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Coal Mining Company

In this May 9, 2008, photo, a dragline crane operates at Westmoreland Coal Company's Absaloka mine northeast of Hardin, Montana, on the Crow Indian Reservation. Westmoreland CFO Gary Kohn has resigned after receiving $1.2 million in incentive bonuses.

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) $51.20, Brent (ICE) $60.28

Natural gas weekly averages: Henry Hub $4.39, Wyoming Pool $4.78, Opal $4.83

Baker Hughes rig count: U.S. 1,071, Wyoming 35 (The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's Nov. 12 rig count from Drillinginfo was 43.)

Quote of the Week

“They don’t know how to mine coal.”

Mike Dalpiaz, vice president of the UMWA District 22 that represents Kemmerer miners, regarding the Westmoreland bankruptcy

Bankruptcy news

Westmoreland's CFO announced his resignation last week, citing personal reasons. The company is still working through its Chapter 11 case down in Houston bankruptcy court, with miners fighting to hold on to their contracts when Westmoreland inevitably sells Kemmerer to the highest bidder. 

Coal port woes

The company proposing a port on the Washington coast has lost an important legal battle with the state. Washington state has blocked the port by holding up a water quality permit. The company sued, but the court held up the state's decision.

Wyoming gas prices drift

Gas prices are closely tied to the price of crude. But though oil prices have dropped since October, retail gas in Casper and other areas of Wyoming remains high compared to some other regions of the country. 

Pay-per-foot payback

A company, formerly headquartered in Wyoming, will pay workers for unpaid overtime in a settlement ordered by the Department of Labor. The settlement affects employees in Gillette, Cheyenne and Rock Springs. 

Lease sale slumps 

The BLM's speedy leasing process for oil and gas auctions was tripped up by a judge concerning leases in sage grouse habitat.

Bird depends on feds

Sage grouse plans have been revised by the Trump administration and those changes are good or bad, depending on who you talk to. In any case, the tightrope walk Wyoming has been on for years continues as the changes allow more state authority but also depend heavily on what the Bureau of Land Management does on the ground. 

Flash gas contained

Wyoming oil and gas regulators say the challenge of flash gas in the Wamsutter field is under control and new rules won't be needed at this time to address the flaring that was going on in the gas field. 

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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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