Protecting Wyoming’s Quality of Life Since 1973
OUR VISION AND GOALS
Powder River Basin Resource Council was founded by ranchers and townspeople concerned about the impacts of strip mining on landscapes, communities, and freshwater aquifers. For 48 years, we have advocated for the responsible development of Wyoming’s energy resources.
Using community organizing, connections with scientific, policy, and legal experts, and coalitions with other organizations, we wage effective campaigns to protect Wyoming’s air, land, and water quality and to promote sustainable agricultural practices and policies in the state.
OUR MISSION AND COMMITMENT
The preservation and enrichment of our agricultural heritage and rural lifestyle.
The conservation of our unique land, mineral, water, and clean air resources, consistent with responsible use of those resources to sustain the livelihood of present and future generations.
The education and empowerment of our citizens to raise a coherent voice in the decisions that will impact their environment and lifestyle.
Alyssa Wechsler-Duba, Executive Director
Alyssa joined Powder River in April of 2021, working out of the newly-opened Lander office, after a decade as an administrator and research scientist at the University of Wyoming. She was born and raised in Wyoming, splitting her time between Laramie in the summer and school years in Sheridan. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Wyoming, receiving a B.S. in Environment and Natural Resources and a B.S. in Zoology and Physiology. While at UW, she also helped found the ACRES student farm. Alyssa went on to receive her MPhil in Geography and the Environment while on a Marshall Scholarship at the University of Oxford in England. While in England, she spent time volunteering at intentional communities to learn from community members and involved government officials about how varying approaches to sustainability affect (food) policy and innovation. After her graduate degree, Alyssa returned to Laramie to work as project manager for numerous research efforts focused on food sovereignty and health, namely a program called Growing Resilience which assessed the impacts of home gardens for health on the Wind River Reservation. Alyssa is also an avid cyclist and certified mountain bike instructor, an enthusiastic and sometimes-successful gardener, and a part-time backyard chicken wrangler.
Stephanie Avey, Executive Administrator
Stephanie holds an Associate of Science in General Business from Sheridan College and credits towards a BS in business administration. Stephanie has been integral in handling Powder River’s day to day operations for over 20 years. She is responsible for all administrative operations including bookkeeping, federal reporting, maintaining our database, webpage and coordinates and organizes our annual meeting auction fundraiser. In her free time she enjoys fishing, hunting, and spending time with her family and riding through the Big Horn Mountains.
Monika Leininger, Organizer
In 2018, Monika Leininger joined Powder River Basin Resource Council as a Community Organizer out of Laramie. Monika grew up in the state of Wyoming and was raised in Casper and is a proud Natrona County High School graduate. In 2016, she graduated from the University of Wyoming with Bachelor degrees in Environment & Natural Resources and Social Work. Monika has had a long-time passion for issues of environmental injustice and making the connection between people, their environment, their health and well being. In 2017, Monika returned to University of Wyoming to get her Master’s Degree in Social Work and continue on to write her thesis about environmental injustice issues in Wyoming such as orphan sites around the state, groundwater contamination, air pollution, and waste dumping on the Wind River Reservation.
Monika loves to fish, hunt and hike. She is driven by serving people and continuing to represent the interests and values of the wonderful people of Wyoming. Monika works on campaigns related to oil and gas, economic transition, and food resilience from Lander.
Pennie Vance, Organizer
Pennie was raised on the family cattle ranch north of Ranchester where she lives today with her grandson, Wes. She returned to Powder River in January 2020 as the Ag & Local Foods Organizer, a position she held years ago before leaving in 2004 when she purchased The Book Shop in Sheridan. Prior to Powder River, she was a youth counselor at NSI, a program for at-risk youth, and then served as executive director for the NSI Montana program. Pennie also co-owned and operated a wilderness hunting and fishing outfitting business in the Bridger Teton Wilderness. She spent one summer in a wilderness camp, eight-hours on horseback from the nearest road , with her two teenage sons and two-year-old daughter. Pennie has a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science from University of Wyoming where she also studied art and public administration. She says that working for Powder River on split estate legislation, COOL and other challenges still relevant today, was one of her most rewarding jobs years ago and that she’s very excited about having the chance to return to one of Wyoming’s finest organizations.
Shannon Anderson, Staff Attorney/Organizer
Since joining the organization in 2007, Shannon has served as Powder River’s main staff working to address the impacts of coal mining and power plants and uranium mining on people and places in Wyoming. She also provides legal and organizing support on other energy issues, including oil and gas development. Shannon is a graduate of Grinnell College, and she received her J.D., cum laude, from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2005. She also has a certificate in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Lewis & Clark, and she is a member of the Wyoming Bar. Prior to joining the Resource Council, Shannon worked as a Community Economic Development Staff Attorney at the Public Law Center in Orange County, California. Shannon has extensive volunteer and professional experience in environmental advocacy and community organizing. Shannon lives in her hometown of Sheridan with her dog Scooby, and she spends her free-time enjoying the beauty and solace of Wyoming’s public lands.
Robin Englehart-Bagley, Communications & Development Director
Robin joined Powder River in January 2018 as Communications & Development Director. She provides communication services for the organization's issues and events as well as fundraising efforts. She is a graduate of Black Hills State University and received her Master’s from the University of South Dakota in Public Administration. Her professional background is in marketing and nonprofits; having spent several years working for Dakota Rural Action in her native South Dakota. She also ran her own social media marketing and communications business for a few years. An avid outdoorswoman, she spends as much time as possible in the mountains.
Michele Irwin, Southwest Wyoming Organizer
In August of 2019, Michele joined Powder River as a contract organizer to address coal transition in Kemmerer and Rock Springs. She joined the staff August 2020. Michele grew up on a small farm in south east Idaho, and earned a B.S. in Political Science from Idaho State University. She moved to Wyoming in 1989, and later earned a master’s in Public Administration from the University of Wyoming. She worked two decades in the extraction industries of South West Wyoming. She and her husband Rob raise Airedales and a small herd of bison along the Green River. She also teaches American and Wyoming Government for Western Wyoming Community College.
Michele is an outdoorswoman who loves to hunt, hike photograph, and garden. She is especially passionate about Wyoming’s wildlife, and was an early advocate against Wyoming’s first industrial solar project. Michele’s parents were both ecologists as well as modern day homesteaders. She is especially excited to promote responsible energy and diverse agriculture as essential components of an economic transition that leads to sustainable communities.
Lottie Mitchell, Organizer
Lottie Mitchell joined Powder River in 2021 as a Community Organizer out of the Lander office. She grew up in Santa Cruz, California and went to Stanford University, where she studied earth systems. During summers, she worked for state and national parks, first in Santa Cruz and then in Hawai'i and Yosemite. While working in parks, she became interested and invested in public land issues, particularly those surrounding access and indigenous sovereignty. She is a passionate environmental justice advocate, a slow-but-excited trail runner, and an aspiring rock climber.
Powder River Basin Resource Council believes that power comes from the people and that our voices are stronger when we stand together. Our Board Members provide critical expertise and experience to guide how our organization takes action. Members of the Board are elected for two-year terms by our members at our Annual Meeting. The Board meets six times a year, in various locations around Wyoming.
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Marcia Westkott, Chair – Sheridan
Joyce Evans, Vice-Chair – Fort Laramie
DJ Purcell, Secretary – Big Horn
Stacy Page, Treasurer – Sheridan
Wayne Lax – Cheyenne
Liza Cuthbert-Millett – Laramie/Newcastle
Cissy Dillon – Big Horn
Gillian Malone – Big Horn
David Romtvedt – Buffalo
Shiva Polefka – Big Horn
Bob LeResche - Sheridan
Lynne Huskinson - Gillette