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Judge to consider suspending new federal drilling rules

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A judge in Casper is about to consider whether new rules for oil and gas drilling on federal land should be suspended until a lawsuit is resolved.

Four states and two petroleum industry groups are suing the Interior Department, claiming the rules duplicate state rules and will be burdensome for the oil and gas industry.

The rules are set to take effect Wednesday but those suing want a judge to suspend implementation while their lawsuit moves ahead. U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl will hear arguments Tuesday for and against granting that request.

The plaintiffs in the case are Colorado, North Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, the Western Energy Alliance and the Independent Petroleum Association of America.

Six environmental groups are siding with the federal government in the case.


2 saved in near drowning at reservoir southwest of Casper

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - Investigators say sleepwalking might have been at the root of a near drowning at Pathfinder Reservoir southwest of Casper.

The Natrona County Sheriff's Office says a 26-year-old woman and a 4-year-old girl were found face down in the water Saturday.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports a woman who called 911 told deputies she saw her daughter and the woman approach the water, turned away and then saw them moments later face down in the reservoir. She pulled her daughter from the water and another woman performed CPR on her.

Bystanders performed CPR on the woman, who started breathing again about five minutes later. She refused additional treatment, but the girl was treated at a hospital.

The woman who nearly drowned told deputies she was drinking during the day and had taken a sleeping pill before lying down.


Yellowstone visitation for 2015 up 24 percent

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) - Yellowstone National Park has seen about 24 percent more visitors January through May of this year compared to the same time period in 2014.

The National Park Service says some of that increase could be attributed to a new after-hours counter at the park's West Entrance. But it also credits a mild winter and early spring for drawing more people to the park.

Yellowstone has recorded more than 515,000 recreational visits so far through May this year. That compares to about 415,000 for January through May 2014.

July is typically the park's peak visitation month, followed by August, June, September and May.


Third man pleads guilty in Wind River Reservation stabbing

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - The third and final defendant charged in a fatal stabbing on the Wind River Indian Reservation has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Jaymes Whiteplume is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 1 following his plea agreement with prosecutors.

He and two other people - Susan Chippewa and Byron Spoonhunter - were charged with first-degree murder.

Prosecutors say Whiteplume held Jared Little Whiteman down while Chippewa and Spoonhunter stabbed him.

Chippewa pleaded guilty in April to first-degree murder and is set to be sentenced July 21. Spoonhunter pleaded guilty earlier this month and is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 25.


Tribal Leaders Council names new executive director

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - William Snell has been appointed to the executive director position of the Montana Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council.

The Billings Gazette reports Snell will be replacing Cheryl Belcourt following her retirement.

Snell is a member of the Crow Nation and an Assiniboine/Sioux member of Fort Belknap Agency. He is also a co-founder of the In-Care Network Inc., a licensed mental health center and child placement agency in Billings.

In 1981, Snell earned a bachelor's degree in business management from Eastern Montana College.

The Tribal Leaders Council works to improve the health, economic development and education for tribal members. The council is planning to change its name to the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council, which includes the Idaho-based Shoshone-Bannock Tribes of the Fort Hall Indian reservation as the newest member.


Man accused in string of ATM robberies sentenced to 18 years

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - One of two men accused in a string of ATM robberies across the United States has been sentenced to 18 years in prison in Boise's U.S. District Court.

U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson said 35-year-old Nathan Paul Davenport was sentenced Monday for larceny, conspiracy and use of a firearm. Davenport, who formerly lived in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, pleaded guilty to the crimes in March. Under the plea agreement, Davenport admitted to ATM larcenies in seven states: Idaho, Florida, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Utah.

According to court documents, Davenport said he and a co-defendant stole money from the ATM in McCall, Idaho by using a pickup truck to pull the door off the machine. As he fled the scene, Davenport shot at a pursuing police car, but the officers inside were not injured.

Co-defendant Matthew Taber Annable is scheduled to be sentenced in August on bank larceny and conspiracy charges.


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