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Coal Jobs

Terry Camphouse, a welder for mine contracting company sits for a portrait in the Lakeside Bar in Gillette during an afternoon in late March.

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Last week in numbers

Friday oil prices: West Texas Intermediate (WTI) $67.39 Brent (ICE) $72.58

Natural gas weekly averages: Henry Hub $2.72, Wyoming Pool $2.04, Opal $2.06

Baker Hughes rig count: U.S. 1008, Wyoming 29

Quote of the Week 

 “It almost doesn’t pay to work at a coal mine (anymore) other than the wage.” 

-- Rose Frieling, janitor at a Powder River Basin coal mine on how the opportunities in coal have changed since the downturn. 

The federal fatality report on Jaime Olivas, a coal miner who died last year at the Bridger Underground Mine contained a number of details not included in the state report, including interviews with miners who said large slabs of coal had fallen in the area before the roll that killed Olivas. 

The coal industry has improved since the downturn that knocked 1,000 miners off the payrolls, but for the people who work in coal, the industry has changed, the jobs have changed and the worries remain. 

To hear more of this story check out the Energy Journal Podcast this week where miners talk jobs and hopes.

PacifiCorp's wind plans in Wyoming moved forward on Thursday with a nod of approval from state regulators. Three other states will have to follow suit and right of ways and permits will need to be obtained, but this is a big step towards wind expansion in the state. 

The Sweetwater Solar Energy Project outside Green River looks to be the first utility-scale solar in Wyoming. The Bureau of Land Management released its environmental assessment last week. 

Drillers in Converse County had a blowout preventer fail last weekend, but no workers were injured.

Wyoming's economy is expanding thanks to oil and gas, state economists say. Still, improvements are compared to bust levels and Wyoming is not beyond recovery mode. 

Amid controversy over EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Sen. John Barrasso says Pruitt's achieved good things for Wyoming. Pruitt recently accompanied Wyoming senators on a tour of the Black Thunder mine outside Wright. 

Rocky Mountain Power will hold two public meetings on their planned transmission line and wind in Sweetwater and Carbon counties: the first at 2 p.m. April 24 at the Jefferson Memorial Community Center in Rawlins, the second at 4 p.m. April 25 at Rock Springs City Hall. The Pinedale Anticline annual meeting on air quality, water etc. will be held at 8:30 a.m., April 26 at the Bureau of Land Management's Pinedale Field Office. Also coming up in Pinedale, the Department of Environmental Quality is holding a end of season public meeting on ozone 6 p.m. on May 2 at the Hampton Inn. 


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Follow energy reporter Heather Richards on Twitter @hroxaner


Energy Reporter

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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