energy

Several environmental groups are urging the BLM to place environmental restrictions on a massive natural gas development that’s been proposed for south-central Wyoming.

The Continental Divide-Creston project would include about 9,000 new wells on public and private land near Wamsutter. That’s nearly three times as many wells as in the Jonah Field.

Bruce Pendery with the Wyoming Outdoor Council says air quality could suffer as a result.

A new report, released by several stakeholders including the Wyoming Business Council, the University of Wyoming, and the Idaho National Laboratory, says there’s potential to add value to the state’s abundant energy resources. Ideas to generate value include a carbon-conversion industry to produce synthetic transportation fuels, and diversifying power generation in the state to include more wind and nuclear energy.

Wyoming Business Council CEO Bob Jensen says the report looks at both the near and distant future.

mywindpowersystem.com

A group of University of Wyoming researchers received $508,000 from NASA to study aerodynamics and wind resistance at Wyoming’s Supercomputing Center.

The U.S. Department of Energy reports that Wyoming has one of the highest capacities for wind power production in the country. But University of Wyoming Mathematics Professor Stefan Heinz says most wind farms aren’t arranged as efficiently as they could be. He says the wake of one turbine often disrupts the turbines around it, reducing efficiency.

The Western Organization of Resource Councils says inspections of active oil and gas wells in the West are falling behind the industry’s quick growth. The new report says the number of active oil and gas wells in Wyoming has risen from about 16,400 in 1999 to more than 37,000 in 2011. The number of inspectors increased from 6 to 12 in the same time period. Each inspector was responsible for more than 3,000 wells in 2011. 

Powder River Basin Resource Council Board Chairman John Fenton says that spreads each inspector thin.

The State Senate has given initial approval to a plan to develop an energy and natural resource curriculum for Wyoming schools.  The program will be based on a current agriculture curriculum that helps students learn more about that industry.   Glenrock Senator Jim Anderson, a retired school teacher, says the curriculum will help students learn more about the biggest industry in the state.  But some Senators are uncomfortable with the state dictating an industry curriculum for schools.  Anderson pointed out that districts only have to adopt the program if they want to.

Rep. Lummis appointed to US House Subcommittee on Energy

Jan 11, 2013

Wyoming’s Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis has been appointed to chair the U.S. House of Representatives’ Science Subcommittee on Energy. The subcommittee will oversee energy research, development and demonstration projects. Lummis spoke with Rebecca Martinez from the Capitol press room in Cheyenne this week.

Preliminary numbers released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicate Wyoming mines produced about 9 percent less coal in 2012 than in 2011.

Mines in the state produced an estimated 398 million tons in 2012, compared to 436 million tons in 2011. Nationwide, coal production dropped about 7 percent.

Industry officials say the decrease in production is due to sagging natural gas prices, a mild winter and stricter regulations on coal-burning power plants.

Energy Innovation Center To Open

Dec 5, 2012

The University of Wyoming’s long awaited Energy Innovation Center opens in January. 

The 25-point-four million dollar facility features some high tech capabilities that U-W Energy School Director Mark Northam says should allow Wyoming to be a leader in energy research.  

It will have links to high speed computers, such as the NCAR Supercomputer and will allow for outside research.

“The building will also have a distance collaboration laboratory that will be useful for researchers and other professionals who are working with people in other loca

During the campaign season, many fossil fuel developers dreaded the idea of a second term for President Obama.

Bruce Hinchey of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming says during the last four years, it’s been harder to secure oil and gas leases on federal land, get drilling permits, and have environmental impact statements approved.

But Bob Spencer of the Equality State Policy Center says it’s prudent for the administration to strike a balance between mineral production and preserving land for wildlife and public enjoyment.

Many fossil fuel developers campaigned against President Obama this election season, fearing the effect of regulations and other restrictions on their industry, while environmental activists called for four more years. Now that Mr. Obama has won a second term, Wyoming Public Radio’s Rebecca Martinez spoke with some stakeholders about what that could mean for the energy industry in Wyoming.

Tribal Energy Development Act Goes to Senate

Sep 21, 2012

The Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2012 have passed the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. The Act aims to simplify and expedite the process of leasing for energy development on tribal land. U.S. Senator John Barrasso introduced it last October.  

Gov. Matt Mead says it’s taking longer than he expected to develop an energy policy for Wyoming.

Mead wanted to have a draft energy policy finished this summer, but he says it’s taking a long time to gather input from all interested parties, including conservation groups, ag groups and the energy industry. Still, he says the finished product will be worth the wait.

“Rather than being reactive and engaging in lawsuits and court battles, let’s work together to find a consensus on where we should go with energy development in the state,” the governor said.

The Republican Governors Association has released an “Energy Blueprint for America,” which outlines recommendations for a federal energy policy.

The document calls for developing new energy partnerships with Canada and Mexico, approving the Keystone XL oil Pipeline, reducing EPA regulations regarding oil and gas production, and making it easier to use public lands for energy development.

Gov. Matt Mead says those measures would help encourage energy production of all kinds.

U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis and Democrat Chris Henrichsen both ran unopposed in today’s primaries, and they’ll be facing each other in November.

The two candidates say they have different approaches to working with their colleagues across the aisle.

Lummis says ending the stalemate in Congress is simple.

The former Undersecretary at the Department of Energy says new environmental guidelines are undermining jobs and the country’s energy security. 

Bud Albright served under the George W. Bush administration and is speaking out against the Environmental Protection Agency, which he says is unfairly driving the energy marketplace by over regulating.  

“They have become the lord overseer of the markets, of what America will develop, how we will develop them and it has thoroughly disadvantaged America…not just in the world market, but in our own economies. ”

A new study from the group Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development says that rural communities depend on adjacent land for their economic health.  That can either be land for energy development or the outdoors.  The report finds that ten percent of the jobs in Cody are connected to spending on fishing, hunting and wildlife.  But impact from nearby energy development land can also help the local economy.  But Trout Unlimited’ s Brad Powell says there should be a balance between the two.

A recent UW masters student named Mark Pedri is producing a documentary aimed at evaluating which types of energy production are best, in terms of cost, environmental impact and other factors.

Pedri visited energy-producing facilities across Wyoming, including coal-fired power plants, wind farms, oil rigs and solar installations, and interviewed workers and managers. He traveled by bicycle, to make the project more exciting for himself and for his audience.

UW hosts energy forum

Apr 16, 2012

Four faculty members from the University of Wyoming participated in a forum last night to discuss how new technologies could contribute to cleaner, more diversified energy production. They discussed carbon sequestration, natural gas, nuclear energy and renewable energy.  Geology professor Carrick Eggleston, who participated in the forum, said there isn’t going to be just one solution. "There is no one technology that is going to solve all of our problems," Eggleston said.

Earthjustice wants federal regs like Wyoming's

Apr 13, 2012

    The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release some new air pollution regulations surrounding natural gas development.  Earthjustice Attorney Robin Cooley saysit’s been 25 years since the E-P-A last evaluated standards and the new ones are overdue.  She says the industry is much different than it used to be.

"We know that the current rules are inadequate. They don't protect public health. The pollution problems are mounting by the day and expanding into new areas."

The Majority Floor Leader of the Wyoming House of Representatives says that for the first time, lawmakers will need to think about the world around them when they vote on energy issues. 

Gillette Republican Tom Lubnau says that markets are suddenly available for Wyoming energy and technology is a big part of this. 

Lubnau says he was pleased Governor Mead mentioned thinking beyond our borders in his state of the state message, because he believes that needs to be a focus.

The Bridger-Teton National Forest has decided to conduct an additional environmental study and solicit more comments on a proposal to drill in the Upper Hoback Basin of western Wyoming.  The Forest Service made the decision after considering over 60-thousand comments on the proposal by Houston based Plains Exploration and Production Company.  The company wants to drill 136 wells in the area.  The Forest Service will be developing a new alternative for drilling in the area.  Dan Smitherman of the group Citizens for the Wyoming Range is thrilled with the move and says he hopes this will lead

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