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Foreign trade zone expands

The foreign trade zone at Casper/Natrona International will triple in size under a plan approved by the federal Foreign Trade Zones Board.

The trade zone site, which consists of land owned by Bishop Industrial Ranch LLC, Casper Logistics Hub and the airport, will increase in size for 492 acres to about 1,476 acres.

Airport Manager Glenn Januska compared the Casper Logistics Hub and Casper Transloading (CTRAN) to a shopping center anchor store that could help jump-start activity at the dormant zone.

"I almost look at the transload facility as the development that is going to really invigorate the trade zone itself," he said.

The transload facility is managed by CTRAN and operated by the Bighorn Divide & Wyoming Railroad. It is located next to the BNSF Railway and is capable of handling a variety of products shipped by rail.

The trade zone provides certain tax benefits to companies involved in international commerce of goods that pass through or are manufactured or stored at the trade zone.

Since the transload facility is now part of the trade zone, potential costs associated moving materials into the trade zone then out again when they are ready to ship have been eliminated, Januska said.

Marketing efforts will plug the trade zone as a package, including both transload and airport services, he added.

WLC acquires Rawlins firm

WLC Engineering, Surveying and Planning of Casper has acquired Robert Jack Smith & Associates, a surveying consulting firm based in Rawlins.

WLC intends to retain current staffing in Rawlins and provide additional services including civil and geotechnical engineering to area clients, according to a press release.

The acquisition means WLC will become the only civil engineering firm with offices in Rawlins.

More oats in the offing

More acres in northern Wyoming may be planted to oats over the next few summers after a change in owners of barley facilities in Ralston and Powell.

Riverland Ag is taking over ownership of the barley facilities that have been operated by Anheuser Busch.

Officials with Riverland Ag say the company is interested in expanding the oats crop in the area but will continue handling barley at the Wyoming facilities. In fact, the company is looking at expanding the barley receiving station at Ralston.

State approves SkyWest package

The Wyoming Aeronautics Division has approved paying about $667,500 to keep SkyWest Airlines flying at the Gillette-Campbell County Airport until January.

SkyWest is demanding a higher subsidy this year or it could pull its flights from Gillette next year.

Last year, the state Aeronautics Division and Campbell County paid $915,000 to subsidize SkyWest flights to Salt Lake City. The state paid 78 percent of that while the county paid 22 percent.

SkyWest wanted $1.95 million a year for its Gillette service. After negotiations, the state agreed to pay its share for six months of $667,500.

The Campbell County Commission will consider its nearly $196,000 share this week.

Delta drops air fares

Wyoming travelers who book Delta Airlines flights to any of the top western destinations can expect fares competitive with those at nearby out-of-state airports if they make their reservations at least 21 days before departure.

The new lower fares are now in effect for flights out of the Casper, Cody, Gillette and Rock Springs airports, according to a press release.

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Representatives of WYDOT’s Aeronautics Division met with Delta Airlines officials in Atlanta to discuss lowering fares to capture a greater share of the Wyoming leisure traveler market. At the previous fare levels, the airline was losing much of that market because the cost of flying out of Wyoming airports was cost prohibitive for most families.

Under the new fares, travelers at the four Wyoming airports will see prices comparable to larger hub airports in neighboring states.

True pipeline obtains OK

A new oil pipeline through three western North Dakota counties will help deliver crude to at least three regional markets and will reduce truck traffic on the region's roads, regulators said last week.

North Dakota's Public Service Commission endorsed a route for the 12-inch pipeline, which will stretch for 77 miles through Billings, Dunn and McKenzie counties. Bridger Pipeline LLC hopes to begin construction soon and finish by next summer on the $29 million project.

The company said the pipeline will be capable of carrying at least 60,000 barrels of oil daily. It should reduce traffic on area roads by about 300 truckloads each day, the company said.

Bridger is part of the True Cos., based in Casper. Kevin Cramer, chairman of North Dakota's Public Service Commission, said the pipeline may be able to link with the proposed Keystone XL line, which is being built to transport oil sands production in Alberta, Canada, to refineries in Oklahoma and Texas.

Wyoming State Bar selects president

Brian Hultman, a Jackson attorney, has been elected president of the Wyoming State Bar.

The results were announced at a recent meeting in Laramie.

Hultman succeeds Bill Hiser of Laramie.

Cheyenne job fairs slated

The Cheyenne Workforce Center will host a job fair at the Cheyenne Holiday Inn on Tuesday. The event is free and open to the public.

The day will include several workshops and two job fairs. The first fair is strictly for veterans and runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The general job fair for all job seekers will run from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. More than 25 employers who are looking for workers are expected.

For more information, contact Denise Rodriguez at 307-777-3715, Brenda DePue at 307-777-3759 or Catherine Redlich at 307-777-3711.

Wyo loses two rigs

The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. dropped by 11 last week to 1,650.

Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. said Friday that 967 rigs were exploring for natural gas and 673 for oil. Ten were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago last week, the rig count stood at 1,017.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas lost 12 rigs, Louisiana dropped by four, while New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Wyoming each lost two rigs. North Dakota lost one rig. Alaska, Arkansas, California and Colorado each gained two rigs. Oklahoma and West Virginia remained unchanged.

The rig count tally peaked at 4,530 in 1981, during the height of the oil boom. The industry posted a record low of 488 in 1999.

Laramie grants Wal-Mart liquor license

The Laramie City Council has approved transferring a liquor license to the Wal-Mart store.

The 6-2 vote last week came despite opposition from two city councilors and several members of the public.

The Laramie Boomerang reports that some worried a Wal-Mart liquor store could force local liquor stores out of business.

Several councilors said they approved the liquor license transfer because it was a legal business transaction.

According to a Wal-Mart representative, the liquor store will not be placed in Wal-Mart until the store undergoes a complete remodel, which is scheduled for next year.

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