Articles written by Zak Sonntag

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  • Tourism expected to strain workforce

    Zak Sonntag, Casper Star-Tribune Via Wyoming News Exchange|May 23, 2024

    CASPER - Ski weekends in the Snowy Range. Deer hunts in the Red Desert. Road trips through America's first national park. Travel and tourism is growing across Wyoming, and it's bringing a pretty penny to the state. Travelers spent $4.5 billion in Wyoming in 2023, according to a University of Wyoming report, vaulting the travel industry to the number two sector in the Cowboy State. But there's a problem: The industry's demand for skilled workers may not be met. "This sector is really forecasted to grow substantially. And the concern that this...

  • BLM sets sweeping overhaul of oil and gas rules

    Zak Sonntag, Casper Star-Tribune via The Wyoming News Exchange|Apr 18, 2024

    CASPER — After years of analysis, political wrangling and a contentious public comment period, the federal Bureau of Land Management officialized a sweeping overhaul of its oil and gas leasing program on Friday. The changes, which will affect how extractive industries operate on federal land, mark the first major update to the federal onshore oil and gas leasing rules since 1988, the first adjustment to bond rates since 1960 and the first increase in royalty rates in more than 100 years. The biggest — and most contested — change is the incre...

  • Stimulus bill clears committee

    Zak Sonntag|Feb 8, 2024

    CASPER — The Joint Minerals, Business & Economic Development Committee on Monday advanced a stimulus bill that could boost Wyoming’s enhanced oil recovery (EOR), a production method in which carbon dioxide is injected underground to help pressure up latent oil reserves in older fields. The legislation would pay carbon dioxide suppliers an extra $10 per tonne for CO2 for use in EOR, building on a federal tax policy known as 45Q, which pays producers $65 per tonne of carbon that’s captured and supplied for enhanced oil projects. By sweet...

  • Meeting of BLM head, Wyoming leaders on Rock Springs Resource Management Plan deemed 'productive'

    Zak Sonntag|Jan 18, 2024

    CASPER – Bureau of Land Management Director Tracy Stone-Manning last week met with Gov. Mark Gordon’s special task force on the Rock Springs Resource Management Plan in a closed door meeting that participants described as productive, releasing steam from the contentious issue and moving a multiyear-long effort closer to the finish line. At the meeting, the task force presented its final recommendations, detailed in a report published Wednesday, that include 24 “agreements in principle” highlighting a strong consensus on topics like big game co...

  • Wyoming's outdoor recreation numbers zoom into high gear

    Zak Sonntag|Jan 11, 2024

    CASPER — Wyoming’s outdoor recreation is a sector to be reckoned with. New numbers from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) show the outdoor recreation industry is comfortably outpacing the state’s overall economic growth. From 2021 to 2022 the outdoor recreation economy in Wyoming leaped by 26% to become a $2 billion industry. It’s boosted a diversity of businesses across the state — from local restaurants in Laramie, to R.V. dealers in Cheyenne, and gear shops in Cody — and it now accounts for more than 4% of the state’s GDP, the fourth hi...