Gillette, Wyo. – New U.S. Geological Survey estimates have lowered the amount of recoverable coal in the nation's most prolific coalfield.
The USGS is assessing coal reserves in the nation's largest coalfields. It started with the most productive one - the coalfield around Gillette in northeast Wyoming. The Gillette coalfield is part of the coal-rich Powder River Basin in northeast Wyoming and southeast Montana.
Pinedale, WY – A community organizer in Pinedale says she was pleased with the Department of Environmental Quality's solutions for the area's ongoing air pollution problem. Linda Baker of the Upper Green River Valley Coalition says last night's meeting with the DEQ gave her the impression that the department did a lot of work since their last meeting in Pinedale.
Cody, Wy – Calm winds slowed the growth of a wildfire that has burned more than 12 square miles in the Shoshone National Forest east of Yellowstone National Park. The Gunbarrel Fire is burning about 40 miles west of Cody in the North Absaroka Wilderness of the Shoshone National Forest. A fire management team is allowing the fire to burn through bug-killed timber in a remote area. The closest structures to the fire are about one mile away. A forest spokeswoman says Thursday's winds pushed the fire away from the buildings.
Casper, Wy – A legislative committee is sponsoring a bill that will extend benefits for workers who are mentally injured on the job. Jackson Representative Keith Gingery chairs the Select Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. He says Wyoming is one of only a handful of states that only compensates a worker for a mental injury if it is a direct result of a physical injury. Wyoming also only pays workers for mental injuries for six months after they occur. Gingery says this bill would change both of those things.
Casper, Wy – A legislative sub committee wants to set up an account that would pay for the widening and expansion of some two-lane highways in the state. The Wyoming Department of Transportation has listed a number of highways as candidates for new lanes, including ones near Gillette, Casper and Laramie. WYDOT's Doug McGee says the main reason is safety, since many of the two lane roads are overused and dangerous.
Washington D-C – Congress has given final approval to an overhaul of federal higher education programs. Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi was one of the lawmakers in on years of negotiations. The bill known as the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, is the result of nearly three years of debate. It expands the number of people who can qualify for government-backed loans and federal stipends called Pell Grants. It lets students who were home-schooled qualify for grants for the first time. It also streamlines the application process for financial aid.
Pinedale, Wy – The state Department of Environmental Quality says it has created new rules to keep air pollution from getting worse in Pinedale. The DEQ says it will push companies to offset any new minor pollution sources by eliminating pollution elsewhere in their operations. Minor sources would include small pieces of equipment in the gas and oil fields. Director John Corra says it's an interim rule. "What we mean by interim is, we may make that policy final, but we wanted to make sure that industry knew that we're not done looking at our regulatory tools."