Wyoming News Update

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No new coal? Objections to Wyoming coal mine to be heard

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A state regulatory board plans to consider whether Wyoming's first major new coal mine in decades should proceed despite the objections of two landowners. Lexington, Kentucky-based Ramaco seeks to develop the Brook Mine north of Sheridan. The Wyoming Environmental Quality Council on Wednesday will discuss a possible order allowing Brook Mining Company to go ahead despite opposition.

One landowner, Big Horn Coal, says the Brook Mine would interfere with its own plans to potentially mine in the area. The other landowner, the Padlock Ranch, says the Brook Mine would block the movement of cattle and could destroy a livestock watering system. Brook Mining Company says it has tried but failed to negotiate with the landowners.

Advocates say hunts, slaughter threaten Yellowstone bison

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife advocacy groups are suing to force the U.S. government to study whether the hunting and slaughter of bison that wander outside of Yellowstone National Park threaten the animal's survival.

Buffalo Field Campaign, Western Watersheds Project and Friends of Animals filed the lawsuit against the Interior Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Monday in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

The groups are asking a judge to order federal wildlife officials to study whether the Yellowstone bison should be listed as a threatened or endangered species. They say the Yellowstone bison population is too small, lacks genetic diversity and is confined within a small portion of its historical range.

There are approximately 4,900 Yellowstone bison. Yellowstone officials have said culling the population does not put the population at risk.

Wyoming to get rid of Tetons image on license plates

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming is preparing to launch new license plates that feature a view of the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that drivers will be able to get the new plates that feature an image of the forest's Lower Green River Lake and Squaretop Mountain starting next year. The Wyoming Department of Transportation announced the decision last week.

The new design will be featured on the state's standard license plates as well as on special plates and prestige plates.

Drivers won't be able to display the new plate until their current registration expires, unless they pay for it in advance.

Next year's license plates will also include a maximum of five letters instead of four.

State law requires Wyoming to change its license plate designs every eight years.

Lawmaker seeks safeguards for Yellowstone-area grizzly hunts

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A high-ranking Democratic lawmaker says he opposes removing federal protections for Yellowstone-area grizzly bears without more stringent restrictions on future hunts for the animals.

A decision on protections for grizzlies in the Yellowstone region of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho is expected by year's end.

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva said in a Tuesday letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe that he wants grizzly hunting prohibited in areas adjacent to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

The Arizona lawmaker is the ranking Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee.

He says he's heard concerns from parks administrators that state-sponsored hunting could kill bears that frequent Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

Grijalva also wants a strategy in place to make sure the Yellowstone region's 700-bear population remains stable or increases.