Cheyenne, WY – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded the city of Cheyenne a $1 million grant to assess soil and groundwater contamination. The EPA says the city will work with Laramie County and the Downtown Development Authority to examine pollution at several dozen properties. The results will help to identify the type and extent of contamination at sites, and from there better target cleanup efforts. Soil and groundwater pollution has been an obstacle to redeveloping properties around the capital city.
Sinclair, wy – Nearly half of the Sinclair golf course is under water, and Lincoln County public health officials have found three private water wells contaminated by high groundwater tables caused by prolonged flooding. County emergency management spokesman Stephen Malik says there have been no reports of anyone becoming ill from drinking the water. He says town water wells have checked out OK so far. Elsewhere in Wyoming on Tuesday, flooding continues in Carbon County along the North Platte, Encampment and Little Snake Rivers.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. – The number of people visiting Yellowstone National Park is down substantially so far this year compared to last year's record numbers.
The park reports visitor numbers are down more than 11 percent from January through May compared to the same period last year.
A record 3.6 million people visited Yellowstone all last year. Yellowstone's peak season is yet to come: Typically as many people visit in the first two weeks in July as during the first five months of the year.
Laramie, Wyo. – Flood preparation efforts continue around the state today. In Lincoln County, Public Information Officer Stephen Malik says roughly 30 homes have been protected by sandbag berms. "We're in-placing sandbags in hopes of either redirecting or stopping water from entering these neighborhoods and getting into structures," he said.
Malik says those homes are near tributaries that are known for flooding. He says volunteers and National Guard troops helped place at least 18,000 sandbags around the county.
Laramie, Wyo. – A deal between Rocky Mountain Power and those who have opposed the company's proposed rate hike would substantially reduce the amount the utility is asking from customers.
Wyoming Consumer Advocate Bryce Freeman says the utility would earn $44.6 million from its rate hike, down from the original request of nearly $98 million. Freeman says that, under the agreement, the average residential customer will see a rate increase of just under ten percent.
Laramie, Wyo. – The state Department of Environmental Quality has reached a $5.4 million settlement agreement with Sinclair Wyoming Refining Corporation. Agency officials believe it's the largest settlement agreement in the DEQ's history.
It comes as the result of hazardous waste management violations at the company's refinery in the town of Sinclair. Since April of 2010, malfunctions in the refinery's waste water system have led to releases of oil and other waste into evaporation ponds.