Cheyenne, Wy – A panel is set to issue its recommendations this week on how to preserve and improve sage grouse numbers and habitat in Wyoming. The Sage Grouse Implementation Team is made up of representatives from federal and state agencies, conservation groups, energy companies and private landowners. The panel meets tomorrow (Monday) in Cheyenne to go over about 20 recommendations that it was tentatively scheduled to present to Governor Freudenthal on Tuesday. The recommendations likely will include improved grazing
Laramie, WY – A dramatic decline in reading has fourteen Wyoming counties working to bring literature back into the home. A nationwide initiative, called The Big Read, is a response to a recent study from the National Endowment for the Arts that shows less than half of adults read literature. Susan Vittitow of the Wyoming Center for the Book says that although the statistic is alarming, she has already seen a tremendous response to the program.
Laramie, WY – The head of Wyoming's petroleum association says the slumping natural gas industry has led to fewer rigs drilling in the state. Bruce Hinchey says there are about 75 rigs in operation today, compared to almost 110 a year ago. He also attributes the decline to the cost of drilling, and the difficulty of getting permits. He says some large oil and gas companies have transferred resources away from Wyoming where the market is more favorable.
Laramie, WY – Governor Freudenthal says he is disappointed to hear that the National Park Service will close the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park in the winter. The preferred winter use plan will be made official next week. The Governor says the Park service made the decision even though it's own studies show that avalanche concerns can be safely and affordably mitigated. This week the Governor said that the state even offered to help with that mitigation.
Yellowstone National Park – Yellowstone National Park officials will recommend closing the park's East Entrance to snowmobiles as part of a winter management plan due next week. Park spokesman Al Nash said the closure would go into effect the winter of 2008-2009 and last from early November through mid-March, depending on snow conditions. The entrance would remain open to skiers and other non-motorized uses. Opposition to that plan for the entrance, the only gateway to the park through Cody, has been fierce in Wyoming.
Washington D-C – The U-S Senate has passed a bill that will dis-allow insurance discrimination towards those with mental health needs. U-S Senator Mike Enzi was among those who worked on the bill that will require that those getting mental health care coverage get the same benefits as someone having surgery, or for any other type of illness. Although the bill does not mandate that insurance companies provide mental health care, Enzi is convinced that it will provide better and broader coverage for those who need mental health care. He says it took various groups working together.
Laramie, WY – Governor Dave Freudenthal says the price of Wyoming's natural gas is appalling. In a press conference Tuesday, he said there is a six-dollar spread between Wyoming gas and gas sold in other parts of the country. The governor and analysts say the Rockies Express pipeline will boost prices for a while once it comes online early next year. But the governor says it won't take long before that pipeline is full, and prices lag once again. Freudenthal says gas companies need to solve the problem.