Natural Resources & Energy

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Mike Cline, Public Domain

Two of the four wolves suspected of preying on cattle in northwest Wyoming have been killed. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials say that has successfully stopped the livestock depredations in the area, making it unnecessary to kill the other two wolves for now.

The Service’s Wyoming Field Supervisor Tyler Abbott says if it seems like there’s been more lethal control of wolves recently, that’s because there has been.

Penny Preston

While the National Park Service celebrated its 100th year of existence recently, the beloved federal agency is trying to figure out how to make it through the next century, while protecting the national parks “unimpaired for future generations”. Some people are concerned new funding sources may put corporate logos in the parks.

144 years after Yellowstone National Park was established, people from around the world still gasp and cheer when Old Faithful erupts.

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.


From Stan Burling’s house at the end of Main Street, it’s a minute walk to downtown Hazen in central North Dakota.

The street sports a thriving business community in this town of 2,400 with amenities like a drug store, an insurance company, a Chevy car dealer.

Power plants surround Hazen, along with the coal mines that feed them.

“They support the local economy,” Burling said.

About half the residents work in the industry, or in a related job.

“They buy their vehicles here, groceries, support the local retail businesses,” he said.

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU


Donald Trump is wooing energy-state voters by promising a presidency that will champion coal, promote drilling and free frackers from federal regulations limiting oil and gas development.

If the Republican candidate’s energy platform sounds like it was written specifically for fossil fuel companies, that’s because an Oklahoma oil billionaire helped craft it.

Donald Trump delivered his first major speech on U.S. energy policy at a petroleum conference in the capital city of one the country’s most oil-rich states, Bismark, North Dakota.

Standing Rock Sioux

Both tribes on the Wind River Reservation have submitted letters of support for the Standing Rock Sioux in the Dakotas. That tribe is protesting the development of an oil pipeline under the Missouri River, their main water source.

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.

Wikimedia Commons

The number of sage grouse in Wyoming increased for the third year in a row, according the latest Wyoming Game and Fish Department survey. According to Sage Grouse Program Coordinator Tom Christiansen numbers increased this year by 16 percent.

Last year, they grew 66% but that's because Wyoming's sage grouse count fell so sharply in 2012. The bird was even under consideration to be listed as an endangered species. But this year has been wet, which has meant more food for chicks and more cover from predators.

U.S. Forest Service

A Wyoming conservation group has released a report describing what they call a calculated and incremental approach to transferring federal public lands into state control. The Wyoming Outdoor Council’s report says there have been an increasing number of land transfer bills in recent years, not just in Wyoming but around the West.

WOC's Steff Kessler says supporters of the legislation want local control of federal lands, but she says that’s not what would happen.

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.

Aaron Schrank

Amid a wave of historic coal bankruptcies, states like Texas and Colorado have taken proactive steps to make sure coal companies are on the hook for their future cleanup costs while in Wyoming, over $1 billion of these cleanup costs have gotten tied up in bankruptcy court.

Why are there different outcomes in different energy-rich states?

Wikimedia Commons

The fundraising campaign to improve the Jenny Lake area in Grand Teton National Park finished on schedule, just in time for the National Park Service centennial.

The Inspiring Journeys campaign exceeded its goal of $14 million and has already contributed to improvements of backcountry trails, wayfinding paths, and visitor facilities. Construction that began three years ago is scheduled for completion in 2018.

Jeff Gunn, Flickr Creative Commons

Yellowstone National Park celebrates its 100th anniversary of the National Park Service this year, but park officials are also looking to the future. Yellowstone Superintendent, Dan Wenk, says he hopes the next 100 years will continue to see conservation efforts, like working with neighboring areas to provide the best migratory routes for wildlife. 

“The preservation efforts can’t stop at the boundaries of the park,” says Wenk. “Wildlife, for example, does not respect political boundaries and it needs a much greater ecosystem in order to live and to thrive.”

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.

As part of the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas this weekend, the Bureau of Land Management will host a horse show with all wild horses. The seventh annual Mustang Days aims to show the benefits of adopting wild horses.

The Bureau of Land Management has 16 wild horse herd management areas in Wyoming, and tries to keep the number of wild horses in the state to around 3500. When herds become overpopulated, some animals are put up for adoption.

Carbon emissions from burning natural gas are projected to surpass emissions from coal by around 10 percent this year. 

Wyoming Game and Fish

After sightings of mountain lions around Casper this summer, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will hold a workshop to educate residents about mountain lion behavior and how to prevent conflicts with the animals.

Janet Milek, a spokeswoman for the Casper region of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, said mountain lions have recently been spotted three times in town. 

For the second time in two years, the Bureau of Land Management will round up all the wild horses that roam a controversial area in southwest Wyoming. Known as “the Checkerboard,” it’s an area where wild horses live on federal and private land, but a court decision ruled that the BLM must manage the area's horses as if on private land. The horses collected in this round up will eventually be put up for adoption. 

Bob Beck

Wyoming Pathways, a cycling advocacy group, has been working to engage the public to discuss the future of the Pole Mountain non-motorized trails.

Pole Mountain is a popular recreation area near Laramie. During a recent meeting, Wyoming Pathways, the public and other recreation groups suggested improving signage, developing new loops, and better trail sustainability.

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. 

Rebecca Jacobson / Inside Energy

The federal government released new standards today aimed at increasing fuel efficiency and reducing carbon emissions from large vehicles like heavy-duty pickup trucks, semis and tractors. 

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.

Carol S. Bock

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department continues to put the finishing touches on the plan for how Wyoming will manage the grizzly bear. This week Game and Fish Commissioners voted to approve a three state agreement concerning how Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana would manage grizzlies when they come off the endangered species list. Wyoming Game and Fish Chief Game Warden Brian Nesvik joins us to provide an update on where those delisting efforts stand. 

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.

Stephanie Joyce

How strongly should Wyoming consider doing away with the practice of allowing coal companies to self-bond when it comes to clean up?   

WPM/NPR Community Discussion Rules

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

BHP Imaging

A University of Wyoming trail building program has created a summer work crew specifically for veterans in need of a job. The Wyoming Veterans Trail Crew will be a part of the Wyoming Conservation Corps beginning next May.

Trout Unlimited

Populations of native cutthroat trout appear to be rebounding, thanks to an effort to kill off an invasive species in Yellowstone Lake. More than 40 species, including bears, river otters and eagles, rely on cutthroat trout for food. But Trout Unlimited special project manager Dave Sweet said cutthroat have been under attack.

Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Media

With the downturn in the coal market, the federal government is encouraging states to reconsider whether to allow coal companies to self-bond. Self-bonding allows coal companies to avoid putting up cash or other assurances to guarantee their cleanup obligations.

The practice has come under scrutiny in the last year as many of the nation’s largest coal companies have declared bankruptcy with more than $2 billion in self-bonded cleanup on their books.


Concerns about who would be in charge of an integrated Western grid are delaying a decision on the issue, even though it is expected to increase the use of renewables across the West and save consumers millions of dollars.