Pinedale, WY – A community organizer in Pinedale says she was pleased with the Department of Environmental Quality's solutions for the area's ongoing air pollution problem. Linda Baker of the Upper Green River Valley Coalition says last night's meeting with the DEQ gave her the impression that the department did a lot of work since their last meeting in Pinedale.
Cody, Wy – Calm winds slowed the growth of a wildfire that has burned more than 12 square miles in the Shoshone National Forest east of Yellowstone National Park. The Gunbarrel Fire is burning about 40 miles west of Cody in the North Absaroka Wilderness of the Shoshone National Forest. A fire management team is allowing the fire to burn through bug-killed timber in a remote area. The closest structures to the fire are about one mile away. A forest spokeswoman says Thursday's winds pushed the fire away from the buildings.
Casper, Wy – A legislative committee is sponsoring a bill that will extend benefits for workers who are mentally injured on the job. Jackson Representative Keith Gingery chairs the Select Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. He says Wyoming is one of only a handful of states that only compensates a worker for a mental injury if it is a direct result of a physical injury. Wyoming also only pays workers for mental injuries for six months after they occur. Gingery says this bill would change both of those things.
Casper, Wy – A legislative sub committee wants to set up an account that would pay for the widening and expansion of some two-lane highways in the state. The Wyoming Department of Transportation has listed a number of highways as candidates for new lanes, including ones near Gillette, Casper and Laramie. WYDOT's Doug McGee says the main reason is safety, since many of the two lane roads are overused and dangerous.
Washington D-C – Congress has given final approval to an overhaul of federal higher education programs. Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi was one of the lawmakers in on years of negotiations. The bill known as the College Opportunity and Affordability Act, is the result of nearly three years of debate. It expands the number of people who can qualify for government-backed loans and federal stipends called Pell Grants. It lets students who were home-schooled qualify for grants for the first time. It also streamlines the application process for financial aid.
Pinedale, Wy – The state Department of Environmental Quality says it has created new rules to keep air pollution from getting worse in Pinedale. The DEQ says it will push companies to offset any new minor pollution sources by eliminating pollution elsewhere in their operations. Minor sources would include small pieces of equipment in the gas and oil fields. Director John Corra says it's an interim rule. "What we mean by interim is, we may make that policy final, but we wanted to make sure that industry knew that we're not done looking at our regulatory tools."
Laramie, Wy – Users of non motorized trails in the Pole Mountain area of the Medicine Bow National forest have been encountering a growing number of off road vehicles this summer. The trails near Laramie, normally feature hikers, mountain bike riders and runners. But lately those people have encountered All Terrain Vehicles and Motorcycles. Laramie District Ranger Larry Sandoval admits there is a growing problem which is why they will be adding a new law enforcement officer next month for that area.
Washington D-C – Wyoming's two senators, John Barrasso and Mike Enzi, are holding on to campaign cash donated by indicted Republican Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska. Stevens' political action committee has donated $6,000 to Barrasso since he was nominated to the Senate in June 2007 and $10,000 to Enzi since 2001. Both senators are up for election this November.
Pinedale, Wy – A wildfire north of Pinedale is consuming large swaths of beetle-killed trees. According to fire officials, it's the second big fire in Western Wyoming this season that's doing more good than harm. Another fire is burning beetle-killed trees west of Cody. And so far, neither has threatened any buildings. Bridger Teton National Forest spokeswoman Mary Cernicek says it's the first stage of recovery from the beetle infestation. She says it will help clear out the forest.
Cody, Wy – A wildfire burning in the Shoshone National Forest east of Yellowstone National Park has grown to more than 3 square miles. The Gunbarrel Fire is burning about 20 miles from Yellowstone's east entrance and 40 miles west of Cody. A Forest Service spokesman says no buildings face an immediate threat but crews are taking precautionary measures by creating defensible space and setting up sprinklers around buildings that are about two miles from the fire. Those buildings are on the North Fork of the Shoshone River.