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Wyoming News Briefs OCTOBER 25

HollyFrontier refinery wraps up lawsuit, facility renovations

CHEYENNE (WNE) – After agreeing to a settlement with the state last month in its environment lawsuit, HollyFrontier has moved forward with renovations to its refinery that are expected to be completed in the coming weeks.

The lawsuit, filed in July, alleged the company was in violation of the Wyoming Environmental Quality Act, the Wyoming Air Quality Standards and Regulations and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act.

HollyFrontier agreed to pay a settlement worth $117,000 as part of the consent decree between the company and the state, which was represented by the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office.

“By signing this consent decree, (HollyFrontier) does not admit or acknowledge that it violated any provision of the Act, the Air Quality Rules, the Clean Air Act, or permits or waivers issued under such authorities,” the consent decree states.

After bringing the lawsuit to a close last month, the company moved forward with plans to renovate its Cheyenne refinery, which employs 300 people.

Following the conclusion of the lawsuit, the company started a planned turnaround, shutting down all operations at its refinery to upgrade and perform normal maintenance on its production units.

The upgrades and maintenance will cost more than $100 million, according to Toby Grapes, the refinery’s human resource manager.

HollyFrontier’s Cheyenne refinery turns crude oil into products like gasoline, jet and diesel fuels, and asphalt. Among the maintenance projects are improvements to the refinery’s tail gas unit and upgrades to allow the refinery to produce Tier 3 gasoline, a federal fuel-level regulation that requires a reduction in the sulfur content of blended gasoline.


Thrown candle suspected of breaking Gillette woman’s eye socket

GILLETTE (WNE) — A 36-year-old woman remains in Campbell County jail after allegedly throwing a large candle at her mother during an argument and breaking her eye socket.

Deanna Bruner has been charged with aggravated assault and battery in the case.

Police were called about 5 p.m. Oct. 17 when occupants of an apartment building found a 71-year-old woman covered in blood. The woman identified her daughter as the culprit, but didn’t know why other than that she must have said something to anger the younger woman, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The woman said she and her daughter had been drinking.

Officers found a significant amount of blood in the apartment, along with a candle about 6 inches in diameter with blood on it.

As police were investigating, Bruner returned to the apartment. She told police that as she and her mother were drinking that afternoon, her mother told her that she planned to move to Florida soon, which angered Bruner because she just arrived in Gillette from Kentucky to live with her mother.

Her mother backed into a coffee table and fell to the ground, and Bruner picked up the candle in the living room and threw it at her, according to court documents.

Bruner told police she was unsure if the candle actually struck her mother, but did say that it was when she saw a large amount of blood appear on her face.

At the emergency room, a doctor said the woman had a fractured left orbital socket.

Aggravated assault has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.


Engine, firefighters struck on I-80 while cleaning up accident

WAMSUTTER (WNE) – A Ford Mustang convertible struck a fire engine Wednesday after the crew responded to a rollover accident, and four Wamsutter volunteer firefighters were injured by the second crash.

The Wamsutter Volunteer Fire Department was working an accident scene of a single-vehicle rollover off the north side of westbound Interstate 80 at mile marker 170. The pickup truck involved in the rollover had just been towed away and the driver had escaped with minor injuries, according to a press release.

Around 8:30 p.m., while Wamsutter volunteer firefighters were working around Engine 1 to cleanup from the scene, a westbound Ford Mustang slid off the road at highway speeds and rear-ended the unoccupied fire engine.

Five crew members were standing in close proximately to the engine and two were impacted by the Mustang. Another was hit by the fire engine which was hit with such force it skidded forward several feet, striking the firefighter in the process. The fourth firefighter was slightly injured when trying to get out of the way of the oncoming car. The fifth firefighter was on the opposite side of the fire engine, standing with the driver from the previous accident, and neither were injured.

After the Mustang hit the fire engine, it careened into the middle of the westbound lanes, where the sole occupant, the driver, was trapped.

Wamsutter volunteer firefighters extricated the driver, and he was transported to Rawlins, where he was flown to Salt Lake City. His status is unknown.

The four injured firefighters were also transported to Memorial Hospital of Carbon County; they were all treated and released early Thursday morning.

The road conditions were slightly wet, and some ice was forming on Interstate 80 from several snow flurries.


Jackson Town Council's letter pushes for local control over housing

JACKSON (WNE) — The Jackson Town Council has unanimously approved a letter asking state lawmakers to respect local control over affordable housing policy, but it wants other local groups to sign on before it is sent.

“While the housing exaction rates should and will be updated, our community firmly believes in local control, that we should continue to have access to the tool, and that Teton County residents should retain the right to decide for ourselves what those rates should be,” the letter states. “Therefore, we respectfully request that you honor Teton County voters’ desire to make local decisions locally.”

Last month the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Interim Corporations, Elections and Political Subdivisions Committee met at Teton County Library. Jackson was selected for the meeting following heated debates about local control during the last session, including a failed bill introduced by Rep. Shelly Duncan, R-Goshen, that would have gutted Jackson’s affordable housing program.

House Bill 277 sought to prohibit towns and counties from requiring developers to build or pay for employee housing to offset the impact of jobs generated by their new development. Following public meetings the town and county approved new — and controversial — housing exaction rules in July 2018, upping the requirements for how much developers, especially commercial developers, must pay toward housing when building a new project.

Town councilors said they hope the Teton County Board of County Commissioners, plus other groups like the Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce and Jackson Hole Working, will consider signing the letter. Councilor Jonathan Schechter even said he’d be reluctant to send it without the backing of other local groups.

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