Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

After a three year, $900,000 investigation, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has concluded fracking did not cause water contamination in Pavillion . But the agency has not ruled out contamination from oil and gas development in general. Pavillion emerged at the center of the national debate over fracking back in 2011 when the Environmental Protection Agency released a report showing elevated levels of various petroleum compounds and methane in some area water wells.

Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

The Environmental Protection Agency says it could take two years to develop an accurate method for measuring the impact of its regulations on coal jobs.

In October, in response to a lawsuit from Murray Energy, one of the nation's largest coal companies, a federal district court judge in West Virginia ordered the EPA...

Joshua Doubek / Wikimedia Commons

A U.S. District Court judge in Wyoming has struck down a rule that would have governed fracking on federal lands. Judge Scott Skavdahl concluded in his ruling that the Department of the Interior does not have the authority to regulate fracking and called the attempt to do so an “end-run” around the 2005 Energy Policy Act. That law explicitly exempted fracking from regulation by another arm of the executive branch—the Environmental Protection Agency. Among other things, the Interior rule would...

Stephanie Joyce

The latest attempt to block a federal rule addressing mercury pollution from power plants has failed. The Mercury and Air Toxics Standards target mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants, which are the largest source of the toxin. Mercury can cause health problems, especially in children. Last year, the Supreme Court sent the rule back to the lower courts after finding that the Environmental Protection Agency hadn’t adequately considered cost when formulating the rule. The agency has...

A Wyoming man has won a two-year battle with the Environmental Protection Agency over a stock pond he constructed on his property. Andy Johnson of Fort Bridger was told by the EPA that he violated the clean water act by developing the pond, without the necessary federal permits. The pond was created from a creek. The agency threatened to fine him over 37-thousand dollars for every day he failed to remove the pond. In a lawsuit, Johnson contested the EPA’s authority. This week he reached a...

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking has contaminated water resources in the Pavillion area, according to a new study from Stanford University. Dominic DiGiulio, the lead author of the study, also wrote the 2011 Environmental Protection Agency draft report that first linked fracking to groundwater contamination in the Pavillion area. DiGuilio left the EPA in 2014, but continued researching Pavillion as a visiting scholar at Stanford. For the current paper , which was published Tuesday in the...

Emily Guerin / Inside Energy

BNSF Railway has agreed to pay $600,000 to settle alleged environmental violations in Wyoming, Colorado and North Dakota.

The settlement covers several oil spills as well as compliance violations. The largest spill was in 2010, when a train derailed and leaked 7,400 gallons of...

Earthworks

The oil and gas industry may be emitting more methane, a potent greenhouse gas, than previously thought, according to new estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency. Methane can leak from wells, pipelines and compressor stations, among other things. At an energy conference in Houston, EPA administrator Gina McCarthy said the administration is not planning to turn a blind eye to the oil and gas industry's increased contributions. "The data confirm that we can and must do more on...

In a surprise move earlier this month, the Supreme Court put the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan on hold while legal challenges are resolved. On Thursday, speaking at a conference in Cheyenne, an official with the Environmental Protection Agency suggested that the delay may give states more time to comply with the rule if it is ultimately upheld. Laura Farris is the Climate Change Coordinator for EPA Region 8, which includes western states like Wyoming, Colorado, and North Dakota....

Stephanie Joyce

The Supreme Court has put the Obama administration’s signature climate change rule on hold while lower courts consider legal challenges. The Clean Power Plan would cut carbon emissions from power plants 32 percent by 2030, nationwide. Each state has an individual reduction target though, and Wyoming and North Dakota have some of the highest in the nation because of their dependence on coal-fired power. Both states are among the more than two dozen, including Colorado, suing the federal...

Last week, a judge in North Dakota ruled against an EPA decision that would have imposed stricter water quality regulations for streams and tributaries around the U.S. Wyoming and 12 other Western states sued the federal government over the rule, known as the Waters of the United States rule. Supporters say it would help states comply with the Clean Water Act by protecting wetlands and stopping industrial dumping. But a federal judge sided with those states, agreeing it would place too heavy...

Methane is one of the principal components of natural gas. It is also a greenhouse gas that is around 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Today, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled the first-ever federal regulations to limit those emissions from oil and gas production. According to the EPA, it is targeting oil and gas because that industry is responsible for around 30% of all methane emissions. That is bad for the environment but is also a waste. According to a new study led by...

Office of the Governor

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says the state will draft a plan to comply with new federal regulations for carbon emissions from power plants. The Obama administration released the final version of its Clean Power Plan last week. It requires Wyoming to reduce its carbon emissions more than 40 percent by 2030 . “We don’t live in a vacuum," Mead said. "We look at it and say, ‘if this comes about, whether we’re forced to do a state plan or a federal plan, how would we go about doing it?’” But he...

Leigh Paterson / Inside Energy

The Environmental Protection agency is set to release the first-ever federal limits on carbon emissions from power plants on Monday. Inside Energy’s Leigh Paterson reports The Clean Power Plan is a key part of President Obama’s climate agenda and will likely force a lot more natural gas, wind, and solar to come online. Critics say the plan will raise electricity rates and kill coal mining jobs. But Sarah Propst of the InterWest Energy lliance says it could actually present economic...

10 th circuit Federal court judges have denied Andrew Yellowbear's request to become a “friend of the court” in a case about the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision that the city of Riverton falls inside reservation boundaries. Yellowbear was convicted by a state court in the 2004 murder of his infant daughter. He argues he should have been tried in a federal court since, according to the EPA, Riverton is part of the reservation. Northern Arapaho Councilman Darryl O’Neal says...

A senior executive at one of the nation’s largest power companies says Wyoming needs to be working on solutions for compliance with the Clean Power Plan. The plan calls for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from the power sector nationwide by 2030. Wyoming state agencies have said it’s unworkable and Governor Matt Mead has called on the Environmental Protection Agency to scrap the rule. But a number of speakers at the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority’s winter meeting urged state...

Stephanie Joyce

The federal government has given its blessing for an underground coal gasification (UCG) test project in Wyoming. UCG involves gasifying -- basically, incompletely burning -- coal seams deep underground to produce syngas, which can be converted to diesel and other liquid fuels. Linc Energy’s project needed Environmental Protection Agency approval because it will pollute an aquifer (the company says it will restore the aquifer to its original quality after the test burn). Several environmental...

Cynthia Lummis

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations has approved a budget for the Interior and Environment for 2015, and Wyoming Representative Cynthia Lummis says, if passed into law, the bill would have a huge impact on Western states like Wyoming. For instance, it would provide a one-time payment to counties with large amounts of federal lands for lost property taxes. Lummis says this program—called Payment in Lieu of Taxes—could really help counties in the western part of the...

The state says it will release both the draft and final versions of reports investigating water contamination in Pavillion. The clarification comes after landowners wrote a letter to Governor Matt Mead protesting the state’s plan to release the draft to Encana, the oil and gas company some accuse of polluting the water, before releasing it to the public. Mead's spokesperson, Renny MacKay, says by releasing both copies, and the comments provided by Encana, the Environmental Protection Agency...

Wyoming's Wind River Country

An organization that's working to end tribal sovereignty hosted a national conference in Riverton this weekend. The group is protesting the Environmental Protection Agency's recent decision that the city of Riverton falls within Wind River reservation boundaries. That has led to tensions between tribal members, the state, and Riverton. The group--known as Citizens Equal Rights Alliance—posted on their website that it isn't fair that tribal members receive special status because it threatens...

Mead Visits Washington To Promote Coal Exports

Jun 4, 2014
Cassandra Profita / OPB

A controversial coal export terminal proposed for this Columbia River town has a big supporter from Wyoming. Governor Matt Mead was in Longview Tuesday to tour the old aluminum smelter where the The Millennium Bulk coal export terminal would move up to 44 million tons a year of Wyoming coal off trains and onto ships bound for Asia. It’s a terminal he says is important to coal producers in his state – especially as the industry faces new regulations on coal-fired power plants in the U.S. Mead...

The city of Sheridan has received a $400,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the north end of its downtown. The money will pay to assess several contaminated sites including an abandoned rail yard, sawmill and fuel storage areas that many see as slowing economic growth. John Hynamen is the project manager for the North Main Association that applied for the grant. He says they have plans for the area. "There's going to be a new school going into that part of town. It...

Wikimedia Commons

The Obama administration said Monday that it intends to aggressively reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, or greenhouse gas pollution, produced in the United States. To boost these ambitions, the White House will partner with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enforce varying rules state-by-state to be carried out by power plants that produce the gases. If successfully implemented, the regulations will deliver a 30 percent decrease in carbon emissions by 2030. The plans are widely...