The Interior Department is proposing changes to the 2015 Greater Sage Grouse Plans. Inside Energy looks at the impact these changes could have on the spirit of compromise across the west.
Will energy development move into the Bears Ears National Monument? Inside Energy digs in.
Hurricane Harvey is wreaking havoc on the oil industry, especially in the Gulf where refineries are shut down. But it’s also impacting oil in states far from the storm.
Both Donald Trump and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice campaigned on promises to bring coal mining jobs back to the region. Now Justice wants the president to prop up the flagging coal industry with federally-funded incentives for power companies to purchase coal from Appalachia. That’s not an idea that goes over well in Wyoming, where the majority of U.S. coal is mined.
While the head of the EPA goes on a tour of 25 states, the agency is rolling back a host of environmental regulations — including trying to delay implementation of Obama-era methane rules at oil and gas wells. Some residents and environmental groups are taking action, concerned that methane leaks lead to poor air quality.
The sage grouse is back in the national discussion. The Department of Interior is loosening rules that protect the western, chicken-sized bird; recommendations include giving states more leniency in enforcing the rules and easing restrictions on land development. The two-year old conservation plan helped the sage grouse avoid an endangered listing under the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Many environmentalists are concerned the changes could spell doom for the vulnerable species.
A region in Wyoming has some of the strongest emissions regulation on the oil and gas industry in the country. Companies operating in the Upper Green River Basin are required to reduce air pollutants that lead to ozone. Obama-era methane regulations use the basin’s rules as a model and are now on the verge of enforcement nationwide. With five years of experience under it’s belt, the region can show what works and what doesn’t in reducing its own air emissions.
Millions of gallons of salty wastewater are produced each day wherever there’s oil and gas production. Most states inject wastewater deep underground, but several like Wyoming use above-ground wastewater ponds, too. Regulators now want to make sure the state will not be left scrambling to pay for the pond’s cleanup if companies shutter.
A new coal mine may be opening in the Powder River Basin — if it does, it would be the first to open in Wyoming in 50 years. Before that can happen, they have to obtain a permit. Local groups are arguing against one. They say the mine’s proposed permit is lacking and worry about the environmental impacts of a new mine.