Wyoming News Update

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Feds, law professors say judge wrong to block fracking rules

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A group of law professors and lawyers for the federal government say a U.S. judge in Wyoming was wrong to block rules for hydraulic fracturing on federal land.

Judge Scott Skavdahl of Casper ruled in June that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management lacks the authority to regulate fracking — a technique of injecting materials underground to increase energy production.

The Obama administration filed a brief last week with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, arguing the BLM may enact rules requiring companies to disclose what they're injecting.

The law professors, including the author of a paper Skavdahl cited in his ruling, also told the court this week that they believe the judge was wrong.

Skavdahl had ruled on a legal challenge by Wyoming and other states.

Teton County prepares for 2017 total solar eclipse

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Teton County officials are already setting up management plans to prepare for the large turnout expected during next year's total solar eclipse.

The Jackson Hole News and Guide reports emergency management crews are planning a response for an estimated 40,000 people during the eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017.

Jackson is located right in the path of what some are calling the Great American Eclipse, which will be the first total solar eclipse seen from the mainland U.S. in nearly four decades. It will be visible over 12 states.

Teton County officials say they're going to be on the lookout for illegal camping, as many hotels are already booked.

Grocery stores have also been notified to stock up on bottled water and gas stations alerted to keep their tanks full.

Former Wyoming police officer arrested in cold case homicide

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Police in Laramie say a former policeman has been arrested in connection with the 1985 slaying of a University of Wyoming student.

The Laramie Boomerang reports 67-year-old Fredrick J. Lamb of Laramie was arrested Wednesday and jailed on charges of first-degree murder and arson.

Laramie police say Lamb was arrested in connection with the 1985 slaying of 22-year-old Shelli R. Wiley.

Lt. Gwen Smith of the Laramie Police Department says unspecified new technology led to Lamb's arrest.

Smith says she expects local prosecutors to file court charges Friday. An attempt to reach a county prosecutor Thursday was not successful.

Smith says Lamb has worked as an officer with the Laramie Police Department and the Albany County Sheriff's Office but didn't work for either at the time of Wiley's death.

Progress made in fighting Yellowstone fire

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Firefighters report good progress in their effort to extinguish a wildfire burning on the western edge of Yellowstone National Park.

The fire has burned nearly 200 acres since it started Monday about 4 miles north of West Yellowstone, Montana.

About 90 firefighters, aided by air tankers and helicopters, have been working to put it out because of its proximity to West Yellowstone.

It is one of five fires burning in the park. All major tourist areas remain open and unaffected.

The largest fire has burned 19 square miles. It's also located on the west side of the park but in a remote location where it is being allowed to burn.

Two other smaller fires are burning in remote areas of the northern part of the park and are being monitored.

Jackson airport officials question scenic flights over parks

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Jackson Hole Airport officials are questioning a helicopter company after accusations that the company provides its clients illegally close views of the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that commercial flights that take off from Jackson Hole Airport aren't allowed to fly over the noise-sensitive areas of Grand Teton National Park.

Rocky Mountain Rotors owners Mark Taylor denies selling scenic flights of the airport. He says his company isn't doing anything illegal.

Jackson Town Councilor Jim Stanford says he raised the issue after speaking to a family that described a scenic helicopter flight beginning and ending at Jackson Hole Airport.

Airport Director Jim Elwood says he's paying attention to the issue and will have his staff look into any report of violations.