Governor Matt Mead says he is hopeful that the eight percent budget cuts he requested from state government agencies may not have to happen. But the governor says he is still considering the cuts, despite signs that the state revenue picture may be improving.
Coal production and coal prices are down and stakeholders are offering up lots of reasons as the cause, from weather to new policies and competing fuels. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports that it’s a combination of all these factors.
Irina Zhorov: There is no doubt coal is struggling right now. Karim Rahemtulla is the Senior Correspondent for investment blog Wall St. Daily.
Rahemtulla: The predominant trend that’s in the market right now is a slowdown in consumption, directly related to coal, not necessarily other energy sources.
A Bush administration official has been speaking to members of the media this week about his concerns that the Environmental Protection Agency is overstepping its bounds. Bud Albright is the former undersecretary for the Department of Energy. Albright’s main point is that the EPA is unfairly making it difficult for energy companies to operate. He says they are unfairly impacting the energy market. He speaks with Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck.
Next on the show is the a Wind Energy expert and the author of the book Harvest the Wind: America’s Journey to jobs, energy independence and climate stability. Phil Warburg tells Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck that while it appears that enthusiasm for Wind Energy has slowed down in Wyoming, that is not the case in the rest of the country.
A federal health official has high hopes that a health insurance exchange will help people get affordable health care insurance, even in Wyoming. An exchange is an on-line marketplace where people can compare policies and costs.
Mike Fierberg with the U-S Department of Health’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services notes that many worried that a similar effort, known as the Medicare Part D prescription drug program would suffer from a lack of competition. He says that certainly has not been the case.
A new report says that businesses owned by women are doing better in Wyoming than in any other state.
The study by the group Womenable considered the growth in the number of women-owned firms, how many people those firms employ, and the revenue they generate. CEO Julie Weeks says Wyoming’s ranking makes sense, despite the dominance of the energy industry.
The fire season came early to Wyoming this year. Usually, Wyoming doesn’t see its biggest fires until late July but already there have been 10 fires that have burned over 265-thousand acres of land. Wet weather and the efforts of thousands of firefighters have contained the larger blazes …So what happens after a fire? Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports.
HOST INTRO: The Casper Aquifer provides fresh groundwater to Laramie and a portion of Albany County. The water is in great condition, and the city and county have traditionally worked in tandem to keep it that way, but their paths diverged a few years ago. Now, Albany County’s most recent Casper Aquifer Protection Plan resolution is open for public comment, and the public has had a lot to say about it. Rebecca Martinez reports.
One of the issues surrounding workplace safety is the number of serious highway crashes related to work. In fact, 2010 statistics show that better than half of the fatalities in Wyoming were transportation related. Colonel Mark Trostel is the former head of the Colorado Highway Patrol. During his time that state went from have one of the lowest traffic safety records to the fifth best. He is currently working to improve Encana’s traffic safety record and so far so good. Trostel has been chosen to help Wyoming find ways to improve its ranking. We caught up with him during a recent pres
Intro: For the last several years a number of companies and politicians have expressed interest in getting more actively involved in Wyoming’s Uranium industry. Currently a task force of lawmakers is studying nuclear energy production and companies are testing the waters before they jump into the marketplace. The upside is that Wyoming has a lot of Uranium, the downside is cost and regulations. Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck has more.
HOST: Everyone is predicting a uranium boom internationally and Wyoming has the largest deposits in the U.S. The state has a legacy of uranium mining, as well. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov looks at the boom and its history.
HOST: When the Cold War caused a uranium boom in the 1950s, soil and water in the state suffered contamination. Reclamation has improved the landscape, and regulation is catching up with the industry but it’s not perfect yet. Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez reports.
REBECCA MARTINEZ: Ore from Wyoming’s rich uranium deposits was refined and concentrated into yellowcake at mills in the state before being sent to processing and enrichment facilities elsewhere. The mills produced large amounts of sandy waste called tailings, which still contained uranium.
A Wyoming Republican legislator is optimistic following his return from a coal-energy conference in China. Governor Matt Mead and a delegation of state officials, specialists, and students, learned about what the governor’s office calls “greener” mining technologies, and new ways to use coal.
Gillette Representative Tom Lubnau says the conference was also an opportunity for Wyoming government officials to interface with their Chinese counterparts about the possibility of China importing Wyoming’s coal.
A lot has been said about falling gas prices in the state and how that is hurting the state budget. But a quick look at the most recent economic numbers shows that the Wyoming economy may be better than you think. Jim Robinson is a senior economist with Wyoming’s Division of Economic Analysis. This is the last month of the fiscal year and he tells Bob Beck that things look good.
Wyoming’s new occupational epidemiologist is Mack Sewell. He’s tasked with helping the state improve workplace safety. That’s been a topic of discussion for some time, since Wyoming has one of the highest rates of workplace deaths in the nation. Sewell is currently the state epidemiologist in New Mexico, and he says there, he’s worked extensively on issues such as infectious diseases and drunk driving. He tells Willow Belden that he’s not sure yet what will be first on his agenda here in Wyoming.
This month a movie will debut featuring an iconic bar in Jackson Hole. It’s called The Stagecoach Bar: An American Crossroads. To many in the valley it is more than a bar. For years it has featured live music on Sunday nights and has been the host to Cowboys and millionaires. It’s been there for more than 70 years. The premier will be June 27th at the Center for the Arts in Jackson. Jennifer Tennican is the filmmaker and she joins Bob Beck.
Wyoming imprisons more juvenile offenders than just about any other state. Part of the reason has to do with the lack of funding to find alternatives to jail and the other has to do with the law enforcement philosophy in a particular community. Lawmakers have been reluctant to take a firm stand on the issue. In a story first prepared for the program State of the Union, Laura Starcheski reports.
One of the newer traditions in Jackson Hole is an event called the Jackson Hole Fire Festival. It runs June 14th-20th. It came from the idea developed by Candra Day of Vistas 360 degrees in Jackson. She joins Bob Beck to explain the event and her organization…
Despite concern about the Wyoming economy, a new report from the state economic analysis division actually shows that things have greatly improved in the last year. Jim Robinson, a Senior Economist with the division, notes that sales tax numbers are up about 12 percent from a year ago; oil and gas jobs have increased and despite lower than expected gas prices, rig counts are virtually the same as 2011.
Wyoming’s new state epidemiologist, Mack Sewell, says he plans to look at seatbelt enforcement as a means to improve workplace safety.
In 2010, the state had the second highest rate of workplace deaths in the nation. In fact, Wyoming traditionally ranks near the top in this category. Sewell will be specifically asked to study workplace injuries and deaths, and then work with lawmakers to try to address the problem.
He says there’s a lot he still needs to learn about Wyoming’s situation, but he says seatbelts are an easy place to start.