Stephanie Joyce

Energy and Natural Resources Reporter

Phone: 307-766-0809

Stephanie Joyce reports on energy and natural resources for Wyoming Public Radio. Before joining WPR, she was the news director at a public radio station in the Aleutian Islands, where she covered oil, fish and sometimes pirates. She's also an alumni of the Metcalf Institute Science Reporting Fellowship. When not reporting, she's listening to public radio, often while running or skiing.

Ways to Connect

Amy Sisk / Inside Energy

The fight over the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota has brought to the fore tensions over whether tribes are adequately consulted about development that could affect them. Now, the Secretary of the Interior has issued an order addressing that.

Secretary Sally Jewell’s order directs agencies, including the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service to collaborate more with tribes on resource management.

Stephanie Joyce

A federal judge has ruled the Environmental Protection Agency has two weeks to figure out how to quantify coal jobs lost because of regulation.

The EPA currently analyzes potential economic impacts from proposed regulations, but the court said those measures aren’t detailed enough. Judge John Preston Bailey found the Clean Air Act requires the agency to specifically analyze the potential job impacts and to continue that analysis once the regulation is implemented.

Stephanie Joyce


The future is looking up for Wyoming’s wind industry.

There are few places in the country with more wind energy potential than Wyoming, but the state has seen almost no new wind turbines built in six years, even while wind has boomed in the rest of the country.

Depending on who you ask, the challenges have been political, technical or both. But now, the outlook is improving on all fronts.

Rone Tempest / WyoFile

The Department of Justice has filed criminal charges against the developer of the proposed Two Elk power plant in Campbell County. The project received almost $8 million in federal stimulus money for carbon capture research but the power plant was never built, and no research was ever conducted.

Rachel Anderson

In 2014, a massive explosion tore through the Williams natural gas processing plant in Opal. It forced the evacuation of the southwestern Wyoming town and caused a spike in the price of natural gas.

Wyoming’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an investigation in the aftermath and found a number of safety violations. But the agency never collected the corresponding fines and never released a final report about the investigation.

The Army Corps of Engineers has released its environmental impact analysis for a port that would ship coal from Wyoming, Montana and Colorado to Asia. 

The Millennium Bulk terminal is the last remaining coal export terminal still proposed for the West Coast. Half a dozen terminals have fallen through in the face of collapsing international coal prices and fierce opposition from tribes and environmentalists in west coast states.

What would be the first new coal mine to open in Wyoming in decades is one step closer to becoming reality after the state's Environmental Quality Council voted Wednesday to allow the project to proceed despite the objections of another coal company.

Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

Proposals for generating new state revenue failed to draw much support from the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee during its meeting this week.


The committee rejected proposals to increase taxes on wind energy and tobacco. A bill that would have introduced a sales tax on services also failed and a proposal to repeal some sales tax exemptions was largely gutted. Of the nine sales tax exemptions considered, the committee voted to keep five of them intact.


Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

After hearing more than five hours of public testimony, the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee rejected a bill Thursday that would have increased the tax on wind energy production.

Wyoming currently taxes production at $1 per megawatt hour, the only such tax in the nation. The state is facing a major budget shortfall because of the downturn in coal, oil and gas production. Raising the wind tax came up as a possible way to generate revenue for school construction. Rep. Mike Madden, R-Buffalo, introduced the failed proposal to raise the tax to $3 per megawatt hour.

Wyoming’s tobacco tax will remain among the lowest in the nation—at least for now. The Legislature’s Joint Revenue Committee overwhelmingly rejected a bill Thursday that would have raised the cigarette tax from 60 cents to 90 cents.


Committee co-chair Representative Mike Madden says the proposed increase would have allowed Wyoming’s tax to keep up with inflation. The last cigarette tax increase was in 2003.


Williams has identified the worker killed at the company's southwest Wyoming plant Wednesday as 36-year-old Michael Smuin of Kemmerer. The company says he was an operations technician at the Opal natural gas processing plant and had been with the company eight years.

The circumstances surrounding Smuin's death are still unclear. On Thursday, the Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration said a burst pipe may have been involved. A spokeswoman for the agency says a worker on-scene also reported seeing a cloud of natural gas.

The Wyoming Occupational Safety and Health Administration says a burst pipe may have been involved in the death of a worker at the Williams natural gas processing plant in southwest Wyoming Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the agency says a worker on-scene also reported seeing a cloud of natural gas.


The as-yet unidentified 36-year-old man’s death is under investigation by the state and the company.


Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

A federal judge has confirmed Arch Coal’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy.

Arch declared bankruptcy in January, citing a weak market for coal and a high debt load. The company’s bankruptcy attorney, Marshall Huebner, told the court Tuesday that through restructuring, Arch has positioned itself to emerge as a viable company.

“To make it a lean mean fighting machine for the coming era, which will remain challenging and complicated for the U.S. coal industry,” he said. 

Arch shed $4.7 billion in debt through bankruptcy. 

A federal agency says elevated levels of carbon dioxide and benzene at the Midwest School are an “urgent public health hazard.”

A federal judge will consider Arch Coal's updated plan to get out of bankruptcy Tuesday. As part of that new plan, the company says it will replace its self-bonds in Wyoming with something more secure.

Arch Coal has more than $400 million in estimated cleanup obligations at its Wyoming coal mines. In the past, Arch was allowed to self-bond those obligations—effectively making a promise to clean up, without putting up cash or collateral to insure those obligations.

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein gathered enough signatures to get her name on the November ballot in Wyoming, according to the Secretary of State's office. It is the first time a Green Party candidate has qualified for the ballot in Wyoming. 

Meanwhile, Evan McMullin, who is running as an anti-Trump independent, did not gather enough signatures to make it onto the ballot. Presidential candidates needed 3,302 signatures to qualify in this year’s election.

Rebecca Martinez


Gas prices are at a 12-year low heading into the Labor Day weekend.


Labor Day is often the last road trip of the summer for Americans, and filling up the car for the long weekend will be cheaper this year than it has been in past years. The average U.S. gas price is currently $2.24 a gallon—almost thirty cents lower than it was at this time last year.


Bureau of Land Management / Flickr

The Bureau of Land Management has released new documents to guide its sage grouse protection strategy. Last year, the agency announced new sage grouse management plans covering more than 60 million acres across 10 states. Those plans were a major factor in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision not to list the bird as endangered, but they didn't include many details about how the protections would actually be implemented.

Stephanie Joyce

In fiscal year 2016, the University of Wyoming’s utility bill was $10.8 million—almost $2 million more than fiscal year 2015. Next year, as new buildings under construction come online, that bill is likely to increase, even as the University faces $41 million in budget cuts. That means there may be hard choices ahead—keep the lights on, or keep people employed.

Dan Boyce/Inside Energy

With help from a supercomputer in Cheyenne, researchers have developed a new solar energy forecasting system that could help utilities integrate more renewables and save money.

Liz Cheney

After a hotly-contested primary, Liz Cheney secured the Republican nomination for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat by a landslide. Cheney took 40 percent of the vote. Her closest challengers were Leland Christensen, with 22 percent, and Tim Stubson, with 17 percent.

Cheney is a former Fox news commentator and the daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, who held the seat she is seeking from 1979 to 1989. 

Liz Cheney first ran for office in 2014 against Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi, but she dropped out of that race before the primary, citing family health problems.

Stephanie Joyce

The federal government is changing its rules for mine reclamation, to ensure there is money available for cleanup even when companies declare bankruptcy. 

Stephanie Joyce



Glance at a satellite image of northeast Wyoming, and you can’t miss the coal mines. Even zoomed out, the square-cornered grey blotches stand out—stretching north to south over more than 70 miles. But if all goes according to plan, someday, when the mining is done, those scars will disappear, erased from the landscape by intensive reclamation efforts.

Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons

The Environmental Protection Agency’s scientific advisors say the agency did not sufficiently justify its conclusion that fracking has not caused “widespread, systemic” groundwater contamination.

When the EPA released its draft study about fracking and groundwater contamination last year, that was the principal finding, despite specific examples of local contamination. In a review of that draft, the agency’s scientific advisors say that conclusion is not backed up by the data.

Wyoming PBS


Wyoming is facing a primary election on Tuesday amid a historic downturn in the state's energy industry. In recent weeks, candidates for a variety of offices, including those running for the U.S. House of Representatives, have weighed in on the current energy situation, and how they would fix it. Our energy reporter, Stephanie Joyce, joins us now to fact-check some of those claims.