President Donald Trump

The Trump administration is proposing a major rule that could potentially weaken Endangered Species Act protections.


Courtesy UW News Service

The University of Wyoming played host to Keio University Professor Dr. Toshi Nakayama on Wednesday. He is a noted author and columnist on international relations and he spoke about how Japan is adapting to Trump’s America on the world stage. He joins Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.

Over the past decade, the market for Mountain West coal has cooled. Renewables and natural gas in the U.S. are cheaper, stocks are tumbling and some coal companies are even teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

Liz Cheney
facebook.com/pg/replizcheney/

President Trump’s unexpected reshuffling of his cabinet has also brought with it an unexpected debate over what critics say amounted to torture in the Bush-Cheney administration. 

Senator Mike Enzi (R)
Senator Mike Enzi (R)

  

Wyoming lawmakers have mixed reactions to the sweeping federal budget proposal President Trump released this week.

Donald Trump may be President, but Wyoming’s Mike Enzi chairs the Senate Budget Committee and according to the Constitution that gives Enzi a tad more power in the budget debate than any occupants of the Oval Office. Enzi thanks the president for his proposal. 

"I thought it was a good list of suggestions.”  

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The Trump administration released its infrastructure plan and proposed budget for 2019. One conservation organization believes it will have brutal impacts on national parks.

President Trump and Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke’s, proposed budget requests a 16 percent cut from the Department of Interior’s 2018 budget. It also prioritizes energy and mineral development on public lands, cuts that Zinke calls unnecessary or duplicated programs, and has language detailing requirements for selling off public lands.

U.S. Capitol Building
Public Domain

Now that the government’s lights are turned back on after last weekend’s three-day shutdown, Wyoming’s lawmakers are joining a growing chorus of Republicans calling for a change to how Congress conducts its day to day business.

The High Plains wind farm, near McFadden, Wyoming.
Leigh Paterson

  

The debate over tax reform has finally come to an end. Congress has passed its bill, and the President has signed it. But what’s it all mean for western energy?

Renewable Energy Threat Removed

Zach Frailey/Uprooted Photographer

What actually is clean coal? Depends on who you ask. In Wyoming, a state that produces the most coal in the nation, clean coal is looked at as a possible economic savior.  It’s a big deal for a lot of other people, too. Forty percent of the world still depends on coal for electricity, and it’s still one of the cheapest and most abundant fuels. Clean coal could be the holy grail both for coal producers and for the world.

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President Donald Trump told voters he would come to Washington and shake things up, which he surely has but not in the way many people expected. He spent much of last year frustrated that he couldn’t get much of his agenda through Congress. But he did have success unwinding regulations, especially many in the oil and gas industry. While riding the subway under the Capitol Wyoming Senator John Barrasso explains that in the New Year he’s hoping to revive a bipartisan energy bill that lawmakers have failed to get both chambers to agree on.   

Bureau of Land Management; https://ar.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D9%85%D9%84%D9%81:Coal_mine_Wyoming.jpg

Wyoming voted for President Trump at a higher percentage than any other state, in part because the President promised a new era of energy dominance. After declining employment numbers in fossil fuel industries, increasing environmental regulations and coal company bankruptcies, many were ready to see a change. So, what has changed in the President’s first year?

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead licensed under CC BY 3.0: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/

The Las Vegas Strip Shooting this week is being described as the worst mass shooting in modern history. Gillette resident Clint Burton was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival taking photos for his website Backstage Music Magazine when he was injured in the shooting.

His son, twenty-year-old Bayelee Burton was also at the concert. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard spoke with Bayelee after he and his family returned to Wyoming.

EPA

  

Since January, President Trump has ordered systematic rollbacks of Obama-era environmental regulations. He’s voiced an intent to focus on energy development and jobs over environmental regulation.

Many of these rules were crafted by Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency under Gina McCarthy. She was EPA Administrator during his second term. They focused on taking strong steps against climate change. McCarthy recently visited Wyoming and gave her reaction to these drastic changes.

 

Earthjustice

The Obama-era “Fracking Rule" that would increase safety and transparency regulations for oil and gas companies is back on the table. A federal appeals court vacated a 2015 decision that stopped the fracking rule, citing government overreach and costliness.

Sage Grouse Implementation Team meeting, 09/15/17
Cooper McKim / Wyoming Public Radio

The sage grouse implementation team met for the first time since the Department of Interior announced recommendations to a collaborative state and federal Obama era plan. But early last month, DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended changes to the plan that would loosen restrictions on energy development while giving states more flexibility in implementing their own sage grouse protection plans.

Wyoming’s lawmakers just returned to Washington after a summer break that President Trump urged the Senate to cut short to take up more of his agenda. Matt Laslo reports from Washington on what Wyoming lawmakers think they can accomplish this fall.

  

 

Around this point in Barack Obama’s first term the Senate had received more than four hundred and fifty nominees from the White House.  Donald Trump has sent just over two hundred nominees to the Senate – less than half as many. That frustrates Trump’s fellow Republicans in Congress, including Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney.

 

Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

West Virginia wants to use federal dollars to subsidize Appalachian coal. Some think that’s picking favorites — not just over natural gas and renewables, but over other coal states. 

Don Gonyea

  

As we all know, the Donald Trump administration has been unique. One of those tasked with following the President is NPR Political Correspondent Don Gonyea.

After beginning his career based in Detroit, Gonyea came to Washington to cover the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations. Gonyea came to Jackson this week to talk about covering this administration. He told Bob Beck that President Trump’s behavior is not all that surprising. 

Public Domain

President Trump desperately wants a major legislative victory, which is why he held a Rose Garden ceremony with House Republicans after only their chamber passed an overhaul of Obamacare – a bill he later told Republican senators was “mean.”

But Trump and his agenda remain bogged down by the Russian investigation and he keeps distracting Congress with tweets that Republican leaders have tried to get him to stop sending out. Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney says Trump needs to rise above.

Dhtrible at the English language Wikipedia

Jackson town officials have been deluged with angry emails and phone calls after the mayor decided to remove portraits of President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence from town hall last week. The flap has garnered national media attention and gone viral on social media. Town Councilman and Vice Mayor Jim Stanford says he’s sorry for the fallout, which includes visitors saying they will cancel trips to Jackson.

Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming's congressional delegation is thrilled with the executive order President Trump signed to unwind President Obama’s climate change initiatives. But some in their party aren’t happy with the effort to roll back America’s role in combating global warming.

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The Clean Power Plan may face some serious changes, as President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order this week reversing the Obama administration’s commitment to regulate carbon dioxide produced by coal-burning power plants. 

The long-expected executive order is rumored to direct the Environmental Protection Agency to slash regulations of coal-related carbon dioxide emissions by re-writing and re-enacting the plan. From the beginning, industry groups have criticized Obama’s plan for eliminating jobs.

Maggie Mullen

Like many federal programs across the country, Meals on Wheels is facing possible cuts as part of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. The program’s Wyoming partners have already experienced cuts at the state level due to the energy downturn, and it’s hard to know when the federal budget will be decided on. In the meantime, many homebound seniors and Wyomingites with disabilities that depend on the program are concerned about the future of their care.

Jeff Walker and Sara Flitner

During a campaign stop last year in Jackson, then-mayor Sara Flitner took a question from the audience. It was a challenging one from retired physician and consultant Jeff Walker, a staunch Republican. It was obvious from the get-go that the two didn't agree on much—especially on the election of Donald Trump—but they decided to keep talking anyway. As part of her series “I Respectfully Disagree,” Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards chatted with Flitner and Walker about some of the hard conversations they've been working through.

Wyoming Afterschool Alliance

14,000 kids in Wyoming participate in after-school programs, according to the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance. But if President Trump’s proposed budget is passed, up to 65 programs serving those students would be put at risk of closing unless they can find other sources of funding.  

K Bacon

Last week, President Trump signed an executive order to begin the process of eliminating a 2015 Clean Water Act rule known as the Waters of the United States that gave extra protections to smaller streams and wetlands.

The White House

  

Many Wyoming Republicans are gushing over the vision President Donald Trump laid out in his first address to a joint session of Congress, but critics say it lacked specifics. Matt Laslo reports from Washington.

It had been eight years since a Republican had addressed the nation and the GOP loved what they heard from President Trump who says the American people are behind him.

University of Wyoming

  

President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to enact stricter immigration policies, and the topic of reform has remained a common thread under the new administration.

University of Wyoming College of Law Professor Noah Novogrodsky is leading a team of law students conducting an economic impact study of the contributions immigrant workers make to Teton County.

CocoaBiscuit via Flickr

Congress canceled a set of coal mining regulations last week, just two months after they’d been passed. President Trump signed the repeal with support from Wyoming Governor Matt Mead.  

The Stream Protection Rule created a buffer zone around waterways and placed stricter requirements on companies to monitor and reclaim mine sites. But Wyoming’s Congressional delegation and Department of Environmental Quality called the decision an overreach that should not apply to the arid conditions of the Western U.S.

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