Jackson, WY – Federal officials released a draft management plan for the National Elk Refuge Thursday that features less reliance on winter feeding. The plan also would allow bison hunting on the refuge to reduce the herd size. Refuge manager Barry Reiswig says the bison hunting would help reduce the herd size from close to 900 animals to between 450 and 500. Officials are proposing using sprinkler irrigation to improve forage on the refuge, near Jackson and in the park. The idea would be to reduce reliance on elk feeding to perhaps four to five of every ten winters.
Cheyenne, Wy – The Governor doubts that states really will have any say over whether federal lands should remain road less, so he is asking the U-S Department of Agriculture to answer that question once and for all. Governor Dave Freudenthal says the Bush administration plan to allow states to petition to have areas remain road less does not appear to have any teeth. So he asked the Department of Agriculture to address that.
Idaho Falls, Idaho – One of the concerns of those following a proposal to develop highly radioactive plutonium at the Idaho National Lab is where high level waste will go. Federal officials admit that currently is an unknown. But Deputy Project Manager John Kotek believes it will eventually end up at a waste site in New Mexico. "We are doing some Plutonium 238 in Las Alamos, and that goes to WIPP.
Laramie, Wy – A University of Wyoming Political Scientist thinks President Bush's nominee will avoid a filibuster and be confirmed for a post in the Supreme Court. Steve Van Winkle says the selection of John Roberts was a strategic one. Van Winkle says he is both the type of conservative person the President had wanted and also someone who has a good track record with many Senators.Van Winkle, who has written about Supreme Court Vacancies, says Roberts has not been outspoken on a number of social issues, but chances are he will have a conservative eye.
Laramie, WY – The Laramie City Council rejected a proposal last night to relax the city's smoking ban. Councilman Joe Hageman's proposal would have permitted smoking in bars and private clubs, as long as smoking was limited to no more than half of the establishment and each section had its own working ventilation system. But the proposal died on a 5-3 vote.
Laramie, WY – The hot weather continues to bake Wyoming and make wildfires more likely. Red flag warnings were posted Tuesday for in northeastern, central, and southern Wyoming because of high temperatures, low humidity levels, and the potential for dry lightning. The fire danger currently ranges from very high to extreme across much of the state. Rick Ochoa is a Fire Weather Meteorologist for the National Interagency Fire Center. He says areas below about 65-hundred feet have the greatest risk now. He says grass and brush at those elevations have dried out already.
Cheyenne, wy – Those making money from mineral development will be asked to pay for some administrative costs. The Bureau of Land management wants developers who drill on public lands to pay for the paperwork associated with such work. It will be the first fee of its kind according to the B-L-M's Beverly Gorney, who says the fees will be phased in over a five year period. The B-L-M hopes to recover about 24 million dollars with the proposal.