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Jim Bridger Power Plant

Hot gasses leftover from the process escape from the stacks in January 2014 at the Jim Bridger Power Plant near Rock Springs. 

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 trib.com/energyjournal

Last week in numbers

Friday oil prices: West Texas Intermediate (WTI) $45.59 , Brent (ICE) $53.82

Natural gas weekly averages: Henry Hub $3.69, Wyoming Pool $3.83, Opal $3.96

Baker Hughes rig count: U.S. 1,080, Wyoming 35 (The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's Dec. 10 rig count from Drillinginfo was 42.)

Quote of the Week

“You have the pull back and forth. You have the courts saying the rules should be stronger. You have industry pressuring the Trump administration to roll back the rules, and you have an administration that wants to roll it back.”

-- Lisa Evans, former EPA lawyer and now senior counsel for Earthjustice, regarding coal ash standards proposed for change by the Trump administration

Coal ash and water

Rocky Mountain Power disclosed to state regulators this month that it had found contaminants like arsenic and radium in the groundwater beneath coal ash disposal ponds at the Jim Bridger, Naughton and Dave Johnston power plants in Wyoming. 

Ungulates and oil

Current and former biologists from agencies like the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Forest Service have stepped into a debate over oil and gas leasing in the Hoback to Red Desert mule deer migration corridor. Like conservationists and hunter groups, the biologists say the Bureau of Land Management needs to put in place better guidelines for how and where development can take place before leasing parcels that overlap with the deer's route to oil and gas firms. 

Death count falls

In other news ...

Carbon County officials approved a permit for the 55-mile Wyoming leg of the TransWest Express transmission line Dec. 18.

Proposed to carry power from the Chokecherry Sierra Madre wind project to the southwest, the line will also travel through 37 miles of Sweetwater County, where the county planning and zoning permit was also recently approved. TransWest plans to submit an application for an Industrial Siting Permit from Wyoming in January. It is also beginning work on county-level permits in Colorado early next year. 

About 85 percent of land use rights have been obtained along the entire line, as it passes through Colorado, Utah and Nevada, according to the company. 

The company plans to start construction, pending permits, in 2020 for the first stage of the Wyoming terminal. 

Last week, Wyoming delegates penned a letter to President Donald Trump pleading support for the Keystone XL pipeline. Industry has been frustrated by the delay in the pipeline that would open up capacity between the Midwest, through South Dakota, Montana and Canada. 

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Follow energy reporter Heather Richards on Twitter @hroxaner

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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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