September 30th, 2011

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A listing of today's stories:

Many think Wyoming’s new fracking regulations don’t go far enough.
Both Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency are looking at ways to better regulate what is called hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking. It involves using a pressurized mix of water, sand and chemicals to release oil or gas into a well. Today we are going to have two stories on this topic. Recently Wyoming enhanced its regulations concerning fracking. Yet critics complain that there is still too much leeway for companies to do as they please. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports.

Residents of Pavillion want answers to what caused their water contamination.
A few years ago, residents of the town of Pavillion began complaining of health problems that they blamed on water contamination. Many in the town wondered if local oil and gas development, as well as hydraulic fracturing – was to blame. Recently residents went looking for answers. The subject was touched on during a recent Hydraulic Fracturing conference and Wyoming Public Radio’s Tristan Ahtone brings us this update.

A conversation with the Ambassador to Tunisia.
The U-S Ambassador to Tunisia visited the University of Wyoming this week. Gordon Gray was in Tunisia during the revolution which toppled the former president and snowballed into the so-called “Arab Spring.” He discussed his insights on the regime change – and on the connection between Wyoming and Tunisia – with Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden.

Wyoming’s cultural community will join for a unique conversation.
Next week in Cody will be the first gathering of Wyoming’s Cultural Community. Called Convergence it takes place October 6th through the 8th at the Cody Holiday Inn. Milward Simpson is the Director of the Department of State Parks and Cultural resources and he explains the significance of the gathering to Bob Beck.

Senator Al Simpson is remembered in a new book by his former Chief of Staff.
Shooting from the Lip, the Life of Senator Al Simpson is a new book that takes items from Simpson’s papers and personal journals and portrays his 18 years in the U-S Senate. It is written by the only person who was with Simpson that entire time, his longtime chief of staff Don Hardy. Hardy grew up near Simpson and has known him for 50 years. Hardy joins Bob Beck to explain something that is frequently mentioned in the book. That is how often Simpson worked with Democrats to get things done. Something that seems foreign in today’s political world.

Communities address landfill problems.
In order to keep up with federal water quality standards, localities around Wyoming are choosing to line their landfills with an expensive protective layer, or ship their waste to ones that do. Years after surrounding states got started, Wyoming is setting up a de facto system of regional landfills and 100-mile garbage routes. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez has more.

Medicaid fraud rampant in Wyoming.
Type in Medicaid fraud on your favorite internet search engine and you will find hundreds of stories related to the crime. Medicaid is health insurance provided to those who cannot afford to pay for health care. It’s paid for by both the state and federal government. While there are occasional recipients that will bilk the system, in Wyoming it’s typically providers who are the guilty parties. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports that this fraud can lead to unfortunate consequences.

Despite the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell gays, anti gay bias may still exist in the military.
Last week marked the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which means gays and lesbians can now serve openly in the military. Members of the L-G-B-T community here in Wyoming are applauding the repeal of the policy. But they say entrenched biases – both in the military, and in the general public – may make it hard for gay service members to feel comfortable coming out. And they still feel there’s a long way to go before they’ll be accepted as equals here in this state. Wyoming Public Radio’s Willow Belden reports.