> Incentive proposed to expand gas pipelines

CASPER, Wyo. – Natural gas companies are quick to drill wells and increase production in the Rockies, but they haven’t been as quick to invest in pipelines to export gas out of the region, according to the Wyoming Pipeline Authority.

Based on the authority’s recommendation, state legislators are drafting a bill that would extend a limited severance tax break to producers in hope that it will speed up their investment in pipeline infrastructure.

Gov. Dave Freudenthal has said he doesn’t support the proposed severance tax break, and remains unconvinced that subsidizing pipeline infrastructure will actually speed up construction. But Pipeline Authority officials say they intend to rally pipeline companies and major natural gas producers behind the bill.

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Conflicting interests affect coal railroad project

Some are more valued than others, some not at all. Some are being mined while other sites remain in perpetual potential.

A long-term effort to develop the more desirable coal under the rangeland of Eastern Montana is stymied by a triangle of common, yet competing interests at a time when the political/economic trend is shading against further use of even the cleanest burning varieties of the fossil fuel.

Continuing a quest that began in the early 1980s, the owner of a permit to build a railroad that would haul low-sulfur, high-heat coal from southeastern Montana has asked the state to prepare a lease bid for more than 300 million tons of state-owned coal.

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Two Elk plant inks transmission deal

Two Elk Generation Partners reached a milestone this week in its decade-long bid to build a coal-fired power plant in southern Campbell County, landing an agreement to transport the power the plant will produce.

The Denver-based subsidiary of North American Power Group said it signed an interconnect agreement with PacifiCorp that will allow Two Elk to deliver 320 megawatts on PacifiCorp’s transmission system to Two Elk customers.

Mine-mouth electrical generation for export has long been identified as an opportunity to increase state revenue from processing coal rather than solely relying on the export of the raw commodity. Building new electrical transmission remains a challenge to those endeavors, particularly for small generation companies that are not also in the transmission business.

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