Governor Matt Mead

Bob Beck

Last week, Governor Matt Mead attended a cable cutting for a new biogas-fueled data center in Cheyenne. It’s a zero emissions demonstration project built in collaboration with Microsoft, the governor’s office, the University of Wyoming and the utilities industry. Cheyenne LEADS is an economic development group that helped coordinate the project.

The group’s CEO Randy Bruns says many solid waste plants around the U.S. create biofuel to control the methane build-up they produce and to power their facilities. But no one has ever tried powering a data center with this kind of energy.

In a press conference Thursday, Governor Matt Mead says he’s instructed the Attorney General to remove the sheriff of Campbell County from office. County commissioners submitted a complaint last week saying Sheriff Pownall tampered with drunk driving charges against his son, Seth. The sheriff is accused of coercing his deputies into changing it to a pedestrian under the influence charge.

Governor Mead says he was troubled by the report since he recently supported Pownall’s nomination for legislature.

Governor Mead handily beat Democratic Challenger Pete Gosar. A strong economy generally favors the incumbent, and Mead undercut one of Gosar’s main criticisms when he came out in favor of Medicaid expansion earlier this year. Governor Mead says this term he wants to expand Medicaid in Wyoming.

“We are going to present an expansion plan to the Legislature for their consideration,” he says. “It's going to be a better plan than we had last year going into session.”

Wyoming Public Radio's Bob Beck joins Morning Edition Host Caroline Ballard to help analyze the races and issues at stake in tomorrow's elections.

A federal judge has overturned Wyoming’s ban on same sex marriage.

The court has ordered that Wyoming must begin issuing same sex marriage licenses, but it has stayed that order until next Thursday, or until the State decides not to appeal the ruling.

“I’ve reached out to the State Attorney General’s office and asked them if they would file a notice with the court indicating they don’t intend to appeal,” says James Lyman, an attorney with the plaintiffs. “If they do not appeal the order will go into effect immediately. I have not yet received a response from them.”

During a debate last night in Riverton, Democratic candidate for Governor Pete Gosar said that governor Matt Mead has lacked leadership. Gosar pointed to the failure to expand Medicaid among other things.

“We have gambled with our economy on one commodities price, the price of oil. And as we benefited as it went up it is now at 80 dollars and looking to go further south. I hope that the governor has a plan. I look at education policy,  under this governor’s term we have stopped teaching science in our schools.”

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, praised sage grouse conservation efforts in Wyoming during a tour of a ranch outside of Pinedale on Wednesday. The Bousman Ranch is one of nine in Wyoming that have agreed to work with the Fish and Wildlife Service on sage grouse conservation. During the tour Secretary Jewell learned about the ranch’s new strategies for protecting the grouse, such as converting windmill water tanks to solar to eliminate perches for the grouse’s predators like hawks and ravens.

Jimmy Emerson, Flickr Commons

This week, 9 school district superintendents met with Governor Mead to contend that the state has underfunded its K-12 schools. While Wyoming ranks near the top of the pack when it comes to per-student funding, this coalition of districts says that funding has not been properly adjusted for inflation each year—and the shortages have meant cutting crucial programs in some districts. But some lawmakers say it’s more complicated than that.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead is seeking his second term in office and one of the things he is touting is growth in business and the state’s overall economy. Democratic challenger Pete Gosar admits that on paper the economy looks good, but he says it lacks diversity and says if you aren’t working in the energy sector…things might not be so great. Bob Beck spoke with both candidates about the economy and has this report.

Mark Fischer via Flickr

On Monday the United State Supreme Court declined to hear challenges to federal court rulings that had overturned bans on gay marriage in states across the country. One of those federal courts was the 10th circuit court, which is based in Denver and has authority over Wyoming.

gosarforgovernor.com

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says it’s the duty of the state attorney general to continue to defend state law in the court that says marriage can only occur between one man and one woman. But his Democratic opponent Pete Gosar says the state should drop the case and allow gay marriage to occur in Wyoming.

"I think there are no differences in citizens in our constitution and in the U.S. constitution and what’s afforded to one, must be afforded to all."

INSIDE ENERGY: Wyoming Governor Offers Coal Country Tour

Oct 8, 2014
Michael Werner

Treaty fishing rights give Northwest tribes extra clout when it comes to the future of proposed coal terminals on the Columbia River and Puget Sound.

That’s not lost on the governor of Wyoming, a big proponent of coal exports.

Gov. Matt Mead is inviting Northwest tribal leaders on an all-expenses-paid trip to coal country in Northeastern Wyoming, according to an email obtained by EarthFix.

David via Flickr

Monday’s Supreme Court decision not to review state gay marriage bans that had been overturned in federal courts means that the highest legal authority in Wyoming recognizes gay marriage. But how soon same sex marriage licenses will be issued in the state remains unclear.

That’s because a state statute defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Wyoming Equality is an advocacy group challenging that law in state court. Group lawyer Thomas Lyman says regardless of the outcome of his case gay marriage is now legal in Wyoming.

Ambre Energy

Oregon has shut down Wyoming’s attempt to force the permitting of a coal export terminal in that state.

The Oregon Department of State Lands rejected Ambre Energy’s application for a permit to build a coal transfer terminal in August, citing concerns about the impact on nearby tribal fisheries. The terminal would allow Powder River Basin coal to be shipped to Asia.

This week a federal judge placed Wyoming’s wolves back on the endangered species list after ruling that the state’s management plan did not offer adequate protection for the wolves. The plan that the state and federal government negotiated would keep the number of wolves that are outside of National Parks to over 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs. But the Judge ruled that Wyoming’s plan was not binding.

gosarforgovernor.com

The Democratic Candidate for Governor is Pete Gosar. Gosar is a Pinedale native who is the former chairman of the state democratic party and he currently serves on the state board of education.

He is a state pilot, a former school teacher, and in college he was a star defensive player for the Wyoming Cowboys. Gosar has been critical of Governor Mead’s leadership when it comes to issues like Medicaid expansion and has accused Mead of playing politics with his decisions. He joins us to discuss some issues.

UW

The University of Wyoming is looking to upgrade its science programs in an effort to become a top-tier research University.

Last week Governor Matt Mead appointed a task force to look into steps the University of Wyoming can take to raise the caliber of its science programs.

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead says he continues working with federal officials to craft a Medicaid expansion plan for Wyoming.                  

Mead says that he’s concerned that the federal government will not be able to afford the program, but he says it could help people in the state and so he is moving forward with a good faith effort.

Three Republic candidates for Wyoming Governor disagreed over how much the state invests in fossil fuels as opposed to alternative fuels during a debate hosted by Wyoming PBS and broadcast by Wyoming Public Radio.   

Republican candidate Taylor Haynes says the state should not be investing money in the private sector and that the market will determine which kind of fuel the public will support. When it comes to alternative energy, Haynes say it works on a smaller scale. 

Stephanie Joyce

Governor Matt Mead may be changing his mind when it comes to expanding Medicaid services for low income people in the state. After publicly rejecting the notion of Medicaid expansion late last year, the governor says he is negotiating in good faith with the federal department of Health and Human Services to develop a Wyoming specific Medicaid expansion plan. 

Kim Via Flickr

The State of Wyoming will not oppose third party candidates raising money during the primary season.

Current state law says those candidates cannot raise money until after the primary.

That law was challenged in federal court last month by Jennifer Young, Secretary of State Candidate for the Constitution party.

Governor Matt Mead is seeking his second term in office. The governor is facing Cheyenne Businessman and Doctor Taylor Haynes and Superintendent Cindy Hill in the Republican primary. Mead spoke with Bob Beck. They begin by discussing some of the challenges facing the state.

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 and an independent expert, the public will be able to see the evolution of the document.

Yellowstone Gate via Flickr Creative Commons

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill is firing back at a legislative report released yesterday alleging she misused public funds and established a culture of fear and intimidation at Wyoming Department of Education.

Hill says the allegations in the report are untrue—and describes the report as a political attack.

"There’s no foundation," said Hill. "There are no facts. This is all hearsay—rewound, republished—for political end. The Governor is hoping to win an election. He’s desperate. And I just smile and say, ‘Really?’"

Governor Matt Mead joined his counterparts in eight other states Monday in asking the Environmental Protection Agency to scrap its new carbon pollution rules. The rules call for a 30 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from US power plants by 2030.

In a letter to the agency, the governors say that effectively bans coal-fired power. The EPA disagrees, projecting that coal will still provide 30 percent of the nation’s electricity after the rules are implemented, down from almost 40 percent today.

This spring, rivers were overflowing banks all over the state.  Some rivers saw record—or near-record—flood stages.  The Laramie River hit its second highest flood level on record, and that’s only four years after its highest on record in 2010.  But floods aren’t all sandbagging and property damage: they also mean plenty of water for the long dry summer ahead. 

There are more than fifty potential projects being considered for inclusion in Wyoming’s Water Strategy. The strategy, which is being spearheaded by Governor Matt Mead, is intended to guide state investment in water development, management and conservation. The list of projects was developed through of a series of statewide public hearings and covers everything from building dams to clouding seeding to developing better public water databases.

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.

In an effort to curb climate change, the Obama administration has proposed a rule to cut carbon emissions from electricity generation by 30 percent. The rule is the first to target power plants, the nation’s largest carbon emitters.

A Democratic candidate for governor says he is running because he says Governor Matt Mead hasn’t provided the leadership the state needs.  Pete Gosar says Mead has been playing politics with many of his decisions.

“Whether it be Medicaid expansion or climate change or what have you, the governor has just been paying attention to polls and not telling us what he thinks.”

As a member of the state board of education, Gosar says he was upset that Mead did not veto an amendment that kept the board from adopting some peer reviewed science standards for the state. 

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