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Commissioners postpone vote on Wyoming land use regulations
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — County officials in Wyoming have postponed a final decision on a land use regulation change that would allow a South Dakota company to build a wild horse facility. Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported that the Laramie County Board of Commissioners decided to wait before voting on a change that would affect any future projects deemed concentrated animal feeding operations, including Equine Elite's proposed facility in Burns. Commissioners say any proposed projects currently must have the approval of neighbors within a 3-mile radius but the proposed changes would only require neighbors within a mile to approve.
Weak production report caps 2019 for Powder River Basin coal
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Coal mining in the top U.S. coal-producing region was down sharply at the end of 2019 compared to the year before. Production in the Powder River Basin of northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana fell nearly 14% in the last quarter compared to the same period in 2018. U.S. government data released Monday show that volumes for the three-month period were the lowest in over two decades amid ongoing competition from inexpensive natural gas as utilities' fuel of choice to generate electricity. The weak quarter capped a tumultuous year of bankruptcies, mine shutdowns and merger proposals among companies operating in the basin.
INTRASTATE AIR TRAVEL
Idaho lawmaker wants panel to look at boosting air service
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho lawmaker wants his colleagues to take a closer look at ways to improve air travel across the state. Currently no airports in Idaho offer direct commercial flights to any other Idaho city. That means travelers heading from one part of Idaho to another must fly out-of-state first or drive for hours sometimes treacherous terrain. The Lewiston Tribune reports Republican Sen. Dan Johnson from Lewiston is proposing an interim legislative committee to help develop a long-term strategy for intrastate commercial air service. The legislation be voted in the Senate floor as early as Friday and would go to the House if it passes.
Documents detail ouster of University of Wyoming president
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Records obtained by Wyoming news outlets show the University of Wyoming launched an investigation into then-President Laurie Nichols following accusations that she verbally abused employees. The Casper Star-Tribune and WyoFile report the documents indicate why the board of trustees cancelled a planned renewal of Nichols’ contract in 2019. The news outlets obtained the documents after they sued under Wyoming's public records act. Nichols has since been hired as president of Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota. Nichols said in a statement that she never treated anybody in an abusive way. A university trustee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Wyoming Democrats implementing ranked-choice caucus voting
JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Democratic Party is implementing a ranked-choice voting system for its presidential caucuses April 4. Democrats in Alaska, Nevada, Hawaii and Kansas also are implementing ranked-choice voting. The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports votes at the county level will be counted in stages. If one or more candidate gets less than 15% of the first-choice vote, the lowest-performing candidate will be taken out of the running. Second-choice votes will then be allocated among the remaining candidates. The process will repeat until all remaining candidates have more than 15%. Delegates will then be allocated in proportion to the votes for each candidate.
Wyoming legislation promotes hunter education in schools
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming legislative resolution seeks to make firearms and hunter safety courses a regular part of the public school curriculum. The Casper Star-Tribune reported the resolution urges the Department of Game and Fish to coordinate with the Department of Education to provide the courses as a voluntary high school physical education elective. The non-binding resolution sponsored by Republican Sen. Ogden Driskill has nine co-sponsors in the House and Senate. Hunter education was offered as an elective at 11 schools in 2019 including a high school, an elementary school and nine junior high schools.