Wyoming News Update

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YELLOWSTONE MINING

HELENA, Mont. — U.S. government officials are moving forward with a plan to block new gold mining claims in the mountains north of Yellowstone National Park with Thursday's release of a draft analysis of the proposal's effects on the environment. The plan to withdraw more than 30,000 acres (12,141 hectares) of public lands in the Absaroka mountains for 20 years from new claims for gold, silver, platinum and other "locatable" minerals has been in the works since 2016, when new exploration was halted for a two-year review.

DRY SOUTHWEST

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Drought is tightening its grip across a wide swath of the American Southwest as farmers, ranchers and water managers throughout the region brace for what's expected to be more warm and dry weather through the spring. A federal drought map released Thursday shows dry conditions intensifying across northern New Mexico and into southwestern Arizona. Every square mile of Nevada and Utah also are affected by at least some level of dryness.

NUCLEAR PLANTS-BAILOUTS

TOLEDO, Ohio — Another U.S. utility has announced plans to close its nuclear power operations as the industry struggles to compete with electricity plants that burn plentiful and inexpensive natural gas. FirstEnergy Corp. said its three plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania will close within the next three years, barring a last-minute deal.

EPA-COAL MINE — The head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency toured a Wyoming coal mine and said regulations like those seeking to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants are more punitive than helpful.

COAL JOBS — A state report has found that Wyoming coal companies added five full-time jobs last year following the two-year downturn where more than 900 workers lost their jobs.

COAL MINE BONDING — A citizen regulatory board has decided more review is needed on proposed rules on how coal companies secure the cost of cleaning up any of their mines that close in Wyoming.

RECORDS FEES — The state of Wyoming is raising its fees for birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates.

RIG COUNT — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. decreased by two this week to 993.

SheridanWyoming.com

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