Cheyenne, WY – As the state enters the road construction season, a handful of projects will cost much more then expected. The winning bids for Main Street renovations in Riverton and Newcastle, and rehab work to six Western Wyoming bridges were all well above engineers' estimates. Several factors are to blame. The first problem is the price of steel, which has gone up about 30% in recent months. Rising oil prices are also affecting how construction companies make bids. Those have combined with unknowns in these three projects to drive costs up.
Laramie, WY – Two groups on opposite sides of the issue have filed last-minute appeals over the amount of logging called for in the new Medicine Bow National Forest plan. The Local Governments Coalition is seeking more logging and livestock grazing in the forest. The coalition includes three counties, five conservation districts and a timber trade group. The Laramie-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance is seeking less logging and more wildlife protection. Both appeals will be reviewed by Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth.
Cheyenne, Wy – The state filed a lawsuit Thursday against the federal government over its rejection of the state's proposed wolf management plan. Attorney General Pat Crank says his staff planned to file a complaint in U-S District Court in Cheyenne this afternoon. In the complaint, the state is alleging that the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service violated Wyoming's constitutional rights and the federal Administrative Procedures Act by rejecting the plan. Governor Freudenthal says litigation was the last resort.
Jackson, WY – Wyoming Business Council officials say the Jackson area is developing a budding technology business community. Six Jackson companies have received Business Council grants to develop proposals to receive federal funding. Wyoming Small Business Innovation Research program manager Gene Watson says two of the companies have received additional federal funding to develop their ideas. Watson says a few of the Jackson entrepreneurs have ties to California's Silicon Valley.
Laramie, WY – The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service has decided not to add the Colorado River cutthroat trout to the threatened or endangered species list. An agency spokeswoman says reviewers did not find sufficient information in the petitions or other sources to justify listing the subspecies. Several groups, including Laramie-based Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, submitted petitions to list the trout in 1999. Those groups have not ruled out legal action over how long it took the agency to make a ruling.
Casper, WY – The Casper Area Economic Development Alliance is excited about a San Jose, California company moving its headquarters to Casper. CAEDA President Chris Manegold can't identify the company yet, but says the firm does cutting-edge high tech work that will make it unique to Casper. Even though they will only have about a half dozen people in Casper, Manegold says the company is quite a catch because the ownership and other key people in the firm will be moving. He also hopes by attracting a high-tech California company, that others in the field will consider Casper and Wyoming.
Jackson, WY – More wildfires could be allowed to burn in the Bridger-Teton National Forest under an amended fire management plan. Andy Norman headed up the fire management revision. He says forest officials wanted to look at fire policies following the 2000 fire season. Norman says fire officials have had a history of letting natural wildfires burn inside wilderness areas. He says the rules weren't so clear as to whether they could allow fires to burn outside wilderness. Norman says fuel load also will be taken into consideration on whether to allow a fire to burn.
Cheyenne, WY – An economist says Wyoming has a tax structure that is choking off economic development in the state. Shelby Gerking was a professor at U-W for 20 years and studied taxation in the state at length. Gerking says a big part of this is the tax policy in Wyoming is not set up to keep pace with population and income growth. He says when you engage in economic growth activities, you want to attract people and increase incomes. Gerking says that's going to make the situation worse as those workers will increase the demand on public services.
WYoming – Wyoming's lone representative in Congress, Barbara Cubin wants to give the troubled trona industry a tax break. But, this proposal is drawing fire from Republicans running against her in the upcoming primary.
Wyoming Public Radio's Renny MacKay reports there is also a study out that shows a tax break might not help stimulate the trona industry