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GRIZZLY BEAR CLAWS

Man kills grizzly in self-defense, keeps claws as a memento

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — A Montana man told investigators that he cut off a grizzly bear's claws after shooting it in self-defense because he was mad that the bear was going to eat him. The Flathead Beacon reports 35-year-old Bryan Berg was fined $5,000 and sentenced to probation on Thursday after pleading guilty to illegal transport of grizzly bear claws. Prosecutors say Berg shot the bear in self-defense in Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness in 2017. He cut off the claws and pushed the carcass over the side of a mountain. Berg told investigators he wanted to keep the claws as a memento.

YELLOWSTONE RESCUE

Man rescued, cited after rappelling into Yellowstone canyon

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Yellowstone National Park officials say a 55-year-old Indiana man had to be rescued after he rappelled into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River and then could not climb back up. A park ranger tells the Billings Gazette that the man, Dave Christensen, was uninjured in the Jan. 6 incident. He was cited for disorderly conduct and for going off-trail in a closed area. Officials say Christensen dropped his backpack and left his 360-foot rope to retrieve it in the canyon, which reaches depths of 1,200 feet in places. Officials say he could not climb back up again and the rescue took four hours.

WINTER WEATHER-WYOMING TRAVEL

Wyoming highways close to prevent stranded travelers

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming officials have shut down highways across the southern part of the state due to winter conditions and as a precaution against travelers becoming stranded without services. State Department of Transportation officials say that some areas, including stretches of Interstate 80, could be closed eight to 10 hours on Saturday. Some closures are due to slick roads, reduced visibility due to drifting and blowing snow and gusting winds that risk blowing over vehicles. I-80 west of Laramie is subject to a rolling closure, which happens when a small town along the highway is at capacity, putting travelers at risk of being stranded without services.

RECYCLED OIL WASTE

Wyoming OKs permit to test treated oil wastewater on a farm

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming regulators have issued a one-time permit to a company to test whether its technology to treat oil drilling and manufacturing wastewater can help vegetation grow on a farm. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality permit issued this month allows Encore Green Environmental to apply about 7,000 barrels of the treated water to private farmland outside Pine Bluffs near the Nebraska state line by the end of the year. The company says on its website that it wants to solve the problem of too much oil and manufacturing wastewater being produced at industrial sites while nearby agricultural lands are in need of water.

ECONOMIC DOWNTURN-CHEYENNE

Wyoming's capital sees economic downturn due to job decrease

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A new report says Wyoming's capital city is experiencing an economic downturn driven by a reduction in local mining and construction jobs. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports Cheyenne experienced a 5.5% reduction in local mining and construction jobs in the past year. The state Department of Administration and Information released the information in its latest quarterly report. Overall the city added more than 400 jobs over the year, with 7.7% of those in manufacturing. The loss of mining jobs contributed to a 10.3% decrease in weekly earnings for Cheyenne’s private sector employees, from $833 this time last year to $747.

ENERGY ROYALTIES

Judge says conservation group can look into energy panel

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A conservation group can seek details from the Trump administration on whether it used the recommendations of a disbanded committee to craft policies on oil, gas and coal extraction. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy says there is “a significant question" on whether the administration followed the advice of the Royalty Policy Committee. The industry-dominated panel was created under former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to remove obstacles to natural resource extraction. It was disbanded last year, and Molloy later said it had been established illegally. The judge's ruling Thursday allows the Western Organization of Resource Councils to seek documents, depositions and other materials from the administration.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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