Articles written by Angus M. Thuermer Jr.

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  • PacifiCorp sues Wyoming regulators who rejected major electric rate hike

    Angus M. Thuermer Jr.,|May 30, 2024

    Wyoming's largest energy supplier sued state regulators Thursday claiming they wrongly reduced a rate hike by disregarding federal requirements. Filed in U.S. District Court by PacifiCorp, the parent company of Rocky Mountain Power, the suit asks the court to overturn the commission's January decision to approve only part of an electricity rate hike sought by the Oregon company, which is the largest utility operating in Wyoming. The complaint names Wyoming Public Service Commissioners Mary... Full story

  • Legislators want $50M to sue feds over environmental laws

    Angus M. Thuermer Jr.,|Nov 16, 2023

    Wyoming lawmakers want to earmark $50 million to sue the federal government over implementation of national environmental and natural resource laws. Lawmakers added the proposed $50 million appropriation to a draft bill — Federal land use plans-legal actions authorized — that the Joint Agriculture, State and Public Lands & Water Resources Committee endorsed Oct. 30. The bill authorizes the Legislature “to prosecute actions involving the proper administration and interpretation of federal acts.” Lawmakers proposed the measure in part because... Full story

  • 'Someone else is in charge of the lighting'; Yellowstone stars in new stamp

    Angus M. Thuermer Jr., WyoFile|Jun 22, 2023

    CANYON VILLAGE - Photographer Kenneth Keifer nearly missed both shots. But persistence paid off and serendipity kissed the Mooresville, Indiana resident, enabling him to get stunning photographs of two landmark waterfalls. His pictures of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park and Harrison Wright Falls in Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania, appear on two new U.S. Postal Service stamps. Sixteen years ago, Keifer visited Yellowstone bent on capturing the Lower...

  • Wild horse advocates cry foul on enormous roundup, removal

    Angus M. Thuermer Jr.,|Oct 14, 2021

    Federal contract wranglers plan to round up 4,300 wild horses in southwest Wyoming — permanently removing about 70% of them — starting Thursday in an undertaking that culminates years of conflicts among land and wildlife managers, ranchers and horse advocates. The roundup across 3.4 million acres of “checkerboard” land ownership could last more than a month, said Brad Purdy, a Bureau of Land Management spokesman. The agency will permanently remove — for adoption, training and domestic use — about 3,500 horses. About 800 would be set free ag...

  • Wyoming preps for less water as drought creeps up Colorado River

    Angus M. Thuermer Jr.,|Aug 26, 2021

    As federal water managers declared the first-ever official Colorado River water shortage last week, a top official said he's confident Wyoming will responsibly implement its plans to store and divert even more flows from the troubled waterway. The Department of the Interior on Aug. 16 said it would reduce water diversions to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico in 2022 after a scheduled August review set the restrictive sideboards for releases next year. Despite that curtailment, Wyoming plans to corral...

  • State looks to store, divert more water

    Angus M. Thuermer Jr.,|Jul 29, 2021

    As Lake Powell dropped to its lowest-ever level Friday — a decline that has forced dam tenders to unexpectedly release 125,000 acre-feet of water from Flaming Gorge Reservoir — Wyoming stood behind five projects that could divert tens of thousands more acre-feet from waterways in the troubled Colorado River Basin. Powell’s surface elevation dipped to 3,555.09, lower by 12 hundredths of an inch than the previous post-completion nadir of April 8, 2005. The new benchmark is “probably worth noting,” Wayne Pullan, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamati...

  • Hunt questioned after hunters kill 874 grouse hens

    Angus M. Thuermer Jr.,|May 6, 2021

    Hunters shot at least 874 greater sage grouse hens in Wyoming last year, prompting a state grouse team member to question the wisdom of allowing a hunt of the imperiled species. The state’s Sage Grouse Implementation Team meets Wednesday to address Brian Rutledge’s concerns. Rutledge is director of the National Audubon Society’s Sagebrush Ecosystem Initiative and a SGIT member. His question looms as greater sage grouse numbers are down an estimated 81% nationwide in the last 53 years. “What I’m asking for is a sit-down,” Rutledge said. “I wa...

  • West Wyo. a grouse stronghold

    Angus M. Thuermer Jr.,|Apr 15, 2021

    Western Wyoming emerged as a stronghold for greater sage grouse in a grim federal report that estimates an 81% decline in the species over the last 53 years. The 260-page U.S. Geological Survey report published March 30 estimates a 3% annual decline over the half-century period, a pace one sage grouse advocate said would lead to the species’ extinction in about three decades. Conservationists see the report as a dire warning about the species’ fate. Without action, federal wildlife managers could find reason to protect greater sage grouse under...

  • Simplot fined for alleged waste violations

    Angus M. Thuermer Jr.,|Jul 29, 2020

    The giant Boise-based agribusiness J.R. Simplot Company has agreed to pay $775,000 to resolve allegations it violated federal waste and community-protection laws at its phosphoric acid and fertilizer plant outside Rock Springs. Simplot representatives signed a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice on July 9 in which they agreed to pay injunctive relief and civil penalties to resolve a suit brought by the federal agency. Simplot “illegally placed” hazardous material in a waste pile of calcium sulfate byproducts known as a phosphogyp...

  • Dominion Energy vows to 'better protect' birds

    Angus M. Thuermer Jr.,|Jan 15, 2020

    After it fired an employee who saved ducks from oilfield ponds near Rock Springs, Dominion Energy said it will strive to “better protect” animals that run perilously afoul of its facilities. Dominion will work with wildlife officials to “expeditiously implement additional measures” to better protect animals that bypass existing deterrents at deadly oilfield facilities, a vice president wrote. She posted her statement Jan. 9 after WyoFile first reported Dominion fired employee Adam Roich who said he had saved 50 waterfowl during five years w...

  • RS man fired for bird rescues

    Angus M. Thuermer Jr.,|Jan 8, 2020

    Dominion Energy fired an oilfield worker in Rock Springs after the employee saved an estimated 50 waterfowl from wastewater ponds. Adam Roich said he’s rescued about that many waterfowl in the last five years after they landed in tainted ponds at his worksite about 50 miles south of Rock Springs. He would take the oil-slicked birds to a company facility, wash them with Dawn household soap, warm them in his truck, then set them free on clean water, he told WyoFile in an interview. “I got fired a couple days before Christmas for rescuing these gu...

  • Scientists blast inaction on sage grouse issues

    Angus M. Thuermer Jr.,|Jan 8, 2020

    In some 50 years of working as a sage grouse scientist, Clait Braun has seen it all. He’s witnessed the adoption of conservation plans, their subsequent dilution, the loss and degradation of sage grouse habitat, the waxing and waning of populations. He even helped discover and document a new species — the Gunnison sage grouse, distinguished by its inordinately long neck plumage — in the late 1990s. He’s so highly regarded that courts accept his descriptions of species’ health and status as expert testimony. Over the decades, Braun has battl...

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