Natural Resources & Energy

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Kamila Kudelska


Abnormal activity in Yellowstone National Park has some people thinking the end of the world is near. In the past two months, Steamboat Geyser has erupted four times. This is highly unusual for the geyser, which unlike Old Faithful can go years between eruptions. Some believe this means the super volcano that sits beneath Yellowstone will erupt next. But is doomsday really upon us?

Wyoming State Geological Survey

On a bright, cloudless day in southwest Wyoming, Rick Hebdon, a commercial fossil collector, drove over a steep dirt road to one of his quarries within the Green River Formation. He’s been uncovering fossils for most of his life, but it still holds a thrill for him.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department logo
Wyoming Game and Fish Department

If a grizzly bear hunt does happen this fall, only one female bear will be up for grabs. This comes after the Wyoming Game and Fish Department made changes to its proposed regulations for the first grizzly bear hunting season since the animals were taken off the endangered species list.

Highway 30 next to the Kemmerer Mine
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

In this past budget session, Wyoming’s state legislature funded a $30 million project that would benefit a coal mine that’s owner may soon go bankrupt. Westmoreland Coal Company is over a billion dollars in debt and has mentioned the possibility of bankruptcy in this past quarterly report. State legislators approved the sizable project, which would invest money relocating the highway U.S. 30 to accommodate a mine expansion.

Wildfire season is ramping up across our region. There are all sorts of people involved in waiting, watching and fighting them -- people you might not expect. We’re profiling some of them in a series, Faces Behind The Fires.


Annual Solar and Biomass Electricity Capacity (2014-2017)
Electric Power Monthly / U.S. Energy Information Administration

Solar generation surpassed biomass in 2017 to become the third most generated renewable resource in the U.S., according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. It still lags behind wind and hydropower.

It’s an international agreement but Trump's decision to leave the nuclear deal with Iran could be felt in our region for good and for bad.

While Colorado and Utah didn’t get a lot of snow this winter, the Northern Rockies did. But now those record-breaking snowpacks are melting really fast and causing some of the worst flooding in more than four decades.

Researchers at Idaho State University said they’ve lost a small amount of weapons-grade plutonium. Federal officials aren’t pleased.

Bighorn sheep
Magnus Kjaergaard via Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license

Federal mineral leasing has increased under Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. But it looks like he has a soft spot for bighorn sheep. Last week, the Department of Interior announced plans to renew a mineral withdrawal for the Whiskey Mountain Bighorn Sheep. A mineral withdrawal limits mining activity.

The Trump administration’s plans to cut red tape on environmental projects is getting predictably mixed reviews.

Kemmerer Mine
Westmorealnd Coal Company

One of the largest producers of coal in the country may soon face Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Westmoreland Coal Company's stock has been in free fall over the last year and several of its primary customers are moving away from coal.

Environmental Protection Agency

Despite the concern of others, Wyoming’s congressional delegation says EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has been great for the state’s industries and they don’t seem too worried about all the scandals hanging over him. 

NASA Earth Observatory

National Parks and Monuments are preparing for the onslaught of summer tourists, and park officials are hoping visitors will remember these are wild places with wild animals. Yellowstone National Park has already seen two dangerous incidents over the last week.

Raspberry deLight Farms

Studies show that Albany County has the highest rates of food insecurity in the state. One organization hopes to fix that with the help of a $400,000 Food Project Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Society for American Archeology canceled a panel this spring because the Bureau of Land Management wouldn’t pay for its staffers to attend and lead a symposium on Land Management issues.

Daniel Mayer Via CC BY-SA 3.0

After an encounter with a bison left a visitor with minor injuries, Yellowstone National Park officials are cautioning tourists to give wild animals in the park lots of space.

According to a monthly survey, farmers across the U.S. aren’t feeling too optimistic these days.  

Eric Kilby via Flicker with Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The largest fossil of a mammal ever found in the Green River formation is getting ready for further research. The ancient fossil was found damaged and in several parts back in 2016 in the 50-million-year old formation.

It’s been identified as in the tapiromorph family. The actual species is still debated, though a Duke University paleontologist identified it as a Heptodon calciculus. 

Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is helping Wyoming clean up contaminated areas for future redevelopment. Three state and local organizations will split $1.4 million. Wyoming is among 144 grantees in the competitive national process. The EPA gave out over $54 million in total.

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, the City of Douglas, and the Wyoming Business Council will receive the funds. The DEQ and the Business Council are partnering to combine their grants and create a revolving loan for clean-up available to any Wyoming community. 

Clean Coal Technologies, Inc. logo
Clean Coal Technologies, Inc.

A company attempting to improve the burning efficiency of coal has found a permanent site for a testing facility. Clean Coal Technologies, Inc. (CCTI) will build just outside of Gillette in Fort Union Park. 

In a flurry of lawsuits stretching across the West, conservation groups are accusing the federal government of failing to protect a rare bird: the sage grouse. This week, the groups involved in one of those lawsuits came to a legal truce.

A male Sage Grouse (also known as the Greater Sage Grouse) in the USA
Pacific Southwest Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Sacramento, US

A draft revision of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) plans to change Obama-era sage grouse protections in Wyoming surfaced this week, even though they won’t be officially released until next month or so. The revised plan would potentially allow energy development in areas considered the bird’s best habitat, especially mature sage brush lands.

After nearly a month of terse exchanges among water managers in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona about Colorado River conservation strategies, representatives from the five states met Monday in Salt Lake City to hash out their differences.

At issue is how the Central Arizona Project (CAP) -- the operator of a 336-mile aqueduct that pumps Colorado River water to farmers and cities -- is conserving water in Lake Mead, the river’s largest reservoir. The project is managed by the Central Arizona Water Conservancy District (CAWCD) and is the state’s largest water provider.

Charles Preston

When federal protections were lifted for the Yellowstone-area grizzly bear last year, conservation groups quickly got to work to reverse that decision. One of those attempts was recently thwarted when U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced they would not restore protections after a months-long review.

Old Faithful gets all the attention, but a geyser called Steamboat is the world’s tallest active geyser. And it’s acting a little odd.

NPS - Tim Rains

Wyoming is considering the first grizzly bear hunt since the bear was put on the endangered species list.  

What are your thoughts on the proposed grizzly bear hunt in Wyoming?

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Dan Salkeld doesn’t like plunging toilets, filling out tax forms, or clipping his children's toenails. But he loves collecting ticks in Colorado.

The Bureau of Land Management has presented Congress with a controversial new plan to manage wild horses.

National parks tourism pumped nearly $36 billion into the U.S. economy last year, and communities just outside the parks benefited the most. That’s where more than 330 million visitors dropped more than $18-billion-dollars and supported 255 thousand jobs.

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