Study tests elk herd’s tolerance of coalbed gas development

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Fortification Creek elk herd roams the isolated sage brush country and steep rocky breaks of the Powder River Basin. The herd is prized by hunters for its trophy class bulls. The herd also lives in a region ripe for coalbed natural gas development.

Given the confluence of pressures, government wildlife officials have joined with the University of Wyoming and energy companies for a $500,000 study aimed at figuring out how much energy development the elk can tolerate. Biologists recently collared 39 of the animals to monitor their behavior over the next four years.

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Wyoming wants high court to dismiss Montana Lawsuit

Wyoming will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Montana over the two states’ water rights to the Powder and Tongue rivers.

Wyoming State Engineer Pat Tyrrell, who was in Gillette on Thursday, said that Montana’s claims that Wyoming is unfairly taking more than its legal share of both surface and groundwater from the Powder and Tongue rivers before they cross into Montana is “not relevant.” In fact, the compact that governs water rights between the two states — the Yellowstone Compact of 1951 — does not address groundwater flows at all, he said.

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Methane producers tell Wyoming governor they need help

Coal-bed methane producers told Gov. Dave Freudenthal they need help from the state and their own industry to keep working conditions safe as new employees continue pouring into the Powder River Basin with little oil and gas experience.

The plea came during a 45-minute meeting between the two-term Democrat and members of the Powder River Basin CBM Safety Council who brought with them concerns ranging from sage grouse to what is seen as an understaffed state Occupational Safety and Health department.

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