Wind Technicians

A Rocky Mountain Power wind turbine is pictured June 28 near Medicine Bow. The state’s wind industry is poised to expand, particularity in an area between Casper and Rawlins. A yearly report released last week documents winds rapidly falling cost to develop in the U.S.

Alan Rogers, Star-Tribune

Have an event, trend or general energy happening you’d like to see in the Energy Journal newsletter? Send it to Star-Tribune energy reporter Heather Richards at heather.richards@trib.com. Sign up for the newsletter at www.trib.com/energyjournal.

Last week in numbers

Friday oil prices: West Texas Intermediate (WTI) $55.64 Brent (ICE) $62.07

Natural gas weekly averages: Henry Hub $2.76, Wyoming Pool $2.59, Opal $2.6

Baker Hughes rig count: U.S. 898, Wyoming 22

Quote of the week

“I don’t think there is anybody here that won’t walk into the fight with him.” -- Brian Rutledge, conservation policy and strategy advisor for the Audubon Society, on loyalty to Gov. Matt Mead if there is a showdown over sage grouse. 

Groups look to Mead on sage grouse conflict with Zinke

Some groups in Wyoming and the West are worried about the Interior Department's recent decision to open sage grouse management plans for review. And they are looking to Gov. Matt Mead to maintain the protections key to the bird's survival and to maintain the certainty the plans offer industry. 

Mead is a middle of the ground politician, and no less so when it comes to the plans and possible changes. He's not looking for a showdown or a battle. He wants to talk things out. But he, too, has voiced concerns. 

This issue has pitted the mild Wyoming governor against the brash will of Interior Secretary from Montana. Many in Wyoming hope that Mead's way wins out

A positive earning season for coal

Someday we may stop talking about the new normal for coal, but not yet. 

Companies in the PRB are still adjusting to an era without long-term contracts, with fewer workers and less production. But they made money in the last few months, some made a great deal of money.

And this is shaping up to be a better year than the last. 

Ramaco files suit over denied permit 

The coal company looking to start mining Sheridan County is suing over the state's decision not to issue a permit until environmental protections could be addressed.

Ramaco Carbon's CEO said the lawsuit was just part of the procedural process and the company would continue to work with the Department of Environmental Quality on repairing the deficiencies in Ramaco's mining plan. 

Landowners who contested the plan criticized the lawsuit, accusing the company of sending "mixed messages."

Industry seeks delay from Wyoming courts

Getting rid of the BLM's methane rule on venting and flaring has proved tricky for the Trump administration, for Congress and industry groups. But the latter are trying again to delay key compliance dates for the emissions-cutting rules in Wyoming court, arguing for the second time that operators shouldn't be forced to comply with costly rules that may not be in place for much longer. 

Trump admin walking away from self-bonding limits, Wyoming may not be

Self-bonding became a problem in Wyoming when a number of coal companies whose reclamation obligations were unsecured fell into bankruptcy. 

Due to the uncertainty of the coal market, the Obama administration started a rule making process that would make it more difficult to self-bond. That appears to be halted and the future of self-bonding is unclear. 

Follow energy reporter Heather Richards on Twitter @hroxaner

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Heather Richards writes about energy and the environment. A native of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, she moved to Wyoming in 2015 to cover natural resources and government in Buffalo. Heather joined the Star Tribune later that year.

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