public records

Bob Beck

Over the years there's been a conflict between news, advocacy organizations and members of the public versus government agencies when it comes to documents and information. Many times these issues go to court. In an effort to make all sides play better together, the legislature created the position of Ombudsman to settle these disputes. Ruth Van Mark joins Bob Beck to discuss her role in the state.

View of the southeastern part of the Black Thunder ranch - land considered in the appraisal document
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

The First Judicial District Court in Wyoming ruled in favor of a landowners group in a case considering the release of previously confidential reclamation documents to the public. It helps shed light on how Contura Coal West, LLC (Contura) is backing 20 percent of its reclamation obligations for the Belle Ayr mine in the Powder River Basin.

In 2017, Wyoming's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) accepted the real property collateral bond. A certified appraiser showed that nearly 50,000 acres of property were collectively worth $26.7 million. It was appraised twice, and then reviewed by another appraiser, according to the DEQ.

telemessage.com

Over the holidays, the Department of the Interior (DOI) proposed changes to how it will handle public records requests. Now, the head of the committee that oversees the department is requesting a public hearing into the proposed changes.

The Wyoming Supreme Court must decide whether Gov. Matt Mead was justified in withholding documents regarding grizzly bear management.

Grizzly activist Robert Aland has appealed a recent district court ruling that Mead was justified in withholding records.

Aland had asked Mead for records supporting his contention that the state's grizzly population is healthy enough that federal Endangered Species Act protections are no longer needed.