The crisis in Ukraine has rekindled calls for the US to export more of its newfound glut of natural gas overseas, but not everyone thinks that’s a good idea.
In recent days a number of Congressmen, including Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, have called for the Department of Energy to expedite its approval of natural gas export terminals. Barrasso says it would give the US more foreign policy leverage.
After considerable discussion, the Wyoming legislature approved a bill that would let the state and the federal government move forward with finalizing a deal to swap state owned land in Grand Teton National Park with the federal government. Some senators expressed concern that the federal mineral land won't match the estimated $100 million value of the state's park land, but Jackson Senator Leland Christensen says the bill was changed to ensure the trade will be fair.
Members of Wyoming's Republican leadership raved about the legislative session that wrapped up Thursday, praising the state budget and lawmakers' support of business. The GOP leaders said the budget will do a lot for the state, but they noted that they were also able to put a lot into savings. Although the Senate Appropriations Committee was criticized for focusing too much on saving, Chairman Eli Bebout says in fact they probably spent too much. He says the energy industry could face tough times in Wyoming and it's important to be prepared.
Our Engineers Shane Toven, Reid Fletcher and Ben Slater were hard at work replacing our transmitter and antenna to upgrade the 89.9 signal in Torrington. It's now running at 6000 watts, up from 250 watts.
For all our listeners in the Torrington ares, 89.9 should be much stronger in the region.
Wyoming Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill says she intends to resume her job leading the state department of education on Monday.
Lawmakers stripped Hill of many of her duties last year and removed her as the head of the department, but the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that the move was unconstitutional. A District Court still must certify the ruling, but Hill told reporters today she’s ready to go back to work.
A bill that would set up a land swap with the federal government for state-owned lands inside Grand Teton National Park is still a ways from being resolved. Senators are leery that the state may not get fair value for state trust lands inside the park.
A conference committee is trying to resolve differences between House and Senate versions of a bill that compensates people wrongly convicted of a crime. The House version of the bill says that someone exonerated of a crime via DNA, still has to return to court and prove their innocence in order to get compensation.
The Senate rejected that notion. Bill Sponsor Keith Gingery says he doesn't like the House version, but that the bill is important and he doesn't want to lose it.
A bill that establishes a new large state loan program and also benefits a Cody business has passed the legislature.
The House made final touches to the bill that will give a $24-million state loan to Lannett Co. Inc., which is considering a nearly $100 million expansion of its Cody lab. In final debate, some in the House questioned the state giving such loans. Evansville Representative Kendall Kroeker says all businesses need loans.
Rocky Mountain Power is asking regulators for permission to raise rates by an average of 5.3 percent starting in January 2015. That would translate to an extra $4.50 a month for average residential customers. Company spokesman Jeff Hymas says the rate increase is necessary for a number of reasons, but mostly because of recent infrastructure investments totaling over $2 billion. Those include projects in Wyoming and out of state, but Wyoming’s growing electricity use factors into how much it has to pay.
A new video-dance premiers at the University of Wyoming this week. To make the five-minute video, three dancers improvised in front of the camera at Curt Gowdy State Park and Lake Hattie, near Laramie. The video-dance explores what it means for the dancers to be fully present in and influenced by nature—hence the title, ‘by and in.’ Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer spoke with the film’s director, Rachael Shaw.
On Thursday, March 6, the University of Wyoming Symphony is collaborating with two guest artists: jazz harmonica virtuoso Gregoire Maret and visiting conductor Tonu Kalam. Kalam has directed professional orchestras around the world, and for more than two decades, he’s directed the University of North Carolina Symphony Orchestra. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer asked Kalam what he most enjoys about conducting student orchestras.
The University of Wyoming is getting a major donation for its new energy and engineering research complex. Halliburton is giving $2 million to be applied towards a 'high bay' research facility.
The facility's size will allow for large scale experiments. Halliburton is also giving UW an additional $1 million for research into unconventional oil and gas reservoirs. The gift will be matched by the state. Governor Matt Mead says it was an exciting discussion with Halliburton.
Grizzly bear management and Wyoming Game and Fish employee health insurance will be covered out of the state’s general fund in future budget cycles. The Legislature passed a bill that sidesteps their refusal to raise hunting and fishing licenses fees by allowing the agency to request state funding for those programs. Game and Fish Director Scott Talbott says it will free up about $7 million.
The Wyoming Senate has given final approval to a bill that will allow people to drive 80 miles per hour legally on certain sections of the state’s highways. Speaker of the House Tom Lubnau said the idea came to him from a constituent who noticed similar laws had been approved in Texas and in Utah.
“And I started looking at the statistics and found that the statistics show that the fatalities have either not increased or they decreased both in Utah or Texas," Lubnau says. "And it just allows people to go 80 miles an hour in those places where it’s safe to do that.”
The Wyoming House of Representatives will not debate a bill that was supposed to resolve issues arising from a Supreme Court ruling concerning the duties of Superintendent Cindy Hill.
House Floor Leader Kermit Brown decided to let the bill die, saying it was premature and would take too long to debate.
"The courts are not done with the process, the audit's not done, there are a lot of things not done. The bill's premature and it was gonna take a lot of time we didn't have, so I just stopped where I stopped."
The Wyoming Senate gave final approval to a bill that sets aside $5 million for school districts to place cameras on school buses to catch motorists who illegally pass stopped buses.
Several senators opposed the bill saying the focus should be on prevention. One idea was to add more lights to the buses, so that motorists can't ignore them, but Sheridan Senator Bruce Burns says that won't do much.
The Wyoming House of Representatives has given initial approval to a bill that sets up a state loan program and also helps fund the expansion of a Cody business.
The bill allows loans to be used for large economic development projects. It would also provides $24 million in state money for a company to expand its operation in Cody. Officials say it will create over 100 jobs. Cody Representative Sam Krone says these types of loans will help diversify Wyoming's economy.
The Wyoming House and Senate have agreed to changes in the state budget bill. The bill gives public employees a roughly 2.4 percent pay hike, provides money for improvements at community colleges and the University of Wyoming, and $175 million for local governments. Senator Eli Bebout called it a responsible budget.
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One of Wyoming's most outspoken environmental groups is disbanding.
The board of the Laramie-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance voted Thursday to call it quits. Board President Ken Driese said Monday the group has been having fundraising difficulties and that four staff members are losing their jobs.
Grady Kirkpatrick and Tom Wilhelm, Wyoming Public Media hosts of Morning Music and the Ranch Breakfast Show, showed off their music industry connections. They were lucky enough to introduce the Steep Canyon Rangers at the Gryphon Theatre in Laramie during their show on March 1st.
When our Cultural Affairs and Production Director Micah Schweizer was out and about in Evanston, he found evidence of the Jamaica Bobsleigh Team. This small Wyoming town helped train and send the Jamaican team to the 2014 Olympics.
A report by the National Park Service indicates that parks are major economic drivers for surrounding communities.
The report shows that park visitation generated more than $700 million in Wyoming in 2012 and supported thousands of jobs and local businesses. Nation-wide, tourists spent more than $26 billion when visiting parks.
Wyoming’s pronghorn populations have been declining rapidly in the last ten years and a coalition of groups including the University of Wyoming and Game and Fish are trying to figure out why. In 2010, there were over 500,000 pronghorn in the state. Today, that number has dropped to a little more than 400,000.
Jeff Beck is an associate professor of Ecosystems Science and Management at UW. Last November, he and a team of scientists took to the field to figure out why. They helicopter-netted 130 pronghorns in three test areas of the Red Desert.