politics

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.

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.

New leadership is cutting costs at the U.S. Postal Service in a way that's backing up mail around the country, and many are concerned that could impact mail-in ballots ahead of the election on November 3. In the Mountain West, how your ballot could be affected depends on where you live.


Democrats are pushing to turn the Senate blue this November, needing just four more seats to gain control of the chamber. Two key races are in the Mountain West.


Since coronavirus began infecting millions of Americans, Wyoming lawmakers have been critical of President Donald Trump's stance on combatting the pandemic. While they never criticize him directly, one of their attempts to tiptoe around the Trump-sized elephant in the room backfired…as Fox News host Bret Baier told his audience last week.

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

Fake news and misinformation about the pandemic run rampant these days. One of the culprits is the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns more than a dozen popular television stations across the Mountain West.

 


https://www.shortfor307.com/

In the next several days, Wyoming Public Radio will be chatting with some of the folks seeking Wyoming Congressional seats. We begin the series by speaking with Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Robert Short.

Mr. Short is a Converse County Commissioner, an entrepreneur, and a businessman whose worked in areas such as energy, agriculture and tourism. We begin the conversation discussing energy and some of the things that need to be done to help Wyoming's industry get through tough times.

IEA

Wyoming will once again challenge an Obama-era rule that aims to limit methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

barrasso.senate.gov

The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing on reducing the spread of zoonotic diseases on July 22. A zoonotic disease is one that spreads from animals into humans.

The U.S. Census is underway, and many communities of color across the nation are vulnerable to being undercounted this year.

According to a new analysis from Headwaters Economics, more than 700,000 people of color are at risk of being undercounted in the Mountain West alone.

Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday placed much of the blame for the swell in coronavirus cases on recent demonstrations against racism and police brutality, ignoring in large part his administration's push to reopen the national economy before the virus had been fully contained.

The president’s controversial nominee to head the Bureau of Land Management is facing renewed pushback from Western lawmakers.


Kristen Landreville

According to a Pew Research Center study, scientist is one of the most trusted professions in the U.S., second only to the military. Trust levels are lower for K-12 principals, religious leaders, the media, and elected officials. So why do we hear so many people question scientific findings?

As the pandemic wears on, leaders across the country are looking at how to economically recover after the COVID-19 pandemic. Some in the Mountain West are calling for more outdoor recreation spending.

Equality State Policy Center

The Equality State Policy Center, a nonpartisan advocacy group, is holding a live event to discuss the power of women voting. It will host Wyoming women political leaders on Thursday, July 16.

Liam James Doyle/NPR

After dropping more than $3 trillion and counting on the coronavirus pandemic in the spring, Republicans decided to hide the nation's credit card. But with the pandemic worsening, along with this recession, both parties are recognizing Congress has more work to do. President Trump has called for sweeping infrastructure legislation in the past, so Democrats tried to see if he meant it and passed their $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill earlier this month. Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney and other GOP leaders helped convince all but three Republicans to oppose it.

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

Nearly two-thirds of residents in the Mountain West believe Trump isn't doing a good job handling the pandemic, according to a survey from researchers at Harvard, Rutgers, Northeastern and Northwestern universities released Tuesday.

 


The voting process has long disenfranchised Native American communities. With the COVID-19 pandemic and mail-in voting exacerbating the problem, U.S. senators in the Mountain West and across the country are asking the federal government to make sure voters in Indian Country can cast ballots come November.

U.S. House Office of Photography

The Trump administration has aggressively moved to unwind an array of federal regulations since the coronavirus pandemic hit America, and that's in line with what Wyoming's federal lawmakers have wanted all along. But Matt Laslo reports from Washington that one of them is contradicting President Trump and says more testing is the key to recovery.

Two-thirds of Americans think the federal government should be doing more to reduce the impacts of climate change, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.


Updated at 5:15 p.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday said he would remove some U.S. troops from Germany and relocate them to Poland and other European and U.S. locations, a reaction to his long-standing complaint that Germany falls short on defense spending obligations to NATO.

Trump made the announcement after meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda, the first foreign leader to visit the White House since the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to normal diplomatic events in March.

Updated at 4:29 p.m. ET

Justice Department witnesses told House lawmakers on Wednesday they've observed political interference in big cases, including those involving a friend of President Trump's.

Two currently serving lawyers appeared before the House Judiciary Committee to detail their concerns, which were revealed Tuesday in written testimony they prepared ahead of time.

The Great American Outdoors Act has passed the Senate with solid bipartisan support – but bipartisan doesn’t mean unanimous. A group of 73 voted yes while 25 voted no, including all of the senators from public land-heavy Idaho, Wyoming and Utah.


Tennessee Watson

Today's U.S. Supreme Court ruling affirming the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, came as a relief to the more than 600 Wyomingites who have benefitted from the program since it was created in 2012. DACA protects some immigrants, who were brought to the United States as children, from deportation and allows them to obtain driver licenses and work legally.

Wyoming Public Radio's Savannah Maher spoke with two Wyoming DACA recipients, Jose Rivas of Jackson and Ana Castro of Laramie, about how the program has impacted their lives and what today's ruling means for them.


This week's Supreme Court ruling shielding LGBTQ employees from discrimination effectively evens out a patchwork of protections in the Mountain West.


barrasso.senate.gov

Wyoming's senators spent the week fighting a bill that would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund, along with funding a portion of the maintenance backlog at national parks across the nation.

"Let me just talk frankly. I hate the millennial stereotype. Uh, I hate when adults talk about kids these days, as if, you know, they don't care about things, as if they're not up for a challenge. Listen. Kids these days are doing wonderful things, and they are doing them in an atmosphere that is, frankly, far harder than it was for my generation and the generation before me." Scott Henkel

Nimi McConigley

Even though women in Wyoming were allowed to vote, run for office and get involved in politics back in 1870, it took much longer after that for women of color to get elected.

The first Black woman to get elected to office in Wyoming was Elizabeth Byrd. She started out in the Wyoming House of Representatives, in 1981. That's close to a century later after women were first granted the right to vote and run for office.

What took so long?

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

Justin and his buddies look like they're from a special ops team – they're wearing flak jackets and carrying assault weapons. But they aren't military and they aren't police. 

"I see myself as a concerned citizen who happens to be armed," he says.

 


Courtesy


The University of Wyoming's student government, also known as ASUW, has historically been male-dominated. This year, two women were elected to President and Vice President. That may be for the first time ever. But there's no way to know, since ASUW records don't always account for gender. Wyoming Public Radio's Maggie Mullen spoke with President Riley Talamantes and Vice President Courtney Titus about what it was like to be one of the few, if only, two-women tickets to win the election.

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