Energy and Environment | KUNR

Energy and Environment

After a long hiatus, a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s 2017 decision to rescind regulations on hydraulic fracturing on public lands is moving forward. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California is scheduled to hear oral arguments in January after prominent conservation groups, including the Sierra Club, filed suit in 2018.

On a recent sunny afternoon, I'm loading up my Subaru before heading out to the Snowy Range Mountains in southern Wyoming to cut down a Christmas tree.

Heat pumps offer one of the best ways to cut carbon in homes and commercial buildings, energy and climate experts say in a new report.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a new director. The Senate on Thursday confirmed Aurelia Skipwith, making her the first African American to lead the agency.

As Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso made clear to fellow lawmakers on Thursday, he believes Skipwith is well qualified.

Researchers from a number of states, including Idaho, Colorado and Nevada, have found that grazing does not help get rid of cheatgrass, a highly flammable weed. 

People are around a table decorating clothing.
Lucia Starbuck

Local high school students involved with the Nevada Youth Climate Strike recently held an event in Reno, where they taught people how to recycle and transform old clothes. KUNR’s Lucia Starbuck profiles the founder of this group, who will be a first time voter in the 2020 election.

The Jim Bridger coal plant in Wyoming
Wyoming Public Media

A new report shows that a majority of states, including three in the Mountain West, have cut funding for environmental agencies, at a time when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also seen its budget slashed.

The Trump administration has reauthorized the use of "cyanide bombs," a controversial device that kills animals suspected of preying on livestock and threatened species.

A picture of the European Starling, a prevalent invasive species found in national parks throughout the country and the Mountain West.
Lee Karney / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Invasive animals are posing a major threat to national parks throughout the country, according to a new paper published in the journal Biological Invasions.

Ashley Dayer, the study’s lead author, says her team received data from 81% of national parks and found there are more than 300 invasive animal species across the National Park Service system.

A nonprofit conservation group is launching what it says is one of the largest lawsuits ever brought under the Endangered Species Act. 

Map shows the odds of reaching 100% of normal precipitation by the end of the water year based on how much precipitation has been observed so far this water year and how much has historically been observed during the remaining months in the water year.
Center For Western Weather and Water Extremes / Scripps Institution of Oceanography

It’s been one of the driest starts to the water year across parts of the Mountain West, but that doesn’t mean there’s cause for alarm just yet.

U.S. Forest Service

Agriculture, forestry and other land uses are responsible for about a quarter of human-caused greenhouse gases. That “land sector” holds huge potential to cultivate climate solutions, too, according to a new study.

Bree Zender / KUNR Public Radio

With this past winter storm, prescribed burn season is ramping up in Northern Nevada and throughout the Sierra. 

What's In The Water?

Nov 14, 2019
A pit lake covers the former Anaconda Copper Mine in Yerington.
Paul Boger / KUNR Public Radio

In the U.S., nearly a quarter of the freshwater we use comes from underground aquifers. That's nearly 80 billion gallons of groundwater every day. As climate change and drought become more prevalent, so does our dependence on groundwater, but what happens when it becomes polluted?

Climate Central

As an increasing number of states focus on renewable energy, batteries are becoming more of a necessity. And according to a new report, battery costs are dropping—but not enough to compete with fossil fuels.

The report comes from Climate Central, a nonprofit organization that studies the impacts of climate change. In it, the authors state that batteries and renewable energy sources are becoming cheaper by the year.

A new draft proposal by the Trump administration may throw both current and future clean air and water laws into question.

Wildfire smoke crosses the U.S. on jetstream
NASA

For much of the last decade, air pollution was decreasing. But it’s now on the rise, particularly in the West.

That’s according to a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It found that between 2016 and 2018, the levels of fine particulate matter increased 11.5% in the West. California's been impacted the most.

State of Colorado

As the Trump administration begins the process of withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, three states in the Mountain West pledge to follow the tenets of the accord anyway.

Ed Franklin shows one participant how to take a reading on a solar panel, during the Native Waters on Arid Lands 2019 Tribal Summit in Reno, Nev.
DRI / Native Waters on Arid Lands

The climate crisis is threatening traditional ways of life throughout Indian Country. Now, tribal leaders and scientists are working together to help reservations become more climate resilient.

This story was supported by the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

The Promise And Peril Of Environmental Philanthropy | A Privately-Funded Park For The People | Save The Cowboy, Stop The American Prairie Reserve | A Hunter’s Paradise | The Buffalo Is A Symbol of God

The northern Great Plains aren’t much to look at. It’s the drab, boring part of a cross-country interstate drive between Seattle and Chicago. 

No trees in sight. No water. But Sean Gerrity, founder of American Prairie Reserve, has always seen something more out here. 

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