The Bureau of Land Management High Plains District Office is releasing the Wright Area Coal Leasing 10th Circuit Court Remand Draft Environmental Assessment for a 30-day public comment period. The BLM values input from stakeholders and the communities we serve, and we will consider input we receive during this comment period as we finalize the EA.
BLM Wyoming is preparing this EA in response to a 2017 District Court order requiring the BLM to revise its original environmental analysis of leasing coal in the North Hilight and South Hilight fields in Campbell County, Wyoming, in the Powder River Basin.
The BLM issued a decision in 2012 approving leasing in both areas, and subsequently leased the South Hilight Field. The North Hilight Field remains unleased. A 10th Circuit District Court decision determined that in its analysis, the BLM did not properly consider the decision’s impacts to carbon dioxide emissions, so the BLM is reviewing and revising its analysis to account for the market effect and carbon impacts of leasing the coal. Through its multiple-use mission, the BLM strives to support economic growth and responsible energy development in balance with other important uses of public lands.
The Draft EA is available for review at the following link: https://go.usa.gov/xntFJ. The BLM is accepting comments on the Draft EA for 30 days, through Sept. 1, 2018. Comments may be submitted by mail to Bureau of Land Management, High Plains District Office, Attn: Sarah Bucklin, 2987 Prospector Drive, Casper, WY 82604; or online at https://go.usa.gov/xntFJ.
All comments, including personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. The BLM will not consider anonymous comments.
Questions may be directed to Sarah Bucklin, Project Coordinator, at 307-261-7541.
(Via the Wyoming Taxpayers Association) The co-chairmen of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) released their quarterly update on Friday, July 27, highlighting the state's revenue collections by major source. The report provides a comparison of revenue collections received from July 1, 2017 through June 2018 to the annual projections made in the January 2018 Wyoming State Government Revenue Forecast.
The report indicates actual General Fund (GF) and Budget Reserve Account (BRA) revenue collections are exceeding the forecasted pace by $56.5 million or 4.4 percent through June 2018 ($315.7 million, or 24.7 percent, ahead when including capital gains and losses).
Sales and use taxes directed to the GF are ahead of the forecast pace by $27.1 million, or 6.1 percent. This is especially important since sales and use tax revenue is both the largest revenue category for the GF and a vital revenue source for cities, towns, and counties. Year-over-year statewide sales and use tax collections are up across the majority of the state, with only four counties (Crook, Goshen, Washakie, and Weston), as well as a handful of municipalities, recording year-over-year declines for FY 2018.
You can read the entire report here.
According to the Wyoming Department of Administration & Information, total taxable sales in Wyoming grew 17.9 percent to $3.9 billion in the first quarter of 2018, based on sales and use tax collections.
"Increases occurred in most economic industries, with the largest boost in mining (including oil & gas extraction),
which accounted for over one-third of the total increase. The mining sector experienced a year-over-year expansion of 45.1 percent due to increased sales of equipment, supplies, and services from new energy exploration and production activity (Wyoming does not impose sales tax on the production of minerals)."
The sales tax figures for this quarter are still 45.3% less than the first quarter of 2014, which was before the overall energy production downturn. Because more than 1/6 of collections come from mining, changes in sales and use tax collections have greatly fluctuated due to changes in mineral activities. Construction was an industry that experienced a decline, however.
"Manufacturing, wholesale trade, and machinery & equipment leasing, and other services sectors, which are closely related to mineral extraction, each increased around 20.0 percent. The public administration sector, which reflects automobile sales, showed an increase of 7.1 percent over the year. The retail trade industry, the largest in terms of sales tax contribution, grew 15.5 percent. Across the state, 21 out of 23 counties experienced increases in taxable sales, led by Converse County (64.2%). Two other counties, Sublette and Platte, demonstrated over 30.0 percent expansions, respectively. Counties with large numbers of mineral activities generally experienced faster growth due to increased drilling. "
You can read the entire report for the first quarter of 2018 by clicking here.
The Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division is proposing changes that will affect the Division’s rules, regulations and fee schedule. These proposals include modifications to the Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Rules, Regulations and Fee Schedules.The Department proposes to update Chapter 13 (Presumption of Disability for Certain Diseases), due to a new statute change.
This chapter addresses the authority and hearing requirements for firefighters applying for workers’ compensation benefits. In 2017, the Wyoming Legislature passed a new statute that provides specifics regarding firefighters seeking disability or compensation for job-related injuries or diseases.
The Workers Comp rule states that hearings for firefighters applying for workers' compensation benefits will proceed under the Wyoming Administrative Procedure Act. The statute that passed last year was very specific and detailed in the sorts of diseases that firefighters in Wyoming are covered for, and the procedures with which they can seek compensation, therefore the Workforce rules are very brief.
Nonetheless, the Department is seeking the public's input on these changes. The public comment period will end at close of business on August 15, 2018.
Via traditional mail, send comments to:
Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Division
1510 East Pershing Boulevard
Cheyenne, WY 82002
Or via email to: email@example.com.
The proposed rules may be downloaded, free of charge, by clicking here.
Mike Wandler, president of L&H Industrial, has a lot he can say about his family business. The company has grown from a six-man welding shop in Gillette, Wyoming to a global manufacturer of heavy industrial equipment with over 500 employees worldwide. Changing the direction of L&H from servicing just oil fields to manufacturing machinery is what catapulted the company in to international notoriety.
When NASA realized it needed to bring its shuttle transport system out of the 1960s, it was Wandler, L&H, and a subcontractor called Vencore that they turned to.
"The task that NASA tasked Vencore and us with is to increase the carrying capacity of that machine by six million pounds," Wandler told Forward Sheridan about the project last year.
The NASA Crawler Transporter is the biggest land vehicle on Earth, capable of hauling 20 million pounds of rocket to the launchpad. L&H's design increases carrying capacity by 30 percent, relying on the strength of the undercarriages they can build almost entirely in-house.
In his upcoming presentation brought to you by the Rockpile Museum and the Campbell County Public Library, Wandler will discuss L&H’s current work in the fields of mining, oil and gas, and railroads, and what the future might hold for these industries in Wyoming. This program is held in conjunction with the traveling Smithsonian exhibit, The Way We Worked, which is currently open at the Rockpile Museum.
"Past, Present, and Future" will take place July 12th at 7 p.m. at the Campbell County Public Library. You can see the full series event list here.
The Q2 MetLife & U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index (Index) released May 30 recorded an overall score of 68.7, up 2.4 points from the Q1 score of 66.3, driven in part by the strongest local economic outlook on record, a firmer hiring environment, and a stronger backdrop for investing. Two out of every three small business owners are optimistic about their company and the small business environment in the United States, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Metlife.
Electric bills represent the largest utility bill for everyday Americans, accounting for over 7% of monthly housing expenditures. However, not all of us pay the same amount for that power. In fact, there’s a pretty wide disparity.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute recently released its annual state-by-state comparison of electricity prices. Using the most recent full year of data available from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, their map gives insight into what electricity costs across the country.
While the energy mix available within a state will play a large role in state electricity prices, energy-limiting policies in some states act to artificially elevate prices, making the price of electricity much more burdensome for consumers and businesses.
"In 2017, we actually have the highest national average retail electricity price of the past four years: 10.54 cents/kWh," said GEI's Heath Knakmuhs.
According to the City's end of year report released January 19, requests for commercial construction permits were up 40% from 2016, though the valuation of those projects was down nearly $20 million from the year before. Construction was completed on Thunder Basin High School's Track and Field stadium, as well as new office buildings, gas stations and convenience stores, and an apartment complex that are all to be completed soon or were completed before the end of the fourth quarter in 2017.
The Thunder Basin High School Track & Field stadium was one of many projects completed in 2017 funded by the 1% Optional Sales Tax. Water and Sewer systems, sidewalks and street pavement, and additions like the Boxelder Extension and Gurley Overpass rehab were all major improvements to the City, funded by Penny Power. (You can view all the 1% projects here.)
Also in the City's development summary, unemployment in Wyoming -- and also Campbell County -- is down significantly from the year before, at 4.3%, though still above the national average of 3.9%. Apartment vacancies also continue to decrease, though the population for Campbell County is down to 47,190 from 48,803 in the previous year.
For a list of apartment complexes that are Chamber members, click here.
September 27, 2017
Dr. Mark Englert
Vice President, Gillette College
Mr. Phil Christopherson, CEO
Energy Capital Economic Development
Dear Dr. Englert and Mr. Christopherson:
The Campbell County Chamber of Commerce commends Gillette College and Energy Capital Economic Development on their partnership on the proposed ¼ cent optional tax to be put before the voters on November 7. Both entities are vital to the growth of our community in preparing workforce and diversification of our economy.
Gillette College has seen increased enrollment year over year and has responded in the best way possible. The infrastructure and course offerings are impressive given the funding limitations the College has recently faced. They have responded to the needs of the businesses in our region by providing training specific to those industries.
Energy Capital Economic Development has worked tirelessly with limited staff and resources to develop programs that will allow the expansion of the use of our coal resources readily available in our community. Diversification is key to our region and they have proven they are champions of this effort with such projects as the Advanced Carbon Products Innovation Center and the business incubator in the Sinclair Building.
The Chamber of Commerce values the partnerships we have developed over the years with Gillette College and Energy Capital Economic Development and we look forward to working together on future projects.
The Chamber recognizes the need for sustainable funding for both the College and Economic Development in our community. The vitality of these entities is critical to the success of Gillette and Campbell County. It is the hope of the Chamber of Commerce that voters will take the time to educate themselves on the issue and make an informed vote on November 7.
Chairman of the Board of Directors
What is the ¼ Penny?
The ¼ cent economic development tax would apply to taxable goods purchased within Campbell County. This tax does not apply to food, gasoline, home purchases, prescriptions, or rental payments.
Who pays for it?
Anyone who buys taxable goods in Campbell County contributes to the total collected. Guests to our county, tourists, and part-time residents will cover an estimated 20% of the tax burden.
Is it permanent?
The citizens of Campbell County would vote on the ¼ penny every four years, providing an additional measure of accountability.
How are the funds to be used?
Funds generated by this effort will support both Gillette College and Energy Capital Economic Development, in an effort to create economic stability and growth in Campbell County.
How much will the tax cost me?
A ¼ cent tax costs the consumer one penny for every four dollar purchase of taxable goods. A family of three, with an average income of $45,000, will pay an estimated $27 per year, or slightly more than 50 cents per week.
Here are a few examples of how the ¼ cent would impact purchases:
What are the current sales tax rates?
For Campbell County, 5% for a $1.00 purchase. Goshen County is the only county in the State currently utilizing the economic development sales tax, bringing their rate to 5.25%. Below please find the current sales tax rate in adjacent counties:
Crook County 6%
Converse County 5%
Johnson County 5%
Sheridan County 6%
Weston County 6%
What is the voting procedure?
The vote will take place on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Please check with Elections Office for polling locations. The polling locations are the same as 2016. You must be a Campbell County Resident to vote in the election.
How do I absentee or "early" vote?
Absentee ballots are available from September 22 to November 6. You may request an absentee ballot by phone, in writing, or in-person from the Elections Office. Absentee ballots must be mailed before November 7, as they will not be accepted after 7 p.m. on election day. On November 7, you will not be able to absentee vote instead you need to vote at your designated polling place.