Aug 8, 2013 The Associated Press

Sweetwater passes wind farm regs

GREEN RIVER -- The Sweetwater County Commission has approved stronger regulations for wind farm development in the county.

New rules will impose restrictions on setbacks to adjacent property owners and require analyses of the environment and the view shed and establish noise levels.

The county has been working on the regulations for months.

Commission chairman Wally Johnson said the new regulations will have a long-lasting impact and effect on Sweetwater County.

He says the county took its time to get the regulations right because once wind farms are built they are there forever.

Worker struck by dump truck dies

GILLETTE -- A dump truck driver has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after the death of a fellow construction site worker in Gillette.

38-year-old Jason Thompson was working near Lasting Legacy Park around 6 a.m. Monday when he was hit and killed by a dump truck.

Police Lt. Brent Wasson says the Wyoming Highway Patrol arrested 31-year-old Andrew Ames, of Yankton, S.D., on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. Wasson says an investigation is continuing to see whether Ames could face a different charge.

Ames has an unlisted phone number and couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

Feds release hazing documents

ELENA, Mont. -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has turned over its analysis on the effects of hazing bison back into Yellowstone National Parks on threatened grizzly bears after a conservation group sued for the information.

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy dismissed the Alliance for the Wild Rockies' lawsuit on Monday and awarded the alliance $3,531 in attorney fees and costs.

Attorney Rebecca Smith of the Public Interest Defense Center filed a complaint on behalf of the conservation group in May asking Molloy to rule that the federal agency acted illegally by not responding and by failing to produce the requested documents.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year rejected the alliance's request to block the annual spring hazing of bison from Montana into the park to make way for cattle to graze. The alliance says helicopters used to haze the bison cause grizzlies, a federally protected species, to panic and flee from their habitat.

In April, the alliance requested the file for the Fish and Wildlife Service's analysis on the effects of the hazing on grizzly bears in the area. The group asked for the final analysis and backing documents, along with all correspondence and meeting minutes regarding the analysis.

An employee with the federal agency acknowledged receiving the letter but the agency never made a determination on the request or handed over the documents, even though the federal law requires a government agency to make a determination on the request within 20 business days, according to the complaint.

The law allows a 10-day extension in some cases, but the federal agency failed to meet that deadline, too, the complaint says.

Grand Teton upkeep falls behind

JACKSON -- Grand Teton National Park has about $192 million in maintenance needs.

That's about 10 times the usual annual Grand Teton maintenance budget.

Park chief of facilities management Chris Finlay says the park has prioritized projects and will let some fall to the wayside because there isn't enough money to pay for all the projects.

Finlay said about $34 million of the park's maintenance backlog is for wastewater systems that need upgrades and replacement.

Grand Teton spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs says the growing maintenance backlog has caused park planners to scrutinize new infrastructure by considering its long-term maintenance costs.

Wyoming fire plane getting backup

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A military firefighting plane from Colorado will help battle wildfires burning in the Pacific Northwest.

A C-130 cargo plane from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs was sent to Boise, Idaho on Wednesday. It will replace a C-130 from the North Carolina Air National Guard that's returning home.

Another C-130 from the Wyoming Air National Guard has also been fighting fires in the Northwest and will remain in Boise.

The military has a total of eight C-130s in four states that are equipped with a large device called the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, or MAFFS. They can drop 3,000 gallons of water or fire retardant in less than five seconds.

Print Story
Read The Ranger...