Wyoming News Update

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WYOMING-INDIAN AFFAIRS MONEY-SETTLED

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming tribal leaders have reached an agreement with federal officials over problems raised in a report highlighting millions of dollars in misspent funds.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes' Wind River Inter-Tribal Council announced Tuesday they agreed to several fixes recommended by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The interior department's inspector general found last year that poor Bureau of Indian Affairs oversight permitted the tribes to misspend $6.2 million in transportation funds.

A May 31 letter from the bureau says the inter-tribal council agreed to six of seven recommendations in the draft report.

Officials say the agreement includes a payment of more than $7,400 payment to the federal government.

Officials are negotiating the remaining recommendation to require tribes to have administrative fees.

NEW COAL MINE

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A judge in Wyoming is considering whether state officials followed a legitimate review process before they rejected a permit application for a new coal mine.

Laramie County District Judge Catherine Rogers said she will rule later after arguments Wednesday in the permit appeal for the proposed Brook Mine near Sheridan.

Sheridan-based Ramaco Carbon wants the coal to study ways to manufacture carbon-based materials. Local residents worry the mine will cause ground subsidence and deplete groundwater.

The state review board called the Wyoming Environmental Quality Council rejected the company's permit application in 2017.

Ramaco argues federal law required that decision to be up to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality director, not the council.

A landowners' group, the Powder River Basin Resource Council, argues that state officials followed the right process.

SHERIDAN FLOODING

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) — Residents in northern Wyoming are being told to remain on alert for more flooding from rain on top of snowmelt runoff.

Sheridan County Emergency Management Coordinator Bruce Edwards says the county could see more flooding because of water being released from the Park Reservoir, high temperatures that will increase snowmelt and the potential for thunderstorms this weekend.

The Sheridan Press reports that high rivers and creeks caused flooding issues and damage in the county last week.

Dayton Mayor Norm Anderson says some homes close to the Little Tongue River were damaged by water.

Ranchester Mayor Peter Clark says one house sustained about $100,000 worth of damage and the Connor Battlefield State Historic Site in Ranchester remains closed indefinitely due to flooding.

Clark says he's contacted the state about potential assistance.

DEATH PENALTY-WYOMING

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A national group that advocates repeal of the death penalty is bringing its efforts to Wyoming.

Brooklyn-based nonprofit Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty has announced it would be hiring a Wyoming field director to aid in grassroots efforts to repeal the state's rarely used death penalty.

A bill that would have repealed the death penalty in Wyoming failed in the state Legislature last winter but the measure passed the state House before being defeated in the Senate.

Hannah Cox is national manager for Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty.

Cox tells the Casper Star-Tribune that the group was surprised that a red state like Wyoming could come so close to repealing the death penalty with almost no conservative groundwork beforehand.

GAS PLANT FIRE

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — Three workers have been injured in a flash fire at a natural gas plant in northern Colorado.

Dan Harms of the Pawnee Fire Protection District says that the flash fire happened about 9:10 a.m. Wednesday while the workers were working on a compressor at the Summit Midstream plant in Weld County just south of the Wyoming state line.

The three injured workers suffered burn injuries and were all taken to a hospital.

Harms told The Denver Post that he did not know the extent of their injuries.

Summit Midstream spokesman Blake Motley tells The Greeley Tribune said the incident is under investigation.

WALLACE NOMINATION

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming native Robert Wallace is making his way through Senate confirmation hearings in Washington on his nomination as assistant secretary of the U.S. Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department.

The Jackson Hole resident testified Tuesday before the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, which is chaired by Wyoming Republican Sen. John Barrasso.

Wallace told the committee he believes that the planet is warming and that climate change poses challenges to flora and fauna that must be addressed on federal lands.

Wallace has previous experience in Washington. He has served as a staffer for both the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The full Senate must approve Wallace's nomination.

SheridanWyoming.com

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