Natural Resources & Energy

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Currently the sage grouse is not listed under the Endangered Species Act. And a bill before Congress  would prevent that from happening anytime in the next decade.

Until fairly recently, it was illegal to harvest rainwater in Colorado. Now, as in a number of other Western states, it’s seen as alternative water source in an increasingly dry landscape. But is rainwater safe?

Sybil Sharvelle, an environmental engineer at Colorado State University, is one researcher trying to answer that question.

Conservationists from around the country are opposing congressional legislation to allow a four-lane highway through a desert tortoise preserve in fast-growing southwestern Utah.

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Media

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission unanimously voted to approve hunting regulations for Grizzly Bears on Wednesday. It would allow up to ten bears to be killed within a core management area near Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and 12 more in other areas of the state.

Elk hunting map divided into each area
Wyoming Game and Fish Department

After 30 years, the way elk hunting licenses are handled for residents and non-residents may change. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department held eight different public meetings around the state last week to determine what could be modified.

Public Domain / Max Pixel

Twenty-eight great plains tribes are demanding two different sites in Yellowstone National Park be renamed. The request says Hayden Valley and Mount Doane are offensive because they memorialize a racist and a murderer. But with local government officials opposing the change, it seems unlikely to happen.

Public Domain / Jean Beaufort

Black bear attacks are extremely rare, but that could be changing. Wildlife officials say with more people coming into contact with wildlife, the chances for conflict will also increase. 

Sweetwater Solar Energy Project Project Overview
Bureau of Land Management

A potential solar energy project in southwest Wyoming obtained a permit last week moving it a step closer to construction. The Sweetwater Solar Energy Project, to be located near Green River, would be the largest the state’s ever seen, providing 80 megawatts of generating capacity to the electrical grid. That’s enough to power almost 12,000 homes each year, according to a project description given to the Bureau of Land Management.

The National Park Service has released a report on how sea level rise could impact its sites. The publication was delayed by about a year, and as we’ve reported, there were concerns over possible censorship in earlier drafts.

Maria Caffrey worked for years with the National Park Service researching and writing the report, only to wait for months for its actual release.

Bridger Teton National Forest

For the third year in a row, students from seven schools on the Wind River Reservation traveled to the Bridger-Teton National Forest to learn outdoor education. But this year fifth graders got some added instruction from tribal elders.

Each summer, thousands of firefighters devote long hours to putting out wildfires. At the end of each day, they retreat to camp a safe distance away where they can relax and recharge to be ready for their next shift. And also get fed. For the Mountain West News Bureau’s Faces Behind the Fire series, we talk to the man in charge of the kitchen.

 


Integrated Test Center Facebook Page

The Integrated Test Center is open for business. The Gillette-based facility is aimed at research and testing new uses for carbon dioxide, say, as a building material, common fuel, or green concrete. Many hope the center will find new, profitable uses for coal — Governor Matt Mead is one of them. In a brief conversation, the Governor discussed his expectations for the project and the risks that come with it.

United States Department of Agriculture

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was in Wyoming as part of a tour of the Mountain West. Secretary Perdue Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that he is getting a lot of feedback from producers over tariff and trade issues and how that might hurt Wyoming producers.

Tom Koerner, USFWS

Early one spring evening, I meet University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute’s Zoe Nelson at a rest area between Gillette and Buffalo. Shadows grow long on red bluffs and green sagebrush prairie. It’s that time of night when all the birds are going bonkers. We’re out here as part of a program to get regular folks like me and my husband, Ken—he’s tonight’s driver—to help keep track of short-eared owls. The program is called WAFLS or Western Asio Flammeus Landscape Study.

Kamila Kudelska

The Draper Natural History Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West will open a new permanent exhibition on June 10. The exhibition focuses on the last ten years of research on golden eagle activity in the Bighorn Basin. Golden eagles are a top predator so by studying the top of the food chain, researchers are learning not just about the bird but also about the dynamics of animals they eat and the ecosystem they live in.  

President Trump just dismantled policies requiring federal agencies reduce their own greenhouse gas emissions and meet other environmental targets.


Panel at the "Future of Solar" event with Cheyenne Representative Dan Zwonitzer on the left
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

Legislators, businesspeople, and residents came together in Laramie Wednesday to discuss the future of solar energy in Wyoming. The event was organized by the Powder River Basin Resource Council and the Wyoming Outdoor Council.

National Park Service

Japan is considering hitting back against the U.S. in retaliation for America's steel and aluminum tariffs. A Japanese levy could hurt our region's agricultural industry.

Yellowstone National Park is moving forward with a plan to help create new herds of wild, genetically-pure bison across the country.

Maggie Mullen

Every summer, it takes a village to fight wildfires. For this upcoming season, we spoke with all kinds of people that lend a hand, from those on the frontlines, to others working a bit further back from the flames. For the Faces Behind the Fire series, Maggie Mullen talked to an archeologist with the U.S. Forest Service who helps decide what needs be preserved and what can be left to burn.


Rowdy Muir started fighting fires on the front lines when he was 27.

A U.S. district court judge has struck down the City of Oakland’s ban on transporting coal through a planned export terminal there.

(NPS Photo/ Tim Rains)

A conservation group sent a petition this week to Governor Matt Mead’s office against the proposed grizzly bear hunt. The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) said hunting grizzly bears is too aggressive of a management tool. Especially given the bears have just been taken off the endangered species list.

The governors of neighboring Western states shared a stage Tuesday to talk about energy. Utah Republican Gary Herbert and Colorado Democrat John Hickenlooper agreed about many issues — until they were asked afterward about the Trump administration. That's when it became clear they have contrasting views on how the federal government is listening to the states.

Millennium Bulk Terminals Header
Millennium Bulk Terminals

Six states including Wyoming and national interest groups are pushing back against a decision that could stop a major coal export terminal from getting licensed. Last year, Washington State regulators denied critical permits for the terminal which would be the largest in North America if approved. It would connect western coal to Asian markets.

Steamboat Geyser steaming
Kamila Kudelska

Early Sunday morning, Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone National Park erupted for the fifth time this year. It erupted for the first time in mid-March.

Corinna Riginos

Mountain West states like Wyoming and Montana are high risk for wildlife-vehicle collisions. These accidents result in expensive damages and sometimes even death for both wildlife and drivers. One group of scientists found an unlikely solution.

Fire experts say this season could be big for wildfires in our region. Our Mountain West New Bureau takes you behind the scenes with stories about the people who protect our communities, land and wildlife during wildlfire season. 

This story is about the people who rush into the smoke not to save people or structures, but … animals.  

Madelyn Beck

What do you think about the state's ongoing efforts focused on carbon capture and clean coal?

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U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Public Domain

Wyoming U.S. Senator John Barrasso helped craft a sweeping bipartisan bill that could go a long way to deal with Wyoming water issues.

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