Natural Resources & Energy

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U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Construction on the Fontanelle Reservoir won't get started until extreme drought strikes because officials say the unfinished bottom won't be accessible until then.

National Park Service

Memorial Day weekend kicked off the summer season for national parks in the Mountain West. And according to new data, 2018 was good year for the country and the region.

There’s evidence that bee and butterfly populations are in decline, a phenomenon that some have dubbed the “insect apocalypse.” In response, the Colorado Department of Transportation has brought in a bug expert.

Drriss & Marrionn via Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Last week, a bill was introduced in Congress that would require Native American tribes to be included in the management of grizzly bears. The legislation, called the Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear Protection Act, would permanently place grizzly bears under federal protection much like the bald eagle. 

wgfd.wyo.gov

Starting next week, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will be hosting public meetings across the state which will address chronic wasting diseases (CWD).

Greg Goebel via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

A proposed expansion of Aethon Energy's Moneta Divide Oilfield could significantly increase the volume of water and dissolved solids the company sends into the Boysen Reservoir near Shoshoni.

Davide Restivo via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

When a semitrailer crashed near Woods Landing earlier this month, it spilled its cargo - water produced during oil and gas extraction - with some of it reaching the nearby Woods Creek.

It's been more than thirty years since Yucca Mountain in Nevada was picked as the nation's nuclear waste site, and the state has been fighting the project ever since. Under President Obama, it got its wish.

Fast forward to the Trump administration, and that long-running debate is back on the table.

CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK, UTAH — The dark blue, predawn sky was just beginning to brighten over Mesa Arch — a once-hidden gem in southern Utah — as Jonathan Zhang frantically set up his camera and tripod.

Global methane in the atmosphere is on the rise again after a period of leveling off, but scientists tracking this phenomenon at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, in Boulder haven’t quite figured out why. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The discovery of zebra and quagga mussels in Montana waterways has northwest Wyoming on high alert.

A sign for the Kemmerer mine's load-out station
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

Westmoreland's Kemmerer coal mine will soon have new owners. The debtors behind the recently bankrupt company will take over and hire a new operator for the mine.

Kathleen Wetlands

In arid places like Wyoming, wetlands are rare, sometimes only two percent of the landscape. But the organic vegetation breaking down in wetland soils captures as much as 15 to 30 percent of the carbon on that landscape, and it could hold more if restored to better condition. 

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is offering free and confidential screenings for black lung disease. NIOSH is traveling throughout the West and is in the Gillette area through Saturday as part of its Coal Workers' Health Surveillance Program. NIOSH is a part of the Centers for Disease Control.

NPS Photo / Ken Conger

The grizzly bear is an iconic species to many Native American tribes, and now a bill introduced in Congress would require tribes be included in their management. The legislation, called the Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear Protection Act, was introduced by Raul Grijalva, the chair of the Natural Resources subcommittee. 

Public lands are a haven for target shooting throughout our region. However, many are leaving bullet casings and litter behind, and that's a problem.

Litter from so-called "trigger trash" is leading to lead contamination of soil and costing taxpayers thousand of dollars in cleanup.

Kurt Miers is with the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada. He says this issue is common throughout the region, particularly in areas just outside of cities.

Colorado is testing out self-driving ATVs to assist wildland firefighters at work. The state is working with Honda to test out the company’s emerging technology.    

For thousands of years, the Whitebark Pine has provided a valuable food source for birds and bears throughout the Mountain West. But dwindling numbers are forcing forest managers to act.

The tree spans from Alberta and British Columbia in Canada to the Mountain West states of Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and parts of Nevada. But, the number of these trees throughout the region is declining, as much as 90 percent in some areas.

Catherine Wheeler

The Wyoming Legislature's Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee met in Gillette this week to discuss potential closures of coal power plants in the state. Rocky Mountain Power's parent company is considering early retirements of its coal plants finding many of them are uneconomic.

Screenshot of Environmental Quality Council before hearing Mark Thrall
EQC WEB

Contura Coal West would like to renew and transfer permits for the Belle Ayr and Eagle Butte mines over to another coal company: Blackjewel. In August 2018, Wyoming's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) deemed the permit application technically complete.

S & P Global Market Intelligence

Back in November, Cloud Peak Energy announced it would consider significant changes to its business. At the time, it was weighted down by nearly $400 million in debt and weakening coal sales. The company was open to a buy-out, a sale of one or all of its coal mines, or finding a way to push back its debt. But nothing worked out. So, on May 10, Cloud Peak had no choice but to go bankrupt.

Melodie Edwards

In a canyon near Rock Springs, a helicopter descends, and two coyotes are handed out, bound and blindfolded. University of Wyoming researchers place them on a mat, the animals calm and still. UW Zoology and Physiology Ph.D. student Katey Huggler oversees this study.

Kamila Kudelska

Last year was the first year fifth graders from three schools on the Wind River Reservation participated in a cultural field camp just south of Yellowstone. The day camp organized by the National Forest Service hopes to give Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho children a chance to learn their culture while outdoors.

UN Photo/Manuel Elias via https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

A new United Nation's report compiled from scientific data across the globe predicts that if unchecked, manmade climate change could cost around one million species their very existences. That caught the attention of Democrats and Republicans, but that doesn't mean Wyoming lawmakers are changing their tunes.

It’s no secret that in peak season Yellowstone National Park is getting really, really crowded these days.

Catherine Wheeler

The Wyoming Legislature's joint Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Committee met for an interim session in Gillette this week.

Increased tariffs on Chinese goods will ‘devastate’ outdoor recreation companies, an industry group warned in a letter sent to President Trump Wednesday.

Screenshot from Cloud Peak's bankruptcy docket page
Prime Clerk

COUNTY TAXES
Last Friday, Cloud Peak Energy chose not pay county taxes to Campbell County. It currently owes a lot - about $8 million. The recently bankrupt coal giant also owes Converse County several million in county taxes that contribute to education funds in addition to county services.

freestockphoto.biz

As summer approaches, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is reminding residents that the state is reaching peak tick season.

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