Cheyenne, Wy – A long-running feud about snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park has taken another turn. The disagreement is over how many snowmobiles to allow in Yellowstone. But the fight's not only between people who use snowmobiles and people who don't it's also between two federal judges. Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington, D.C. threw out Yellowstone's winter plan, which would have allowed 540 snowmobiles in the park each day. Sullivan agreed with the environmental groups who brought the suit. He that number would cause too much pollution and noise.
Casper, Wy – The Legislatures Labor Committee is part-way through a stack of bills on workers' compensation. One topic the committee discussed was increasing payments to the children and spouses of workers killed on the job. Co-chairman Charles Scott says they still have to work out how much to raise death benefits... but he's confident the committee will try to boost them.
Laramie, WY – The Red Cross of Wyoming has sent five volunteers to Louisiana and Texas help with hurricane recovery, and is planning to send at least one more. Red Cross of Wyoming CEO David Block says they are working in shelters and handing out food.
Block says the national Red Cross has asked his chapter to raise $127,000 dollars by the end of the year. That's because the national disaster relief fund has been depleted. Across the country, the Red Cross is trying to raise a total of 100 million dollars to replenish it.
Billings, MT – A federal wildlife official says the government plans to retreat for now from its attempt to take gray wolves in the Northern Rockies off the endangered species list.
Ed Bangs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the government in the next week plans to withdraw a rule issued this spring. The rule was based on the assertion that the region's approximately 1,500 wolves were recovered fully, opening the way for public hunting of wolves to begin this fall in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming.
Cheyenne, WY – A review by the staff of the Wyoming Legislature says the state Department of Family Services needs to improve how it tracks reported cases of child neglect and abuse.
The nonpartisan Legislative Service Office prepared a detailed report looking at how Family Services tracks abuse and neglect cases. The department received nearly 8,000 reports of neglect and abuse last year.
Laramie, WY – Democratic Senator Mike Massie announced his plan to reform health care for children as advocates rallied across the state today. Massie wants to increase access to the state's children's health insurance program.
The bill would offer benefits to families that make 300 percent of the federal poverty level. That's up from the current law which accepts children in families that make 200 percent of poverty line.
Casper, WY – Legislators today discussed banning smoking in public places across the state. Wyoming is the only western state without a statewide smoking ban. Katherine Hooper from Powell hopes to change that: "From second hand smoke I ended up with cancer on the voice box. So I have no saliva glands. They burned all the glands."
Hooper spoke before the legislative Labor Committee today.
Laramie, Wyo. – A federal judge has thrown out a plan to allow 540 snowmobiles each day in Yellowstone National Park this winter.
U.S District Judge Emmet Sullivan made the decision Monday in Washington, citing environmental concerns. The Greater Yellowstone Coalition was one of six groups that filed a suit against the plan. The coalition's Amy McNamara is celebrating.