Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

Articles written by Dustin Bleizeffer

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  • Historic electric rate hike whittled to 5.5% after utility admits error

    Dustin Bleizeffer,|Dec 28, 2023

    Rocky Mountain Power’s Wyoming customers will see an overall rate hike of 5.5% in January rather than the historic 29.2% increase the company initially proposed In a last-minute deal, the day before facing the Wyoming Public Service Commission, Rocky Mountain Power admitted a major accounting error regarding fuel cost overruns and agreed to a $9.4 million rebate, resulting in a reduction to the utility’s second major rate hike of the year. Commissioners on Tuesday approved the “energy cost adjustment” settlement agreement that was hashed... Full story

  • 'Wyoming is watching' as historic electric rate hike hearing begins this week

    Dustin Bleizeffer,|Oct 26, 2023

    Critics will scrutinize Rocky Mountain Power's proposed 21.6%, $140.2M rate hike as panel faces pressure to reduce request. A 21.6% electric rate hike request panned by customers and politicians as an unjustified threat to households and the state's economy will be scrutinized beginning Wednesday at a multi-day, court-like hearing before the Wyoming Public Service Commission. The high-profile and historic rate hike from Rocky Mountain Power - the largest proposed increase in Wyoming in more... Full story

  • A roadside breakdown in the Shirley Basin changed his perspective on life

    Dustin Bleizeffer,|Jul 6, 2023

    Douglas Balmain tramps about the Shirley Basin as a 'student,' drawing inspiration for what it might teach him about leading a lifestyle with purpose. SHIRLEY BASIN-Douglas Balmain weaved through mushroom fairy rings more lush than usual for this time of year, noting the expansion of the basin's mycelial fungal colonies. Sparse but brilliant yellow, red, lavender and orange blooms provided a subtle, sleek definition to the sage carpet. The chirp and chatter of songbirds rose above the noise of... Full story

  • Towns face chicken-and-egg dilemma with nuclear project needs

    Dustin Bleizeffer,|May 25, 2023

    The pathway to federal funds is uncertain for Kemmerer and Diamondville despite major infrastructure needs to host a nuclear power plant project. KEMMERER-When a 16-inch diameter ductile-iron municipal water pipeline failed this spring, a crew dug in for repairs. They found that the 40-year-old line was so brittle that repressuring it after patching it up created more breaks 100 yards away. The crew chased and patched leaks over several days until they ran out of repair "bands" and had to find... Full story

  • Winter ozone spikes near Pinedale prompt health advisories

    Dustin Bleizeffer,|Mar 23, 2023

    Elevated concentrations of ozone — a human health hazard — have returned to the Upper Green River Basin south of Pinedale after years of coordinated efforts to plug leaks and reduce emissions from oil and gas production facilities there, according to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. Spikes in wintertime ozone can occur when there are volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides present — in this case, mostly from oil and gas emissions. When the wind doesn’t clear pollutants out of the area, the trapped VOCs and NOx can get bak... Full story

  • Governor's task force: No easy fix for pain at the pump

    Dustin Bleizeffer,|Oct 27, 2022

    There are no quick or easy ways to protect Wyoming customers from price spikes at the fuel pump, according to a new state report. Trends in regional oil-refining capacity and fuel storage are moving in the wrong direction. A state fuel tax holiday would be too costly — an estimated $120 million annual drain on state revenue — while exerting a “minimal impact” at the pumps. “Even producing substantially more crude oil would not immediately impact the supply of gas or diesel,” according to the report commissioned by Gov. Mark Gordon. Gordon form... Full story

  • Low snowpack, high tempts portend early runoff, low summer flows

    DUSTIN BLEIZEFFER,|Mar 24, 2022

    Snowpack measured 79% of the state’s average median at the beginning of March, while much of the state recorded warmer-than-usual winter temperatures despite a few record one-day lows. Forecasts for continued warmer temps point toward a possible early runoff season, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data and local meteorologists. “It’s been a winter of extremes,” Riverton National Weather Service meteorologist Brett McDonald said. “It seems like we get the cold air in and we set some cold temperature records. But then... Full story

  • Oil and gas industry continues to show signs of recovery in Wyoming

    Dustin Bleizeffer,|Oct 21, 2021

    Wyoming’s oil and gas industry continues to show signs of recovery from the 2020 pandemic shockwave that drove the price of oil below $0 per barrel, spurred layoffs and stalled production. At least 18 rotary rigs were active in the state during the second week of October compared to one rig during the same week in 2020, according to Enverus, which tracks rig data on a weekly basis. Wyoming saw a rig count of zero for the first time in its history in June 2020, then again in August 2020. Most of the drilling activity is targeting oil in the s... Full story

  • Gov, EPA outline plans to boost carbon capture, delay plant closures

    Dustin Bleizeffer, Via Wyoming News Exchange|Sep 3, 2020

    Wyoming is collaborating with the Trump administration to develop strategies to extend the lives of the nation’s aging coal-fired power plants — the primary customers of the state’s coal mining industry. The suite of initiatives announced Thursday by Gov. Mark Gordon and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Acting Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento include a rollback of an Obama-era rule that would have further limited the volume of toxins that coal plants can dump into waterways — a change they say will save coal-plant operators an estimat... Full story

  • Transition in coal country: Forging paths forward

    Dustin Bleizeffer and Mason Adams, and Energy News Network|Aug 13, 2020

    NEW RIVER GORGE, WEST VIRGINIA—The blue rubber rafts shriek as they slide down steep metal rails, each guided by a crew that will soon be floating down a 9-mile stretch of river, replete with Class III, IV and V rapids and the ghosts of now-shuttered coal mines and processing plants. Raft after raft descends the skids from a parking lot for commercial outfitters before arriving at the put-in, where guides instruct their crews of clients. The churn of activity is a little lower than what it might typically be on a hot day in late July, but it’s... Full story

  • Utility rate hikes expected in face of pandemic, energy downturn

    Dustin Bleizeffer, Via Wyoming News Exchange|Apr 16, 2020

    As COVID-19-related costs mount for utilities, regulators are considering just how ratepayers will ultimately settle the bill. State orders in response to the pandemic currently authorize electricity and natural-gas suppliers to waive fees and suspend disconnects, but utilities still expect payment in-full at some point in the future. Regulated utilities are also asking the Wyoming Public Service Commission for permission to charge interest on deferred payments. “Those bills will still be due and payable when the moratorium on disconnections is... Full story

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