Matt Laslo

Reporter

This week’s Supreme Court ruling on the EPA and its ability to regulate carbon is a mixed bag for Wyoming officials and energy producers. It sets the stakes even higher for Republicans in the state who are determined to derail a pending EPA rule on climate change.  

Like most all things here in Washington these days, the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of the EPA is being read along party lines. But Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi says it’s not just partisanship. He says your opinion also hinges on where you’re reading.

Democrats Try To Improve Their Legislative Numbers 

Wyoming Democrats have been in the legislative minority for a long time, but it’s been really tough lately.  Only eight of the 60 Wyoming Representatives are Democrats and only four reside in the Senate.  While the party has hopes of grabbing a few more seats this year, there are not enough candidates to make serious gains.  The problem started back in 1991.

This week the EPA unveiled a new rule to drastically cut carbon emissions from the nation's power plants. While Wyoming Republicans say it will devastate the economy, Matt Laslo reports from Washington that some experts say their outdated thinking has set the state back in the new energy economy. 

The White House isn't waiting around for this Congress to help it tackle climate change. The new EPA rule will require Wyoming to slash it's carbon emissions by 19 percent. Wyoming Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis says the state's energy producers are worried. 

Wyo. Lawmakers Reject New Climate Change Report 

The White House is painting a dire picture for every region in the nation - including here at home - if action isn’t taken to combat climate change. But Matt Laslo reports from Washington that Wyoming’s Republican senators still aren’t buying it.

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The White House is painting a dire picture for every region in the nation - including here at home - if action isn’t taken to combat climate change. But Matt Laslo reports from Washington that Wyoming’s Republican senators still aren’t buying it.

Next week the U-S Senate is expected to have a debate on a bipartisan bill aimed at increasing energy efficiency in the U-S, but it could get derailed by an oil pipeline in the Midwest. Matt Laslo has the story from Washington on Wyoming Senator John Barrasso's role in the ongoing debate.

Lawmakers in Washington are debating whether to export more natural gas to combat Russian threats to cut off its gas supplies to Europe. Our D-C reporter  Matt Laslo has a look at what that could mean for Wyoming’s economy – and environment.

This week President Barack Obama unveiled his budget, which the Wyoming congressional delegation says would cripple the state's economy. Matt Laslo has the details from Washington. 

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Wyoming Republican John Barrasso is leading a fight in the U.S. Senate to change regulations on timber harvesting in national forests. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that environmentalists and foresters are suspicious of his idea.

Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso received pushback from the chief of the U.S. Forest Service on his bill to expand timber harvesting on federal lands. 

Barrasso’s legislation would greatly expand the Forest Service’s timber program throughout western states. The senator says it would create jobs and provide a new funding stream for schools in rural areas. Environmentalists accuse Barrasso of trying to gut environmental laws. At a hearing on the bill Thomas Tidwell, the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, told Barrasso he’s wary of how the bill undoes regulations.  

Wyoming Republicans aren’t too happy with the vision President Obama laid out in his State of the Union address.  The President laid out an ambitious agenda. He wants to invest to increase the minimum wage, spur investments in infrastructure, and continue taking steps to address climate change.

Democrats are cheering on that agenda while Republicans are bristling because the president says he’ll use executive orders whenever possible to bypass G-O-P opposition. Senator John Barrasso says the president missed an opportunity to reach across the aisle.

Potential for Gas Price Increase If Oil Ban Lifted

For forty years the U-S has banned the export of most all crude oil. Matt Laslo reports a new debate is raging in Washington over whether to end the ban.

Sage Grouse Concerns Prompt Changes In Reclamation Regs

For forty years the U-S has banned the export of most all crude oil. Matt Laslo reports a new debate is raging in Washington over whether to end the ban.

MATT LASLO: The U-S banned crude oil exports after the Arab oil embargo of 1973. It’s been in place since, which has negatively impacted global oil prices. Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso says he’s ready to lift the ban.

Wyoming Republican Mike Enzi says he can focus more on his work in the U.S. Senate now that Liz Cheney has dropped her primary challenge.

Cheney’s primary challenge to the state’s senior senator surprised many in both Wyoming and Washington: especially Enzi. He accused her of lying to him about her intention to challenge him, an accusation she denies. Now that Cheney is out of the race – citing family health issues –Enzi says he hopes there will not be any lingering hard feelings between the two.

Wyoming lawmakers are concerned with a provision in the bipartisan budget agreement that would cost the state money for mineral development.

Wyoming stands to lose around twenty million dollars annually from the budget deal that overwhelmingly passed the House. It includes a provision that makes permanent a law that charges states like Wyoming for costs associated with their mineral leases. The state hasn’t received that money since 2008, but Republican Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis and other officials thought that was just temporary. 

Today the U-S Senate approved historic changes to its filibuster rule over the objection from Wyoming’s two Republican senators.

You know those regulations Wyoming Republicans are always complaining about? Well a lot of them have to pass through the little known but powerful D-C Circuit Court.

UW Board of Trustees President talks about Dr. Sternberg’s resignation

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees announced UW President Bob Sternberg’s resignation on Thursday. The Trustees spent Thursday and Friday in meetings, but President of the Board David Bostrom sat down to talk with Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov about what comes next. Bostrom says the Trustees didn’t try to convince Dr. Sternberg to stay.

Wyoming’s senior Republican Senator Mike Enzi is on a special budget conference committee that he says has already become a moot point. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on why he’s given up on the group before its really gotten to work.

MATT LASLO: Senator Mike Enzi, along with seventeen Senate Republicans, voted against the final deal to reopen the federal government and avoid a potential default on the nation’s debt.

The Wyoming congressional delegation split its votes on the measure to open the government and avoid a potential default.

Wyoming’s senior senator Mike Enzi was one of just eighteen senators to oppose the compromise. In a statement he called the deal "yet another promise to work on the problem tomorrow."

But Senator John Barrasso says the good in the bill outweighed the bad. 

“I don’t think it was a good deal,” Barrasso said. “I think it was important to get the government opened again, get people back to work and to avoid a default.”

 

As the deadline to raise the nation’s debt ceiling nears, Wyoming Republican Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis says she’s willing to raise it with no strings attached.

Republicans continue to plummet in national polls and now they’re frantically looking for ways to reopen the entire federal government. Party leaders also want to avoid being blamed for potentially defaulting on the nation's debt. 

Although she wants concessions from the White House, Congresswoman Lummis says she could support a temporary bill to extend the debt ceiling.

Wyoming Republican Senator Mike Enzi helped Texas Senator Ted Cruz hold up the Senate floor for 21 hours as they discussed defunding the Affordable Care Act.

Natural Gas producers are concerned about the future

More than 500 industry people gathered in Jackson this week for the 17th Annual Wyoming Oil and Gas Fair. Wyoming Public Radio’s energy and natural resources reporter, Stephanie Joyce was there, and she joins us now to talk about the event.

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The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service wants Grizzly Bears taken off the Endangered Species list, but the agency's effort has been blunted by the courts. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on the battle over Wyoming's Grizzlies. 

MATT LASLO: In 1975 government officials worried the west could one day be grizzly-less. Using the Endangered Species Act the government became a great protector of the Bears that play a vital role in the region's ecosystem. But by 2007 the federal government recorded a massive rebound in the population, so they delisted Grizzly Bears. 

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President Obama's call to postpone a vote on a military strike in Syria is being lauded by Wyoming lawmakers. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that while the administration is leaving a military option on the table as it pursues diplomacy, officials can’t expect much support from the Wyoming delegation.

MATT LASLO: Only a handful of lawmakers in the U.S. Senate have gone on record over authorizing military force in Syria. One of them is Wyoming Republican John Barrasso.

JOHN BARRASSO: “Mr. Barrasso?” “No.”

With Congress in recess for the month President Obama is preparing to continue pressuring Republicans to work with him on job creation. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that Wyoming’s congressional delegation says that while his speeches rev up his base he still isn’t trying to work with the GOP.  

National Republican Party Supports Enzi over Cheney

This week Wyoming’s senior senator, Mike Enzi, was surprised to learn he’ll be facing off against Liz Cheney in what’s expected to be one of the most heated Republican primaries in the nation. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that right now, the Republican Party is wrapping its arms around Enzi.

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