. The case, Juliana v United States, began in 2015. 

U.S. Department of the Interior

The Bureau of Land Management's Casper Field Office will reanalyze a portion of its environmental assessment of the Sand Creek oil and gas project after challenges from two environmental groups. It agreed with the Western Watersheds Project (WWP) and Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) that additional analysis of greenhouse gas emissions was warranted

Rocky Mountain Power plans to break ground on a $3.1 billion-dollar statewide wind energy project this week.

A 2017 “flash drought” on the northern Great Plains led to massive wildfires, millions of dollars in lost tourism revenue and $2.6 billion in agricultural losses, according to a new federal report released Thursday.

Cooper McKim

Jim Bills stands under a carport at his white ranch-style home in Kemmerer, Wyoming. He's lived in Kemmerer for the past 40 years. He's worked at the Kemmerer coal mine as a truck driver, laborer and driller for 35 years, until he retired. The mine, along with the power plant it feeds, are central pieces of the local economy.

Yellowstone National Park / NPS

With over six months under his belt, Cam Sholly, the new superintendent of creleased the parks top five strategic priorities. Those include investing in infrastructure, focusing on the people who work at the park and how to deal with increased visitation. Wyoming Public Radio's Kamila Kudelska spoke with Sholly about two priorities that impact our region. First, why does the park need to prioritize strengthening the ecosystem?

Wyoming has had a very wet spring due to all the snow and rain. The increased amount of moisture caused many rock falls, landslides and mudslides blocking roads in the state, especially in northwest Wyoming.

Number of noncompetitive leases issued over the past decade
Center for American Progress

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has two methods to auction off public land for oil and gas development. The first are the quarterly auctions where the highest bidder takes home the lease. The second is less well-known, called noncompetitive leasing. The Center for American Progress (CAP), a liberal think-tank, studied leases obtained this way through BLM's LR2000 (Legacy Rehost System 2000) database and found the method is taking off under the Trump Administration.

Lusha Tronstad

Alpine areas are predicted to be one of the areas most affected by climate change and some unique microbes have made their homes in the glacier-fed streams there. The loss of these little critters can have large effects on both the ecosystem around them and on people, says University of Wyoming invertebrate zoologist Lusha Tronstad.

National Park Service

A prominent feature of Yellowstone National Park is one step closer to getting a new name. Thursday, the Wyoming Board of Geographic Names voted in favor of changing Mount Doane to First Peoples Mountain.

A recent study of rivers across 72 countries found that waterways are often contaminated with antibiotics, including here in the Mountain West.

CC0 Public Domain

The federal government is officially pursuing an appeal on a judge's decision to put the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear back under Endangered Species Act protections.

A few of the many letters requesting an equity committee on Cloud Peak's court docket
Prime Clerk

More than 300 individuals who own stock in Cloud Peak Energy are looking for a seat at the table in the coal giant’s bankruptcy. Together, the group owns more than 24 percent of Cloud Peak's stock. The shareholders are asking the court to appoint an equity committee to represent their interests.

Pages