A pickup parked along Kemmerer's central square on Feb. 11. While Kemmerer and its sister community Diamondville are quiet, out-of-the-way towns, the coal mine and PacifiCorp's Naughton Power Plant provide a solid base of dependable, good-paying jobs.

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) $55.80 Brent (ICE) 65.07

Natural gas weekly averages: Henry Hub $2.85, Wyoming Pool $4.99, Opal $5.04

Baker Hughes rig count: U.S. 1,038 Wyoming 36 

Quote of the Week

“We have to take care of ourselves. We can't just lay down and die."

-- Diamondville Mayor Mark Langley, considering a purchase of the local power plant or coal mine to keep them from closing.

Buying power plants

In the third installment of a series about the Westmoreland bankruptcy, officials mull bold ideas in the face of a utility's aging coal-fired power plant. 

The bankruptcy that's shaken workers of the Kemmerer mine is not the only trouble facing the small communities in Lincoln County that depend on coal. The Naughton power plant that buys coal from Kemmerer is also facing long-term uncertainty. 

The utility that owns Naughton is currently trying to figure out a rapidly changing landscape, with driving costs for wind energy and increasing criticism of coal power. Into that debate, a bill that awaits Gov. Mark Gordon's signature would make shutting down a coal plant in Wyoming more difficult by trying to force utilities like Rocky Mountain Power to sell rather than retire them. 

Locals are all for it, frustrated by the potential changes and ready to bet big on new, even radical, ideas to save their coal plant. 

Also in Westmoreland news, the United Mine Workers of America are working on a contract with Virginia businessman Tom Clarke. They are also hoping for more than the $6 million mandated by a judge to cover short-term costs of retiree health care. 

A spokesman for the union said the $6 million wouldn't last the year. 

EOG's Powder mentions

The fracker EOG Resources held an earning call last week in which it again spoke highly of Wyoming Powder River Basin

Oil and gas regulations

Following decisions made on a number of oil and gas bills proposed during the legislative session, leaders of the minerals committees in both houses pledged to modernize Wyoming statutes during the interim.

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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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