AP News Update

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AP News Update

Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment

VETERANS HEALTH CARE-WYOMING

Wait for vets exceeds target at Cheyenne VA

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The wait time for new patients seeking a primary care doctor at the VA Center in Cheyenne is more than 32 days - more than twice the limit the Department of Veterans Affairs had set as a goal.

The VA recently abandoned guidelines that veterans should be seen within 14 days of their desired date for a primary care appointment. The department has since said that meeting that target was unattainable given existing resources and growing demand.

The audit found that the Cheyenne VA hospital requires further review.

The VA facility in Sheridan also exceeded the goal, with an average wait time of over 45 days for new patients to see a doctor.

The numbers were released Monday by the Department of Veterans Affairs as part of a national audit.

GLOBAL WARMING-WYOMING

Wyoming faces lower CO2 cuts than nearby states

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Wyoming will need to cut carbon dioxide emissions less than neighboring states under proposed new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

The EPA announced the rules last week and a goal of cutting emissions of the greenhouse gas by 30 percent nationwide compared to 2005 levels. The deadline to accomplish that would be 2030.

Wyoming would need to cut its CO2 emissions by 19 percent under the proposed rules.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports Colorado and South Dakota each face 35-percent reductions. In Idaho, it would be 33 percent; Utah, 27 percent; Montana, 21 percent; and Nebraska, 26 percent.

Wyoming's target reduction is lower in part because coal-fired power plants supply a large portion of the state's electricity, almost 90 percent.

Two-thirds of that electricity is exported to other states.

JACKSON WILDFIRE

Small wildfire burns northeast of Jackson

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - Wildfire season is under way in Wyoming as firefighters mop up a small fire in Bridger-Teton National Forest northeast of Jackson.

The fire broke out Saturday afternoon at the base of Shadow Mountain. The fire quickly grew to nine acres but firefighters had the flames under control by Sunday.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports the area of the fire is popular for camping and recreation. Officials say they believe people caused the fire somehow.

Bridger-Teton fire prevention officer Lesley Williams-Gomez says the fire burned through dead wood and dry grass left over from last summer.

ASSISTED LIVING EXPLOSION

Gas leak blamed for Casper assisted living blast

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Fire investigators say an accidental gas leak is to blame for an explosion at an assisted living facility in Casper.

The blast happened Friday afternoon at the Meadow Wind assisted living facility. The blast burned a plumber who was working on a gas line. A facility resident suffered a knee injury during an evacuation.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports both were taken to a hospital for treatment.

Casper fire officials say the explosion caused an estimated $20,000 in damage but didn't do any structural damage to the building.

More than 60 residents were bused to other assisted living facilities in Casper. All residents were able to return home by late Friday.

NEWBORN WILDLIFE

Game and Fish: Don't touch newborn wildlife

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Game and Fish Department reminds people to keep away from newborn wildlife now that it's springtime.

Game and Fish officials say don't pick up newborn animals. Picking up newborn animals not only can be harmful to them, it's against the law.

Wildlife managers say most animal mothers hide their young and return periodically to feed them or nurse.

They say people who find young birds and animals often mistakenly assume that newborns have been abandoned, but that's rarely the case.

Game and Fish officials say people who find a fawn or other newborn animal and know the mother has died should contact the nearest game warden, biologist or Game and Fish office.

CANADA LYNX-RECOVERY

Recovery plan for lynx could take until 2018

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - U.S. wildlife officials have told a federal judge they expect to take until early 2018 to complete a long-delayed recovery plan for imperiled Canada lynx.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service disclosed that timetable Monday as part of a lawsuit brought by environmentalists in Montana.

Lynx were designated a threatened species in 2000. Since then, federal officials have repeatedly missed their own deadlines to start work on a plan to help the snow-loving big cats.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy last month expressed frustration with the agency and gave officials 30 days to craft a recovery schedule.

In the Lower 48 states, lynx are rarely seen across a 14-state range that includes portions of the Northeast, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Lakes and the Cascade Range of Washington and Oregon.

WESTERN GOVERNORS

Obama pitches wildfire plan to Western governors

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - President Barack Obama is encouraging Western governors to support a plan to budget for fighting wildfires, instead of raiding funding for mitigation efforts.

Obama made the pitch by telephone Monday to governors meeting in Colorado Springs for the annual Western Governors Association conference.

Proposals pending in Congress would create an emergency fund to fight wildfires.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was also on the call, and says that fighting wildfires this year will cost about $1.8 billion. That's $470 million more than what Congress has budgeted.

That means the U.S. Forest Service ends up borrowing that money by using existing funds meant for fire prevention efforts.

The governors got a report from the Agriculture Department showing what projects in their states have been delayed because of the funding shift.

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