Natural Resources & Energy

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Energy Information Administration

Wyoming's total carbon emissions are on the rise, even as the state's per-capita emissions have fallen.

Wyoming’s falling per-capita emissions followed the national trend from 2005 to 2013. Forty-eight states’ per-capita emissions fell, while just three rose, according to the Energy Information Administration.

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

As coal companies struggle to remain afloat, Wyoming regulators are reviewing the state’s rules for how companies put money aside for clean-up. 

Inside Energy

This Thanksgiving our holiday feast will contain 4500 calories. Those calories are just a measure of energy, and that food was produced using fossil fuels. In this video, Inside Energy's Dan Boyce explains how fossil fuels are, in fact, your food:

Stephanie Joyce

There are few places where the connection between energy and food is more obvious than at the Bright Agrotech warehouse in Laramie, Wyoming.

Most of the building is filled floor to ceiling with giant shelves of cardboard boxes and tubing—equipment Bright Agrotech sells to farmers—but in one corner of the warehouse, there’s a small farm: rows and rows of greens and herbs, growing in white vertical towers under dozens of bright LEDs. The hum of electricity is palpable.


Under threat of being held in contempt of court, a Wyoming advocacy group is backing down from its challenge of a bankrupt coal company's mining permits.  

The Powder River Basin Resource Council argues that Alpha Natural Resources shouldn't be allowed to renew its mine permit because it doesn’t have sufficient bonding in place to ensure mine clean-up, which is something that is required by law.

Remember when Democrats controlled Congress a few years back? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had stout majorities back then. Yet even then Democrats couldn’t get legislation passed to combat climate change. So why is the Obama administration preparing to go to Paris to promise the world drastic emission reductions from the United States? U.S. Representative Cynthia Lummis said the answer is simple.

“Oh, he’s bypassing Congress.”

Lummis said President Obama isn’t being honest with global leaders as he’s promising lavish reductions in CO2.


Everyone knows North Dakota is an oil state. But it’s the state’s coal industry that’s feeling the heat from the federal Clean Power Plan, which targets carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Under the final version of the plan, North Dakota will have to cut its emissions by 45 percent – more any other state except Montana.

Wyoming Migration Initiative, Matt Kauffman


In the hills south of Rock Springs, it's blizzarding. But Wyoming Game and Fish biologist Patrick Burke says it's actually great weather for tracking mule deer.

“You know, with no winds like this, and fresh snow,” he says, “that's really good for helping locate animals.”

Burke and other scientists have braved this weather today in hopes of capturing deer with helicopters to put satellite radio collars on them. They've already collared 18, but they want to do 50. 

University of Wyoming Professor Kevin Monteith is one of the group.

Willow Belden

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is proposing changes to its rules for burning or “flaring” natural gas. 

Natural gas is a byproduct of drilling for oil, but when there aren't nearby pipelines or processing facilities to take the gas, companies often burn it for a period of time.

Environmental groups say flaring wastes a valuable, non-renewable resource and creates air quality problems for nearby residents.

With snow in the forecast, you’re probably not thinking much about mosquitoes. But the Laramie City Council is.

Laramie Beekeeper Helen Coates says last July, after the city sprayed organophosphates--a powerful common insecticide-- on the fields surrounding the city, she found hundreds of dead bees outside her hive. She says the chemical may be the cheapest approach, but it’s the worst for the environment.

“If you go spray, for example, a field of blooming yellow clover, you’re going to kill all the pollinators, probably some birds, it’s toxic to fish, etc.”

USDA Photo by Scott Bauer

What do you think the state should do to protect big game migration routes? 

WPM/NPR Community Discussion Rules

By contributing your comment, you consent to the possibility of having it read on the air. 

Google Earth

Standing on a windy stretch of highway with Karla Oksanen, we peer into a vast, dark, open-pit mine near Gillette, Wyo. She and her husband live so close to Eagle Butte Mine that when operators detonate dynamite to clear dirt away from the coal seams, they can feel it.

“The shaking from the blasts, yeah,” Oksanen said with a laugh. “It’s kind of like an earthquake!”

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is once again considering a proposal to dispose of oil and gas wastewater in the Madison aquifer in Fremont County.

The proposal would allow waste from the Moneta Divide project to be injected into a 15,000 foot aquifer. Encana originally petitioned for the aquifer exemption back in 2013. Aethon Energy has since purchased the field.

The water in the aquifer is considered to be good quality, but the company has argued that because it is so deep, it won’t ever be used as a drinking water source.

FMC Corporation

Scientists discussed new discoveries about big game migrations this week at a conference at the University of Wyoming. The forum—called “Sustaining Big Game Migrations in the West”-- brought together experts to discuss how to protect migration routes without hurting the state’s economy.

Wyoming Migration Initiative Director Matt Kauffman says such a forum is important right now because new science shows migrating animals are easily affected by development.


The New York attorney general and Peabody Energy have come to an agreement over the company’s disclosures related to climate change.

The attorney general’s office launched the investigation in 2007. Over the weekend, the office agreed to drop the investigation if Peabody includes certain disclosures about the risks of climate change in its future filings with regulators.

After reporting a $2 billion loss in the third quarter, Arch Coal says it could declare bankruptcy in "the near term."

Photo By Yathin S Krishnappa, Wikipedia Commons

As mule deer populations decline, new research shows just how important migration routes are to the species’ survival. The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission met last week to discuss whether to make stricter recommendations to federal land managers about how to protect those migration routes.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokesman Renny McKay says, one of the commission’s goals is to better identify where animals stop to graze and rest—and perhaps offer stronger protection to those areas.

Photo by Henry Patton, Flickr Creative Commons

If the entire Greenland ice cap were to melt, scientists predict sea levels would rise more than 20 feet. Climate change is speeding up melting of the ice sheet, but it’s not clear by how much. The New York Times recently profiled one of the few research projects taking direct measurements to answer that question. One of the researchers is University of Wyoming graduate student Brandon Overstreet.

Amid low prices and weak demand, Peabody Energy has withdrawn an application to lease additional coal on federal land in the Powder River Basin.

Companies nominate coal tracts for leasing and then are invited to bid on them at auction. Peabody expressed interest the Antelope Ridge tracts back in 2011. They contain an estimated one billion tons of coal.

The company withdrew its application last month. The move follows a recent drop-off in federal coal sales in Wyoming—there hasn’t been one since 2012. Arch Coal also pulled one of its applications earlier this year.

Duncan Harris, Flickr Creative Commons

A bankrupt coal company has proposed cutting a variety of medical benefits for retired workers in order to improve its balance sheet. 

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest

One of the state’s most popular recreation areas is getting too much love with roads and camp sites in the Pole Mountain area cropping up everywhere. So the Medicine Bow National Forest is tackling a large-scale travel plan that would help decide what roads and camp sites should be kept, and which need to go.

Spokesman Aaron Voos says the agency relied in part on public comments to create their proposed plan.

Bureau of Land Management, Wikimedia Commons

With mule deer numbers plummeting all over the West, a new research project in Rock Springs is looking at why elk populations continue to thrive. 

In cooperation with the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming Game and Fish, the Muley Fanatic Foundation plans to put tracking collars on 35 elk and 50 mule deer to compare the diet, predators, disease and other factors of the two species. Muley Fanatic Co-Founder Joshua Coursey, says one reason the two species may be faring so differently is their diets.

The Jackson area saw its first significant snowfall of the season this week, and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is busy preparing to open its slopes. The early-season storm brought more than 20 inches to the top of the mountain.

"We are definitely seeing some great traffic from this new snow," said Anna Cole, spokeswoman for the resort. "We are seeing people actively calling and planning vacations. This is our, this is a very busy time of year."

Although the winter storm dropped plenty of snow, Cole says they’re also making snow, to help cover the base of the mountain.

The Sierra Club has filed a citizen complaint with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, asking the agency to suspend permits for bankrupt coal miner Alpha Natural Resources.

True Oil is once again looking to drill exploratory wells in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The company first proposed drilling the wells in 2012, but never moved forward with the plan.

The wells are proposed for roughly 22 miles northwest of Big Piney. One of them would be on an existing well pad, the other would be on a previously reclaimed well pad. 

Gaping Gash Opens Up In Wyoming Mountains

Nov 2, 2015

Wyoming, home to Yellowstone National Park, is known for spectacular geological phenomena.

Recently, a huge fissure in the Earth –about 750 yards long and 50 yards wide — was discovered in the Bighorn Mountains in north-central Wyoming. It’s being called “The Crack” or “The Gash.”

Wikipedia Commons

A new rule that will make it easier to restore black-footed ferret populations.

The 10(j) rule lets private landowners open up their lands to reintroduction in return for looser restrictions. Under the rule, if a landowner accidentally harms or kills a ferret, he or she will not be prosecuted under the Endangered Species Act.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman Ryan Moehring, says his agency partnered with Wyoming officials to develop the rule.

Department of the Interior

The Department of the Interior says taxpayers should not be saddled with the bill when it comes to coal mine cleanup, amid growing concerns over funding for reclamation as the coal industry’s financial health deteriorates.   

The issue revolves around a financial tool called self-bonding. It allows coal companies to mine without putting up money for cleanup costs if they can pass a test of financial strength.

The National Park Service's draft plan for the Moose-Wilson corridor road in Grand Teton National Park is getting mixed reviews.

The 674-page  plan lays out four alternatives for the road, but endorses “Alternative C.” That plan would limit the number of cars allowed to be on the road, pave the road to provide for better bicycle access, and add a new ranger kiosk, among other things.

For years, wild horse advocates have called for the prosecution of a Colorado rancher who bought more than 1700 wild horses in 2012 and sold them to slaughterhouses in Mexico. Last week, the U.S. Inspector General released a report confirming the allegations.

Wild horse advocate Ginger Kathrens with the Cloud Foundation says the Bureau of Land Management policy that let people buy 35 horses at a time made it easy for rancher Tom Davis to take advantage.