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Wyoming News Briefs

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Gov. Matt Mead says it’s clear that Wyoming would take a big financial hit if Congress fails to reach a deficit-reduction agreement to avert the end-of-year “fiscal cliff.” With federal dollars helping to support all sorts of state government operations, Mead says he hasn’t tried to total up what the state stands to lose. Failure to reach agreement would see income taxes rise next year together with deep cuts in federal spending on defense and other programs.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Native American military veterans will be able to access health care closer to home thanks to an agreement between the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and the Indian Health Service. The agreement allows for Veterans Affairs to reimburse IHS for direct health care services provided to eligible American Indian and Alaska Native veterans. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius first announced plans for the new partnership during a tribal summit.

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A new study estimates that ecosystems in the western U.S. absorb and contain nearly 100 million tons of atmospheric carbon each year. The Interior Department says that’s nearly 5 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The scientists studied ecosystems covering just over 1 million square miles including the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada Mountains, Mojave and Sonoran deserts, Great Basin, and Pacific Northwest forests.

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — When you think of rappers, you probably don’t think of Alan Simpson. But the former Wyoming Senator is dancing “Gangnam Style” to urge younger Americans to help fix the national debt. The 81-year-old Simpson gallops and lassoes the air in the online video for The Can Kicks Back campaign, pulling off the dance move made popular in a music video that has been viewed nearly a billion times on YouTube.

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