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Photo courtesy of Rick and Susie Graetz
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
produced daily by Shellie Nelson

Editor's Notes...

West map In the Rockies today, the Denver Post has analyzed reports of spills from oil and gas operations in Colorado since May, and found that 177 such spills have occurred, roughly two a day.

The number of such spills so far this year has already outpaced the entire number for 2013, and the Post's review also found that relaying information about spills from energy companies and the government to the public also lagged.

The Greeley Tribune delves into how an oil train derailment in May underscored the importance of communities in Northern Colorado to be prepared to handle future such events, given the marked increase of shipping oil by rail.

In Alberta, getting oil out of aging oilfields got a financial lift from the province, as Alberta Energy made retroactive changes to its royalty fee structure that will make enhanced oil recovery projects more economically feasible.

The Alberta Utilities Commission is being criticized for its decision not to hold public hearings on Capital Power's proposal to add two natural-gas power plants near Wabamun.

In Utah, at the Public Service Commission's first day of a hearing on Rocky Mountain Power's proposed "net-metering" fee for small solar-power producers elicited expert testimony on behalf of the utility that such power producers provide no substantial benefit or support to the utility.

Also in Utah, Proterra brought its $825,000 electric bus to the Beehive State to try to sell the second-generation model which can recharge in 10 minutes and run a full day on that charge to Utah Transit Authority and Park City Transit officials.

Rockies today

BLM begins only wild-horse roundup in Utah this year
The weather was perfect on Monday as the Bureau of Land Management began to remove 140 wild horses from Utah state lands in the Blawn Wash area of the Wah Wah Mountains.
Salt Lake Tribune; July 29

Proterra puts fast-charging bus through its paces in Utah
On Monday, Utah Transit Authority and Park City Transit officials got a look at Proterra's second-generation electric bus that offers fast-charging technology that allows day-long operation without charging, and comes at a cost of $825,000--more than double the cost of a $400,000 diesel bus and nearly so for a $425,000 compressed natural gas, but the new electric bus gets nearly quadruple the mileage--and saves about 180,000 pounds of greenhouse-gas emissions.
Salt Lake Tribune; July 29

Utility's experts tell Utah PSC solar-power producers a 'burden'
On the first day of the Utah Public Service Commission's hearing on Rocky Mountain Power's request to charge solar-power producers who feed excess electricity back into the grid, experts testifying on behalf of the utility said that such small producers of power don't help the utility much in either the production of power or reduce demand on its transmission grid.
Salt Lake Tribune; July 29

Analysis: Oil, gas spills in Colorado happening two times a day
The Denver Post's analysis of reporting records maintained by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission found that oil and gas companies reported 177 spills of liquids from their operations in the state, some of which reached groundwater and one into a river, which is more than reported in all of 2013.
Denver Post; July 29

Northern Colorado officials say May oil train derailment a 'wake-up call'
The May 9 train derailment near LaSalle that spilled nearly 8,000 gallons of crude oil that came close to reaching the South Platte River served as a wake-up call to community officials in Northern Colorado.
Greeley Tribune; July 26

Alberta Energy offers royalty relief for enhanced oil recovery efforts
Changes made to Alberta Energy's royalty program are designed to make enhanced oil recovery work in the province's aging oil fields more economically feasible, and the relief program is retroactive to the first of this year.
Calgary Herald; July 29

EPA hearing in Colorado on greenhouse gas plan begins today
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's two-day hearing in Denver on new proposed rules to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 will focus on how those regulations will affect Colorado, which is further along in the process to cut carbon-dioxide emissions than other states.
Boulder Daily Camera (Denver Post); July 26

Alberta Utilities Commission: No public hearing needed on Wabamun plants
Area landowners and environmental groups are questioning the decision in June from the Alberta Utilities Commission that Capital Power's proposal to add two natural-gas power plants near Wabamun did not require public hearings.
Edmonton Journal; July 29


Trip to heart of Alberta's oilsands country provides international perspective
Pete McMartin, a columnist for the Vancouver Sun, travels to Fort McMurray in Alberta's oilsands country and shares his view of the community, the people who work there, and the work that is being done.
Vancouver Sun; July 29

Beyond the region

California officials say drone impeded wildfire fight
The Sand Fire, which has burned more than 3,800 acres in California near Sacramento since igniting on Friday, was 35 percent contained on Sunday, and CalFire officials said a drone used by a hobbyist to film the wildfire actually impeded aerial firefighting efforts.
Chicago Tribune; July 29

Heavy rains cause flash flooding in Northern New Mexico
The storms that moved through Northern New Mexico Sunday and Monday saturated areas burned by wildfires, resulting in warnings about flash floods.
Farmington Daily Times; July 29

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West
at The University of Montana.
"T he people who want to go to Wal-Mart will drive 100 miles for Wal-Mart. I can't stop them, so I'd rather see the sales tax stay here than going to Casper."

Mary Penland, co-owner of Rasmusson Furniture in Rawlins, about the Wal-Mart 'mini' supercenter set to open in the Wyoming town.
- Casper Star-Tribune

On The Bookshelf
Barbara Theroux of Fact & Fiction reviews Grizzlies on my mind


Mountain West Perspectives
New report highlights opportunities in the Colorado River Basin
New report highlights opportunities in the Colorado River Basin


Mountain West Voices
Hear weekly stories from the Rocky Mountain West as gathered by Clay Scott

Mountain West News is a program of the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West

at the

The University of Montana