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Wyo. senators seek to restore funding for environmental board


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Wyo. senators seek to restore funding for environmental board

The Wyoming Senate's proposed budget would restore funding for an environmental review board that was targeted by the House for cuts.

House lawmakers did not allocate any money for the state's Environmental Quality Council in the second year of the two-year budget cycle, saying the council's August 2017 decision to deny a coal mining permit to a Ramaco Carbon LLC subsidiary showed it had lost its way.

Sen. Cale Case criticized the decision during a hearing Feb. 23, where the Senate ultimately voted 17-12 to restore the second-year funding.

"There was a decision at the council last fall that made some people angry, and the anger bubbled up into the Appropriations Committee. ... That is probably not the best way to handle an appellate agency that has such an important role in our state," the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune quoted him as saying.

Defending the cut, fellow Republican Sen. Ogden Driskill said the decision was not an attempt to kill the independent board but to improve it.

"It will not go away," he was quoted as saying. "It's just a matter of how it is funded."

The House and Senate's opposing versions of the budget bill will be reconciled in conference committee.