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Posted inenergy, Featured, Policy

Pristine to Polluted: More drilling proposed near Pinedale despite ozone spikes

Despite significant reductions in the volume of emissions from the Pinedale Anticline and Jonah natural gas fields in recent years, the area remains prone to ozone spikes — a human health risk. Ozone spiked beyond federal thresholds 13 times this past winter, and triggered 10 state-issued alerts, warning people to remain indoors.

Posted inenergy, Featured, Policy

Back on Track: Wyoming coal rebounds amid market, regulatory uncertainty

Wyoming coal producers fared well during a tumultuous year for the industry nationwide, increasing output by an estimated 2.6 percent in 2010. It’s a modest recovery in production, after slipping 7.8 percent in 2009. Wyoming’s year-to-date coal production as of December 25 was 434 million tons, and the industry was on track to finish the year at 442.5 million tons, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data.

Posted inFeatured, Special Reports

WATER FOR OIL: Wyoming farmers earn cash diverting irrigation water to oil rigs

Dozens of landowners are voluntarily forgoing crop irrigation to divert their appropriated water to drilling companies instead. Rather than yield a few hundred dollars per acre-foot of water to grow and harvest hay, an irrigator may earn a few thousand dollars on that same acre-foot of water by selling it to drillers in the Niobrara oil play. But what happens if the oil industry is successful in tapping the Niobrara? Could crop irrigators and industry alike become dependent on this business relationship over five or 10 years of drilling, shifting the declining resource of water away from agriculture to an industrial use?

Posted inFeatured, People

WyoFile Names New Editors

WyoFile has hired two prominent state journalists — Dustin Bleizeffer as Editor-in-Chief and Ruffin Prevost as Managing Editor — to lead expanded news coverage of Wyoming people, places and policy, WyoFile board chair Anne MacKinnon announced Tuesday.

“Dustin and Ruffin are two of Wyoming’s top reporters, and they bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise on critical issues facing the state,” said MacKinnon, a former editor-in-chief of the Casper Star-Tribune. “We view this as an important step toward enhancing WyoFile as a source of in-depth information about Wyoming for our online readers and quality content for use by all Wyoming media.”

Posted inenergy, Featured, Policy

Coal industry seeks exports to Asia while U.S. market falters

America’s No. 2 coal-producer, Arch Coal Inc., announced last week that it paid $25 million to acquire 38 percent interest in Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview, LLC, one of dozens of companies scrambling to boost coal export capacity from the West Coast to customers in Asia.

With the Millennium Bulk deal, Arch joins Peabody Energy Corp. — both major producers of Powder River Basin coal in Wyoming — in banking on the Asian coal market for growth. Wyoming coal producers Peabody Energy, Arch Coal, Cloud Peak Energy and railroads Union Pacific and BNSF Railway have all expressed interest in boosting coal exports from the West Coast.