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Wyoming lawmakers kill 'Defend the Guard' deployment act
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Lawmakers and veterans rallied in support of a bill in Wyoming that would restrict combat deployment of National Guard troops, saying states need to assert control over open-ended U.S. military commitments. The bill failed an initial vote Friday in the Wyoming House. Under the bill, Wyoming troops and airmen could only be sent to combat with congressional authorization specifically granted by the Constitution, such as a declaration of war. States including Michigan, Oklahoma and West Virginia have discussed similar legislation recently. Opponents of such measures in other states have pointed out there's already a check on combat deployments of National Guard troops — they must be approved by a governor.
WILDLIFE CORRIDOR CONSERVATION
Wyoming governor orders conservation of migration corridors
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wildlife migration corridors that preserve routes used by big game herds in Wyoming must be conserved under a new executive order by the governor. The Casper Star-Tribune reported Thursday that the order preserves protections for three existing mule deer corridors in Sublette, Baggs and Platte Valley and provides guidelines for designating additional routes. Experts say the loss of critical habitat like migration corridors have contributed in part to population decline for some species. Republican Gov. Mark Gordon says the designation of migration corridors throughout the state can help determine the environmental impact of projects that were previously delayed.
Montana wildlife commission tightens wolf, elk hunting rules
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife officials in Montana have increased hunting regulations on wolf and elk near Yellowstone National Park. The Missoulian reported Thursday that the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission tightened wolf hunting rules and reduced elk-hunting seasons. Commission officials say regulations included reducing wolf hunting quotas to one per person in each district near Yellowstone National Park and shortening elk shouldering seasons by a month in some districts in central Montana. The state uses shoulder seasons to extend hunting seasons beyond the five-week general period and bring local elk populations closer to population targets.
Wyoming, Navajo coal company, agree to liability waiver
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming officials have reached an agreement with a Navajo tribal company that would give them authority to take the company to court to enforce environmental laws at two coal mines. Navajo Transitional Energy Company acquired the Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines in Wyoming, and the Young's Creek mine in Montana, from Gillette-based Cloud Peak Energy in a 2019 bankruptcy sale. As a sovereign tribal entity, the Navajo company couldn't normally be sued in state court. Wyoming and Montana officials have been negotiating limited waivers of sovereign immunity for NTEC as a condition for the company to eventually get state permits for its new mines. Negotiations between NTEC and Montana continue.
University of Wyoming spent $42,000 fighting records lawsuit
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Records show the University of Wyoming paid attorneys more than $42,000 while trying to block the release of documents involving a decision not to renew the school president's contract. The Casper Star-Tribune and WyoFile say the invoices were obtained by news outlets that sued to obtain the records involving the ouster of President Laurie Nichols. Donal O’Toole, who was Faculty Senate chair when Nichols was dismissed, called the legal expense “a stupid waste of money.” University spokesman Chad Baldwin says the school fought the lawsuit to protect the identities of people whose comments factored into the contract decision.
Police: No charges recommended in fatal Gillette shooting
GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — Police in Gillette aren't pursuing charges in a shooting death. Police say 21-year-old Steven Peterson shot his friend, 24-year-old Jesse Flores, on Jan. 31. Police say their investigation shows Peterson acted reasonably. The Gillette News-Record reports the men got in an argument after drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. Police say Flores threatened Peterson, who locked himself in his bedroom with a handgun. Peterson reported hearing a sound like the cycling of a slide on a handgun while Flores tried to manipulate the lock. Peterson shot Flores after he got through the door. Police say Peterson cooperated with investigators, who found a handgun outside the bedroom door.