energy

Open Spaces
5:27 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Will A Republican Senate Help Wyoming Energy Companies? Maybe

What would the nation’s energy policy look like if Republicans capture the Senate this November? Matt Laslo caught up with Wyoming lawmakers and energy analysts to find out the potential impact on the state’s energy sector if the GOP gains control of the upper chamber.

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Open Spaces
5:27 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

INSIDE ENERGY: The Campaign Trail: Climate Change Science In The Classroom

Natalia Macker, candidate for Wyoming's State House, door-knocks with her family near their home in Hoback Junction.
Credit Leigh Paterson

Climate change is a controversial topic in this election cycle, especially when it comes to teaching it in school.  So far only 12 states have adopted a new set of science education standards that include the human impacts on global warming  - and Wyoming is not one of them.

Natalia Macker, who is running to represent District 22 in the Wyoming State House, said something shocking during our recent interview:

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Open Spaces
3:46 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

INSIDE ENERGY: Climbing The Wind Energy Job Ladder

The wind energy training lab at Laramie County Community College has a variety of equipment, including these electrical trainers.
Credit Stephanie Joyce

Wind power is a growing part of the energy mix in the United States. And along with that growth, there are new job opportunities for people to install and repair the 30-story-tall wind turbines. But as Wyoming Public Radio’s Stephanie Joyce reports, a unique skill set is required -- the fearlessness of a pro rock climber along with the know-how of a skilled mechanic.

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Natural Resources & Energy
1:11 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

INSIDE ENERGY: Millions Of Tons Oil And Gas Waste: Hazardous Or Not?

Lyn Janssen in her garage posing with her anti-waste pit posters.
Credit David Martin Davies

The United States is on the verge of becoming the world’s top producer of oil – that’s according to the International Energy Agency.  But the oil boom is also leading to a boom in toxic oil field waste that can end up in open pit disposal sites.  There are increasing concerns over the dangers these disposal sites pose for air quality.

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News
11:54 am
Fri October 3, 2014

Winter Propane Outlook Better Than Last Year

Despite a record crop of corn in the Midwest this summer, there shouldn't be propane shortages this winter, according to industry observers.

Propane is used to dry out the corn crop, to prevent mold, among other things. Last year there was also a record crop of corn AND it was very wet, so harvesters used more propane than usual. Then, an especially harsh winter on the east coast increased demand for propane before the supply could rebound. That resulted in propane price spikes.

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Natural Resources & Energy
11:26 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Storage Could Be Key In Massive Wyoming Wind Project

High Plains Wind Farm, near McFadden, WY. It is relatively small, with just 66 turbines, and most of the electricity it generates is consumed in-state.
Credit Leigh Paterson

Four companies, including Wyoming-based Pathfinder Wind Energy, announced an eight billion dollar project this week that would eventually send Wyoming wind power to California. If built, the wind farm would be one of the largest in the country. 

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Natural Resources & Energy
9:41 am
Wed September 24, 2014

Coal Trucks Use Natural Gas To Cut Costs

Mine haul truck at Eagle Butte Mine near Gillette, WY.
Credit Leigh Paterson

Liquefied natural gas has long been used to power vehicles like buses and garbage trucks. But this week, one of America's largest coal companies, Alpha Natural Resources, announced a plan to build an LNG plant right next to a Gillette-area mine. That LNG will then be used to power the mine's massive coal haul trucks. 

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Natural Resources & Energy
3:25 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Delayed Trains Leave Utilities Short On Coal

The coal pile at the Comanche Generating Station outside of Pueblo, Colorado is normally over ten stories tall, but rail delays have shortened it considerably.
Credit Stephanie Joyce

The red smokestacks of the Comanche power plant outside of Pueblo, Colorado can be seen from miles away. The plant supplies power to communities along the Front Range, including Denver, and consumes hundreds of tons of coal an hour in the process. That coal arrives in mile-long trains from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin and is stockpiled at the plant. Normally, that pile would be a hundred feet tall, according to Xcel Energy fuel supply manager Craig Romer. But right now, it’s less than a third of that.

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Natural Resources & Energy
9:14 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Commission Postpones Decision On Drilling Buffer

Credit Wikimedia Commons

On Tuesday, Wyoming’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission got its first glimpse at a rule that would increase the buffer between houses and drilling. They postponed any final action on the so-called setback rule until next month, but there was plenty of discussion. Ben Storrow of the Casper Star-Tribune covered the Commission’s meeting and joined Wyoming Public Radio’s energy reporter, Stephanie Joyce, to talk about it.

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Natural Resources & Energy
11:40 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Forum Highlights Risks Of Owning Land Near Energy Development

Glenrock residents are invited to attend a forum next week that will address the impacts of the oil and gas industry on landowners. The two key speakers for the event will be a private property attorney and a Wyoming resident who was evacuated from her land because of an oil blowout. They will discuss the development of the oil industry around Glenrock, as well as risks to nearby landowners such as emissions, spills, evacuations, and the devaluing of property in the area.

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Natural Resources & Energy
4:09 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Powder River Basin Coal Producers To Increase Exports To Asia

View of Port Metro Vancouver from Canada Place, Vancouver BC Canada.
Credit Totororo.roro via Flickr Creative Commons

The Port of Vancouver approved plans Thursday to build a nearly $14 million-dollar terminal to ship coal from the Powder River Basin in Wyoming to Asian markets.

The decision came just days after state regulators in Oregon rejected a proposal for such a terminal amid opposition from fisherman and environmentalists.

Coal producers in the Powder River Basin have been looking to sell more coal to Asia, but these ambitions have been restricted by limited port capacity on the West Coast.

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Open Spaces
4:36 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Wyoming Looks To Exports For Energy Markets

Energy reporter Stephanie Joyce talks with Speaker of the House, Tom Lubnau, Shawn Reese, head of the Wyoming Business Council, and Roger Coupal who’s an economist at the University of Wyoming during the forum on coal and foreign exports.
Credit Leigh Paterson

In the last few years, the United States has undergone a radical transformation, from energy importer to energy exporter. Liquified natural gas terminals that were built to process natural gas from abroad are being converted for export. The first tanker full of unrefined US crude oil to leave our shores in decade set sail from Texas late last month. Coal companies are increasingly relying on foreign markets to pad their balance sheets. Wyoming Public Radio held a forum recently to discuss how increased foreign exports could affect the state.

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Natural Resources & Energy
4:18 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

State Approves Largest US Windfarm

The state Industrial Siting Commission gave the Power Company of Wyoming its blessing Wednesday to move ahead with plans to build the largest on-shore wind farm in the United States.

A thousand wind turbines would be erected in Carbon County if the Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind farm is built, covering about 2,000 acres of private and public lands. The turbines would produce enough power for a million homes.

But Kara Choquette, with the Power Company of Wyoming, said none of that power will be used in the state.

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Business
4:40 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Analysis Shows Wyoming Is Most Mining-Dependent Economy

Credit Energy Information Administration

According to a recent analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, mining occupied approximately 35 percent of Wyoming’s GDP in 2013, up from around 29 percent in 2003. That makes Wyoming the most mining-dependent state in the country.

The increase comes despite calls from the Wyoming Business Council to diversify the state’s industries.

Wyoming Principal Economist Jim Robinson said that after concentrating on energy for so long, growth in areas outside energy is slow.

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Natural Resources & Energy
10:27 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Conservationist Expresses Concern Over Sage Grouse Protections

The Western Energy Alliance released a report this week on sage grouse protection measures used by the oil and gas industry. Though the report claims that the industry is doing enough to protect grouse, a local conservationist disagrees.

Erik Molvar is a biologist and campaign director with WildEarth Guardians. He says that the Bureau of Land Management’s own research disputes the WEA findings.

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Natural Resources & Energy
10:57 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Wyoming Energy Program Wins National Award

Credit Jeremy Buckingham via Flickr

A Wyoming program that incentivizes businesses’ use of green energy has won a national innovation award.

The Wyoming Renewable Energy Credit program was named the 2014 Economic Development Award Recipient by Business Facilities Magazine, a national publication on business expansion.

The initiative is a partnership between the Powder River Energy Corporation and the Wyoming Business Council. It offers a discount on energy costs for Wyoming businesses interested in using green power.

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Open Spaces
6:05 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Wyoming Coal Versus The Courts

This week’s Supreme Court ruling on the EPA and its ability to regulate carbon is a mixed bag for Wyoming officials and energy producers. It sets the stakes even higher for Republicans in the state who are determined to derail a pending EPA rule on climate change.  

Like most all things here in Washington these days, the recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of the EPA is being read along party lines. But Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi says it’s not just partisanship. He says your opinion also hinges on where you’re reading.

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Open Spaces
5:55 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Wyoming Does Not Officially Track Health Impacts From Energy

As energy development increases across the country many states are starting to look into whether or not it would be a good idea to set up data bases to track possible health impacts directly attributed to energy development.  Colorado has developed an extensive system within its Department of Health to track and investigate health care impacts.  The State of Wyoming has not developed such a data base. Doctor Tracy Murphy is the state epidemiologist. He says the Department of Health rare fields calls of that nature.

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Open Spaces
4:58 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

INSIDE ENERGY: Crude Oil By Rail: On The Rise In Colorado And Everywhere

Workers are in the midst of clean-up efforts at the site of a train derailment and crude oil spill located south of Greeley, Colorado on May 12, 2014.
Credit Grace Hood / KUNC

The transport of crude oil by rail has spiked dramatically in recent years. From 2012 to 2013 the amount carried by the country's major freight railroads increased nearly 75 percent, according to the American Association of Railroads.  Even though crude oil accounted for just over 1 percent of overall rail traffic last year, there's growing public concern about the potential oil spills and other hazards.

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Open Spaces
5:28 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

EPA Carbon Regs Leave Wyoming Out In The Cold...Or Do They?

Coal coming from mines like the one pictured here in Gillete, Wyo., have been a significant source of revenue for the state.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

It didn't take long after the Obama administration unveiled new rules this week regulating carbon emissions from power plants for people to start naming winners and losers. Wyoming, the nation’s largest coal-producing state, and a huge coal consumer, was immediately billed as a loser.

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Natural Resources & Energy
12:28 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

How Will New EPA Rules Affect You? It's Complicated

A newly announced crackdown on carbon emissions raises lots of questions.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

The Obama administration said Monday that it intends to aggressively reduce carbon-dioxide emissions, or greenhouse gas pollution, produced in the United States. To boost these ambitions, the White House will partner with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enforce varying rules state-by-state to be carried out by power plants that produce the gases.

If successfully implemented, the regulations will deliver a 30 percent decrease in carbon emissions by 2030.

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Open Spaces
4:52 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

New Greenhouse Gas Regulations Target Power Plants

Jim Bridger coal fired power plant, Sweetwater County, Rock Springs Wyoming.
Credit www.wanderlustimages.com

The predicted effects of continuing to pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at current rates range from dramatic sea level rise to extreme weather to famine and drought. Power plants are among the largest carbon dioxide emitters, and on June 2, the Obama administration is scheduled to release new rules regulating those emissions. Utilities and trade groups are already warning those rules will have some dire consequences of their own.

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Open Spaces
4:13 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Shift To Carbon Use Marks New Frontier In Fight Against Climate Change

Scientists at the Western Research Institute in Laramie, Wyoming are looking for new ways to use carbon dioxide.
Stephanie Joyce

The Obama administration wants states to cutback on carbon emissions, but doing that has always been a thorny problem. While carbon is a byproduct of almost everything we do, capturing and storing it is expensive. For years, the goal has been to figure out how to make that process cheaper, but more recent efforts take a different approach, with the focus shifting from storing carbon to using it.

On a recent spring morning, Karen Wawrousek led a tour of her lab at the Western Research Institute, on the outskirts of Laramie.

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Natural Resources & Energy
11:18 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Industry Is Concerned About New EPA Standards

L-R: Steve Dietrich, Administrator, Air Quality Division, Department of Environmental Quality; Dan Byers, senior director for policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for 21st Century Energy ; Tim Rogers, environmental manager, Black Hills Corp
Credit Stephanie Joyce

New regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants are due out at the beginning of next month and industry is warning that they could have a devastating impact on the economy.
 
Speaking at the Wyoming Business Report’s Energy Summit in Casper, Dan Byers, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the cost of the regulations will likely significantly outweigh the climate benefits, pointing out that developing nations are emitting more than ever. Byers says he’s skeptical of how the Environmental Protection Agency will calculate cost-benefit.
 

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Natural Resources & Energy
9:31 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Wyoming Looks To Be An LNG Leader

A report says that Wyoming is well positioned to be a leader in the liquefied natural gas industry or LNG for what are called high horsepower industries.   

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Open Spaces
4:14 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Women Still Face Barriers For Oilfield Jobs

Melodie with Rig Elevators.
Credit Melodie Edwards

Some of the best paying jobs in Wyoming are in the oil and gas industry, but only ten percent are held by women.  Energy companies are trying to attract more women to fill open positions.  But women who do want to enter the field for the higher-paying jobs face a lot of barriers. Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards reports.

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Open Spaces
4:03 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Barrasso and GOP May Derail Bipartisan Energy Bill

Next week the U-S Senate is expected to have a debate on a bipartisan bill aimed at increasing energy efficiency in the U-S, but it could get derailed by an oil pipeline in the Midwest. Matt Laslo has the story from Washington on Wyoming Senator John Barrasso's role in the ongoing debate.

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Natural Resources & Energy
5:37 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Linc Energy Charged With Causing Environmental Harm In Australia

A company proposing to open an underground coal gasification demonstration site in Wright has been charged with environmental violations in Australia.  The charges could cost the company over two million dollars per violation.

Underground coal gasification involves igniting coal seams deep underground to produce syngas, which can then be processed into various liquid fuels or other chemicals.     

What exactly the environmental harm is has not yet been revealed.

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Natural Resources & Energy
5:38 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Groups Disagree On Implications Of New Federal Energy Production Data

Recently released data compiled by the federal government shows oil production on federal lands is up from last year, while natural gas production is down. Overall, the energy sector is booming, but industry analysts say companies are shifting from natural gas to wetter plays because of low natural gas prices. But even though production is up, some industry groups point out that it's increasing more quickly on private lands and blame the trend on slow permitting by the federal government.

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Natural Resources & Energy
10:17 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Oil And Gas Producer Fined For Late Production Reports

The federal Office of Natural Resources Revenue, or ONRR, has fined a Wyoming oil and gas producer $204,362 for not submitting timely production reports for its federal leases. Matrix Production Company was issued two notices of noncompliance before ONRR levied the penalties. ONRR spokesman, Patrick Etchart, says the production reports are used to keep companies in check.   

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