AP News Update

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AP News Update

Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment
COAL GASIFICATION

EPA delays decision on coal gasification project

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - The federal Environmental Protection Agency says it needs more time to decide whether to reclassify an aquifer and allow a coal gasification project in Campbell County.

Linc Energy of Australia wants to change the designation of the aquifer from Class III, suitable for livestock, to Class V, suitable only for mining and commercial use.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported Sunday the EPA initially expected to made a decision in late July or early August. The agency told state officials last month it needed additional time but did not set a new target date.

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality has approved the reclassification. Linc needs both state and federal approval.

Linc officials declined to comment.

The project would burn a coal seam underground and pump out several gases including methane.

SAGE GROUSE-DRILLING

Grouse measures defer drilling in much of Wyoming

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - U.S. Bureau of Land Management figures show the total area of federal oil and gas leases currently deferred in Wyoming to protect the greater sage grouse exceeds the size of Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks combined.

The 3.5 million acres of deferred leases include 10,000 acres that otherwise would be offered at a BLM oil and gas lease sale Tuesday.

BLM officials say many deferred leases will become available in coming months, after they enact land-use regulations to protect the ground-dwelling bird in the Rocky Mountain region.

Even so, Kathleen Sgamma with the Western Energy Alliance says the petroleum industry worries the regulations will overly restrict oil and gas development.

Federal officials plan to decide next year whether to protect the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

LAWYER SUSPENDED

Wyoming Supreme Court suspends Jackson attorney

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - The Wyoming Supreme Court has suspended a Jackson attorney's license for three years.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reported Monday the Supreme Court found that Andrea L. Richard didn't respond appropriately to requests for evidence, didn't obey court orders and didn't follow procedural rules.

In a written statement, Richard said she had made mistakes and learned important lessons. She said she looked forward to returning to the practice of law.

The court cited Richard's handling of seven cases that included litigation between contractors and homeowners and child custody hearings.

The court said Richard made errors that ultimately cost her clients their case and large sums of money.

Richard was ordered to pay more than $40,000 in costs as part of her discipline.

COLLEGES-REMEDIAL EDUCATION

Half of community college students in remediation

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - More than half the students at Wyoming community colleges take remedial classes, a slightly lower rate than the national average.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported Monday the community college remediation rate in Wyoming is 51 percent, compared with 51.7 percent nationally.

A state study conducted from 2009 to 2012 found that three years after entering a Wyoming community college, fewer than half the remedial students met college-level requirements for a degree.

Wyoming Community College Commission Executive Director Jim Rose says drawn-out remedial studies can discourage students and strain college budgets.

Rose says the state pays about 80 percent of community college costs and student tuition pays about 20 percent.

The Washington, D.C., nonprofit Complete College America estimates students and states spent about $3 billion on remedial education nationwide last year.

BRIDGER-TETON BRIDGE

Road south of Jackson closing for new bridge

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) - A section of Fall Creek Road in the Bridger-Teton National Forest south of Jackson will be closed for about 60 days so a bridge can be replaced.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reported Monday the bridge is about three miles north of U.S. 89. The work is scheduled to start Aug. 14.

Some drivers use Fish Creek Road as a shortcut to Wilson or to avoid Hoback Junction south of Jackson, where major routes converge from the southeast and southwest.

It's also a sightseeing route.

The National Forest Service says the existing bridge was built in 1955, and its wooden deck and abutments are deteriorating.

Officials say the new concrete bridge will be wider and will improve water flow and fish habitat.

WILD HORSE ROUNDUP

Wild horse groups challenge Wyoming roundup

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Wild horse preservation groups are challenging the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's plan to remove about 800 horses from areas in southern Wyoming.

The federal agency has announced plans to remove the horses from lands within the Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek herd management areas starting later this month.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and other groups filed a federal lawsuit on Friday saying the BLM's plan to remove horses would violate federal environmental laws.

Suzanne Roy is director of the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. She says the groups intend to ask a federal judge to block the roundup.

Attempts to reach BLM officials for comment weren't immediately successful on Monday.

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