Wyoming News Update

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BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. energy officials say demand for coal to generate electricity will continue to weaken in coming months despite efforts by the Trump administration to prop up the struggling industry.

The Energy Information Administration said Thursday renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and hydropower will fill much of the gap left by coal's decline.

Natural gas will remain the fuel of choice for power generation with an expected 40% share of U.S. markets this summer.

Coal's share is projected to be 25%. That's down roughly half over the past decade.

Under Trump, officials have sought to ease coal plant regulations and mining restrictions.

Yet almost all major coal mining states are seeing production declines in 2019. Wyoming, Kentucky and Texas had the biggest drops. Only Montana saw a slight increase.


CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — An investigation is underway after a man died in an industrial accident in eastern Wyoming.

Natrona County sheriff's deputies were called to the scene on the western edge of Casper on Thursday morning. The Casper Star-Tribune reports the man, whose name has not been released, was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Sgt. Aaron Shatto says the sheriff's office is required to investigate all industrial deaths in the county.

No other information was released.


GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming's governor says his state can be part of solving the problem of climate change while producing more coal than any other.

Gov. Mark Gordon told the Campbell County Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday that Wyoming can do environmental regulation better than "anywhere else in the world" when it comes to mining coal and burning it to make electricity.

Gordon says carbon-capture research in Wyoming shows the state is "about solutions" and will stand up for its right to sell coal overseas. The Gillette News-Record reports Wyoming is involved in litigation that seeks to allow a coal-export terminal in Washington state.

Weakened demand due to competition from natural gas and renewable energy has taken a toll on Wyoming's coal industry. Gordon says he nonetheless expects the industry will thrive.


JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — National forest managers in western Wyoming expect to see large numbers of mushroom hunters in the weeks ahead.

Forests that have recently burned are prime places to look for tasty morel mushrooms.

A large area of Bridger-Teton National Forest that burned in 2018 could be prime hunting grounds. Morels also like wet weather and the region has received plenty of rain and snow this spring.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports forest officials have implemented a $300 fee for morel hunters who sell their finds. They will only allow commercial morel hunting in the northern part of the Roosevelt Fire burn area.

Recreational morel hunters can hunt anywhere in the forest for free but may not collect more than 3 gallons (11 liters) of morels.


OGDEN, Utah (AP) — Descendants of Chinese laborers who worked on America's Transcontinental Railroad are helping commemorate the 150th anniversary of the railroad's completion.

Members of the Chinese Railroad Workers Descendants Association and thousands of others attended a celebration Thursday in Ogden, Utah, that featured a pair of restored 1940s-era locomotives.

Association member Margaret Yee represented her ancestors on stage alongside Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Union Pacific CEO Lance Fritz. Yee says she and others are working to ensure the workers receive the recognition they deserve.

Fritz also hailed the laborers who put in 12-hour days in brutal conditions to build the railroad by hand. He says their work "changed America forever."

Fritz says the Transcontinental Railroad changed hazardous, six-month trips from New York to San Francisco into relatively comfortable 10-day excursions.


SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state official says wolves should be removed from the federal endangered species list in the entirety of the state.

Washington Fish and Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind in April wrote a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in support of the proposal to delist wolves in the Lower 48 states.

Susewind calls the proposal "appropriate and timely" as wolves are recovering.

Wolves in the eastern third of Washington are already delisted.

The Center for Biological Diversity criticized the letter, saying the idea of stripping federal protections from wolves is "appalling."

The environmental group contends 72 percent of Washington residents want federal protection.

The federal government has already delisted wolves in the eastern third of Washington and Oregon, as well as in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.


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