Wyoming News Update

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INMATE DEATH

TORRINGTON, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Department of Corrections says a 72-year-old inmate serving a life sentence for second-degree murder has died from a lengthy illness.

The agency says Alan J. Suliber died Tuesday at the Banner Health Community Hospital in Torrington.

KGAB-AM reports that Suliber was an inmate at the Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution in Torrington where he was serving a life sentence for the murder of his 7-year-old stepson.

He was sentenced in September 1992 by Sweetwater County District Judge Jere A. Ryckman.

TRIBE-LAW FIRM LAWSUIT

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — The former law firm for the Northern Arapaho Tribe says the Wyoming tribe and its current lawyers have filed a "vindictive" lawsuit despite knowing the allegations in it were false.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Lander-based Baldwin, Crocker & Rudd and managing partner, Kelly Rudd, filed a response Monday to the tribe's lawsuit against the firm.

The tribe's lawsuit accuses the firm of failing to return tribal trust money and other issues during its more than 30 years working for the tribe.

The Lander firm says it returned all trust fund money and denied the other accusations.

The tribe fired the former law firm in June and hired an Atlanta-based firm.

A spokesman for the tribe says the tribe stands behind its lawsuit but otherwise declined to address specifics.

COAL MINE EXPANSION

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Montana environmental officials are proposing approval of a major expansion of the state's largest coal mine after it was recently sold through a bankruptcy auction.

Jen Lane with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality said the 72 million ton (65 million metric ton) expansion of the Spring Creek Mine near Decker will occur within the mine's existing permit boundary.

The expansion would extend the life of the mine by four years, to approximately 2031.

Spring Creek in 2017 ranked as the 10th largest coal mine in the United States, producing almost 13 million tons (12 million metric tons) of coal.

A bankruptcy judge on last week approved the sale of Spring Creek and two Wyoming mines owned by bankrupt Cloud Peak Energy to the Navajo Transitional Energy Company.

Company representatives said the sale will help keep the mines open.

WYOMING WILDFIRES

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A wildfire burning near Pathfinder Reservoir in central Wyoming has grown to more than 14.5 square miles (37.5 square kilometers) since it began last weekend from lightning.

The fire is located about 40 miles north of Rawlins and is burning a rural area of timber, brush and grass.

Additional firefighters reached the fire on Monday, bringing the total personnel fighting the fire to over 260. They are being aided by several helicopters.

By Tuesday morning, they had gained about 10 percent containment on the fire.

TRUMP-PUBLIC LANDS

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A newly appointed Trump administration official who oversees nearly a quarter-billion public acres in the U.S. West says his past support for selling federal lands is "irrelevant."

Acting Bureau of Land Management Director William Perry Pendley disavowed his longtime advocacy for federal land sales or transfers in an interview with Montana radio station KBUL-AM.

The Wyoming native has previously accused government agencies of illegally blocking ranchers, miners and oil and gas companies from profiting off publicly owned range and forest.

Pendley's appointment last month raised alarm among conservationists, who said it signaled a willingness within the Trump administration to sell vast swaths of federal lands.

Pendley says he is now in an administration opposed to such sales, adding that he knows how to follow orders.

MISSOURI RIVER-FLOODING

NORTH SIOUX CITY, S.D. (AP) — An official with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says a study is needed to consider changes to flood-control measures along the Missouri River south of Sioux City, Iowa.

Speaking after a U.S. Senate field hearing Wednesday in North Sioux City, South Dakota, Brig. Gen. Peter Helmlinger noted such a study could call for actions such as changing the Missouri River channel in the Sioux City area to let the river spread out and carry more water. The Sioux City Journal reports that levees also could be rebuilt farther from the river to give the waterway more room.

Helmlinger, commander of the corps' Northwestern Division, says such a study would take three years and be delivered to Congress.

He spoke after answering questions at a hearing headed by Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota.

SheridanWyoming.com

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