Wyoming News Update

Posted in

SENIORS INFO RELEASED

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming state agency has sent an unencrypted email containing the private information of more than 2,000 residents.

The Casper Star-Tribune reported Wednesday that an employee with the state Department of Health's Aging Division accidentally sent the unprotected message.

Officials say the email contained information for residents who received care at Carbon County Senior Services.

Officials say there was a low risk of harm caused by the error, which was reported May 1 and was immediately followed by an investigation.

The state says the person receiving the email was authorized to have the information, but "there is a chance protected health information could have been viewed, read or saved" by an unauthorized individual.

Officials say social security numbers and banking information were not included in the email.

WILDFIRES-ROCKY MOUNTAINS

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Federal officials say they found ways to work through last winter's government shutdown to get prepared for wildfires in the central Rocky Mountain region and Black Hills.

Representatives of the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management talked with Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon on Wednesday about coordinating firefighting efforts.

The shutdown amid a dispute between President Donald Trump and Congress over border security lasted from Dec. 22 to Jan. 25. Regional Forester Brian Ferebee says his office prioritized work during the shutdown and brought back firefighters for previously scheduled training.

Ferebee's region covers Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and most of South Dakota and Wyoming.

Firefighters are getting help from the weather. Abundant snow and rain and cool temperatures are keeping the region's wildfire danger fairly low.

PEREGRINE FALCONS-DEVILS TOWER

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — For the first time in seven years, peregrine falcons at Devils Tower in northeast Wyoming did not have a successful nesting season.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports a pair of falcons showed behavior consistent with courtship, but the weather might have put a damper on breeding.

Rene Ohms, chief of resource management for the National Park Service, says this year's late-season snow, colder than normal temperatures and frequently heavy rain have made it "very difficult for them."

The species was listed as endangered in 1970 but had a remarkable recovery and was removed from the list in 1999. Falcons returned to Devils Tower in 2013 and successfully nested for the last six years.

Ohms says nests sometimes fail, but the population as a whole won't be affected.

YELLOWSTONE-THERMAL ACTIVITY

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Steamboat Geyser in Yellowstone National Park set a record earlier this month for the shortest recorded interval between eruptions, at just over three days.

The Billings Gazette reports the June 15 eruption at 4:40 p.m. came three days, three hours and 48 minutes after a major eruption on June 12.

Sunday's eruption marked the sixth in June and the 24th this year for the world's tallest active geyser.

The National Park Service says Steamboat's major eruptions shoot water more than 300 feet (91 meters) into the air.

Steamboat lay dormant from October 1991 to May 2000 and from February 2007 to July 2013. Its March 15, 2018 eruption ended just over 3 ½ years of dormancy. The geyser is known to have erupted 56 times since then.

WYOMING-OIL WELLS

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Oil and gas leaseholders say they have no immediate plans to expand operations on the Moneta Divide field in central Wyoming.

Aethon Energy tells KTWO-AM that it does not plan to conduct a large scale drilling program on the field in Fremont and Natrona counties anytime soon.

The company says developing the field would require drilling thousands of wells.

Burlington Resources says it could drill up to 150 new wells but it's unlikely it would seek funding for the project.

Bureau of Land Management Public Information Specialist Brad Purdy says companies sometimes delay development projects after approval.

He says the agency "can't really force a company to start development on this day or that day."

WOLVES-US PROTECTIONS

BRAINERD, Minn. (AP) — Federal officials are weighing testimony from the only public hearing in the country on the government's latest attempt to take gray wolves off the endangered and threatened species list.

The proposal would return management of the predators to the states, potentially subjecting them to hunting and trapping. It most states it's illegal to kill a wolf unless it's threatening a human.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that officials explained at the hearing Tuesday night in the east-central Minnesota city of Brainerd that they no longer consider gray wolves endangered. They've made a dramatic recovery since they were protected in 1974.

But supporters of the protections said removal is premature. While wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and the northern Rockies have rebounded, they haven't fully recovered across their historic range.