Laramie, WY – Greater Sage Grouse Conservation Task Force coordinator Jim Sims says private conservation efforts will do more to help that species. Sims heads up a group of timber, mining, ranching and outdoor enthusiasts called Partnership for the West. He says his group wants Governor Freudenthal to resist attempts to list the sage grouse as threatened or endangered. Sims says the Endangered Species Act discourages private conservation efforts. He says the E-S-A has not recovered a single species in its' 30 year history.
Cody, WY – Denver International Airport will be the scene of a celebration Friday afternoon. That is when the first United Express flight from Cody will land, starting summer service that's been in the works for 18 months now. The Cody Yellowstone Air Service Organization hopes they can parlay these flights into year-round service. Consultant Rick Wilder says success this summer will be a key component for securing winter service. Wilder is optimistic about how successful the service will be. He says bookings are on par with other United destination and that's positive for their efforts.
Jackson, WY – A temporary plan will be drafted for snowmobiling in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National parks next winter. The National Park Service will start taking comments on the plan in mid-June and is hoping to hear new information about winter use. This comes as there are two conflicting court opinions on whether snowmobiling should be allowed in the parks. Yellowstone spokeswoman Cheryl Matthews says they want to provide the public with some certainty about next winter. She says confusion over the issue led to fewer winter visitors this past year.
Jackson, WY – The Wyoming Business Council voted to fund 12 projects meant to stimulate economic development Wednesday in Jackson. The Council's Board of Directors did this even though it means spending money set aside for the Business Ready Community program next year. That program only had $4 Million left in its budget for this year. So, it looked like the council would have to make some tough choices because it had applications totaling $15 Million. But, the council decided to spend money that isn't available until July first.
Washington, D.C. – Leaders with the U-S Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service say they won't place lives at risk by using aging air tankers to fight wildfires this year. Kathleen Clark with the B-L-M and Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth issued a joint statement Tuesday defending their decision. They say they understand public concern, but for now wildfires will be fought on the ground. And they say a fleet of 33 air tankers won't take flight again until officials can find some way to assure their safety. Some lawmakers have criticized the decision to ground the planes.
Boise, ID – Federal firefighting agencies announced Wednesday that they will acquire over a hundred additional aircraft to battle wildfires this summer. Last month, 33 large air tankers were grounded because safety concerns. This move is to make up for the loss of those aircraft. National Interagency Fire Center Spokeswoman Venetia Gempler says the $66 Million to pay for the new aircraft will come out of the existing firefighting budget. Gempler says the plan is to acquire 38 smaller air tankers and 71 helicopters.
Washington, D.C. – A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. has upheld tougher pollution controls on snowmobiles used in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. But the judges Tuesday asked why the Environmental Protection Agency rule would exempt almost a third of newly built snowmobiles. The three judge panel also rejected claims by the snowmobile industry that the E-P-A had no authority to require new snowmobiles to have cleaner burning engines to reduce air pollution. The rule came in a lawsuit filed by two environmental groups over the 2002 E-P-A rule.
Wyoming – Because of high school graduations and the start of summer, drinking and driving has been on the minds of many law enforcement officials. But a group says Wyoming has had too many alcohol related tragedies. The Governors Council On Impaired Driving are trying to bring even of an emphasis on drinking and driving throughout the year. Recently the legislature did lower the legal limit for drinking and driving, but the state has not touched a number of laws that some think it should pass.
Cheyenne, WY – Wyoming contractors are feeling the pinch of higher gasoline prices. Wyoming Contractors Association Executive Vice President Charlie Ware says higher fuel prices are having a devastating impact on some contractors. Ware says construction companies working on federal highway project are particularly hard hit. He says those contractors usually get the bid six to eight months before they start work. Ware says having to estimate how much gasoline costs to complete a project cuts into a company's bottom line.