The Associated Press

Gov. Matt Mead has named Peter Michael to serve as interim Wyoming Attorney General.

Michael replaces former AG Greg Phillips, who was sworn in on Monday as a judge on the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Michael had served as deputy attorney general for Phillips.

Mead says Michael is an excellent attorney. Mead says he's confident Michael will lead the Attorney General's Office in a steady and capable manner until he can find a permanent replacement for Phillips.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter Liz Cheney says she will run against Wyoming's senior U.S. senator in next year's Republican primary.
 
She announced her campaign in a statement today, and the news was confirmed by her campaign manager, Kara Hearn.


Liz Cheney is 46 and the elder of Dick Cheney's two daughters. She has been in the public eye in recent years as a Fox News political commentator. Last year, Cheney and her husband bought a home in the posh northwest Wyoming community of Jackson Hole.

The head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee says the organization will back Sen. Mike Enzi over challenger Liz Cheney in the campaign for the Republican nomination in Wyoming.

Conditions are favorable for firefighters trying to corral one of Wyoming's first significant wildfires this year.

The 300-acre wildfire is burning in a remote area 15 miles southeast of Casper, not far from Muddy Mountain. Lighting is believed to have started the fire sometime last weekend.

The fire has burned about 300 acres of mixed pine, grass and sagebrush.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is taking public comments on a proposed uranium mine in eastern Fremont County.

Canada-based Strathmore Resources proposes to mine uranium using conventional or open-pit methods and to process the uranium into yellowcake on site.

The BLM says surface disturbance with pits, spoils storage, material storage and roads and processing facilities would total about 2,000 acres.

Public comments are due to the BLM's Lander Field Office by Sept. 9.

Wyoming leaders say the state's energy-based economy is suffering under recent Obama administration environmental initiatives.

Republican Gov. Matt Mead plans to testify next week in Cheyenne against a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal to restrict emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Mead says the rule will cost Wyoming's five coal-fired power plants about $1 billion initially and perhaps $100 million a year thereafter. He says implementing the regulations won't affect haze.

A new study suggests that flaws in how the government measures Yellowstone's grizzly bear population raise questions about whether the animals have recovered sufficiently to merit lifting federal protections.

Lead author Daniel Doak of the University of Colorado says a major reason more bears have been counted in recent years is that more time is now spent counting bears. He says the population could be in decline even as officials consider revoking its threatened species status.

The Environmental Protection Agency is abandoning its plan to confirm hydraulic fracturing is linked to groundwater pollution in central Wyoming.

A draft news release obtained today by The Associated Press says the EPA won't have independent scientists review its finding that fracking may have caused the pollution.

EPA spokesman Tom Reynolds in Washington, D.C., confirms the information.

The EPA says it won't finalize its report on the issue. Instead, it will let state officials investigate.

EIA

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead is asking the White House to not evaluate the effects of greenhouse gases that would be emitted by exporting U.S. coal and burning it overseas.

Wyoming is the nation's leading coal-producing state and state officials are concerned about falling domestic demand for coal as a result of global warming concerns. State officials are pushing to secure ports in the Northwest to allow coal exports to Asia.

Gov. Matt Mead's weeklong trip to Saudi Arabia last week has succeeded in drawing interest to energy research going on at the University of Wyoming.

As a result of the trip, officials from Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil giant will be visiting UW soon to get a closer look at the research.

UW has been doing specialized research that could have application to extracting oil from underground formations that are tough to tap.

Five former employees of a hog farm in Wheatland have been convicted of multiple counts of animal cruelty and sentenced to probation and fines.

Four of the five were fined $530.

The charges were filed as a result of an undercover investigation last spring by The Humane Society of the United States, which disclosed employee abuse of pigs and piglets. The organization posted video of workers kicking live piglets like soccer balls, striking pigs with their fists and kicking them when they showed reluctance to leave their offspring.

Wyoming will get a say over whether the Yellowstone River is given a special federal designation.

Interior Department officials had said that the river might be considered a candidate for the National Blueways System, which is designed to promote conservation and recreation on rivers.

Wyoming's congressional delegation voiced concern that such a designation could limit the river's use.

Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Rep. Cynthia Lummis had previously said the National Blueways System was a federal power grab.

The Wyoming Republican Party Central Committee has approved a resolution endorsing the drive to repeal the state law that took power away from the state superintendent of public instruction.

The Central Committee approved the resolution on a 40-32 vote over the weekend in Buffalo.

The action is a slap at the Republican controlled state Legislature and Republican Gov. Matt Mead who approved the law during this past legislative session.

A legal settlement between ranchers and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management would reduce wild horse numbers in southwest Wyoming by half or more.

Three people accused of defrauding investors of more than $4 million by falsely claiming to be developing wind farms in Wyoming and South Dakota are set to stand trial in June.


U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl of Casper has scheduled a three-week trial starting June 3.
 

Defendants Robert Arthur Reed and Lauren Elizabeth Scott of Utah and Gregory Lee Doss of California are charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and conspiracy to launder money. Reed faces additional charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
 

Wyoming is getting more money from the federal government to improve its lowest-achieving schools.
 
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today that Wyoming will get $1.1 million in 2013. It's the third year the state has gotten a grant from the department's School Improvement Grant Program.

Nine other states, including Colorado, are also getting money.
 
The department says states will distribute the money to school districts that demonstrate the greatest need for it and show a strong commitment to using it to improve student performance.

An interim legislative committee is planning to study Wyoming's beer and liquor tax this summer.

Wyoming's 2-cents-per-gallon tax on malt beverages is the lowest in the nation. It has remained unchanged since it was first passed in 1935, about a year after Prohibition was repealed.

The study is among several tax studies assigned to the Joint Interim Revenue Committee this summer and fall.

The oil and gas industry is trying to ease environmental concerns by developing nontoxic fluids for hydraulic fracturing.
 
But it's not clear whether the fluids will be widely embraced by drilling companies.
 

Fracking has made it possible to tap into energy reserves across the nation but also has raised concerns about pollution, since large volumes of water along with sand and hazardous chemicals are injected underground to free the oil and gas from rock.
 

The Wyoming Legislature will take on just about every possible hot-button social issue this week, hearing bills on guns, abortion and same-sex marriage.

House Speaker Tom Lubnau, a Republican from Gillette, says he's scheduled all the contentious social issue bills for hearings this week to save money on security.

Lubnau says the Legislature always increases its security when lawmakers consider gun and abortion issues because of the large crowds that typically turn out.

The legislative panel responsible for drafting a supplemental Wyoming state budget bill recommends that lawmakers reject Gov. Matt Mead's proposal to cut the flow of energy revenues going into permanent savings and school construction.

Mead wants Wyoming to build up its so-called rainy day fund in case the state needs ready cash to deal with projected flat energy revenues in the years to come.

A state lawmaker from Jackson is proposing some changes to Wyoming's tipping laws.

One bill introduced by Rep. Ruth Ann Petroff would make all tips exempt from sales tax. Currently tips automatically added to a bill, usually for large groups, are subject to sales tax.

Another bill from the Republican would allow restaurants to pool tips from everyone waiting on tables and then split the money among its employees. However, an employee couldn't be forced to contribute more than 15 percent of their tips to a tip pool.

A Wyoming legislative committee is set to hear a proposal to raise fuel taxes.

The House Revenue Committee is meeting this morning in Cheyenne to consider a bill that would hike fuel taxes by a dime. The tax would increase from 14 cents to 24 cents a gallon on gasoline.

Gov. Matt Mead is pushing the tax increase. He says it would raise more than $70 million a year for state and local road projects.

The governor says increasing gasoline taxes would allow out-of-state motorists to foot much of the bill for maintaining the state's highway system.

Gov. Matt Mead is set to deliver his annual State of the State address to lawmakers in Cheyenne on this morning.

Mead is presiding over Wyoming at a time of transition. State financial analysts warn state energy revenues are likely to stay flat for years to come.

Mead is proposing 6.5-percent budget cuts for state agencies, not counting one-time project funding. The cuts amount to more than $60 million over the coming year.

Wyoming Legislature set to convene today

Jan 8, 2013

The Wyoming Legislature is set to convene at noon today for the first day of its general session, which is set to run through early March.
 
Lawmakers generally take care of housekeeping matters on the first day and won't get down to business until after Gov. Matt Mead delivers his annual state of the state address tomorrow morning.
 

Preliminary numbers released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicate Wyoming mines produced about 9 percent less coal in 2012 than in 2011.

Mines in the state produced an estimated 398 million tons in 2012, compared to 436 million tons in 2011. Nationwide, coal production dropped about 7 percent.

Industry officials say the decrease in production is due to sagging natural gas prices, a mild winter and stricter regulations on coal-burning power plants.

Groups file third lawsuit over Wyoming wolves

Dec 7, 2012

Environmental groups have filed a third federal lawsuit challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's move to end federal protections for wolves in Wyoming.
 
The Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals filed suit today/yesterday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
 
The groups say Wyoming's management plan classifying wolves as predators that can be shot on sight in most of the state is inadequate. They want the court to reinstate federal protections.
 

A judge in Cheyenne heard arguments today over whether to dismiss the lawsuit about the Y Cross Ranch. The suit was filed by a Amy Davis, who gave a ranch to two university foundations and now accuses them of not honoring the intent of her gift.
 

Several media outlets have filed a lawsuit challenging the secret search for a new president of the University of Wyoming.
 
The Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming Tribune Eagle and The Associated Press filed the lawsuit Monday in state District Court in Laramie.
 
The UW Board of Trustees has decided to not to release the names of any of the candidates it is considering to replace President Tom Buchanan, who is retiring next year.
 

Hunters now have killed at least 33 wolves in northwest Wyoming since the start of the state's first wolf hunt six weeks ago.
 
As of today, three hunt areas are closed to further wolf hunting after hunters reached their local kill limits. Nine other hunt areas remained open.
 
The statewide limit for this year's hunt is 52 wolves. The trophy hunting season ends Dec. 31. That means licensed hunters have until the end of the year to kill 19 more wolves.
 

A judge has set bail at $2 million cash for a Montana man suspected of abducting and assaulting an 11-year-old Wyoming girl.
 
Thirty-nine-year-old Jesse Paul Speer made his initial court appearance today/Friday before Circuit Court Judge Bruce Waters in Cody. His preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 26.
 
Prosecutors allege Speer forced a Cody girl into his SUV at gunpoint on Oct. 8, then assaulted and abandoned her outside of town. Hunters eventually found the girl.
 
He was arrested Saturday in Montana.
 

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