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Wyo State Senator Predicts Energy Industry Won’t Recover

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Wyoming State Sen. Dave Kinskey on Wednesday said Wyoming’s energy industry — always prone to boom and bust — may never ever see a boom again.

Appearing at a legislative forum earlier this week, Kinskey — who represents Sheridan and Johnson counties — said the domestic and international sentiment against fossil fuels — coupled with a Democratic president — will likely spell doom for Wyoming’s oil and gas industry.

“I mean the legislation worldwide and across the United States and now with a Biden Administration, the war on carbon is going to continue at an increased pace,” he said.

This means, he said, that Wyoming’s economy — with 60 percent of the state’s revenue coming from coal, oil, gas, and other extractive industries — is going to be hit hard.

“By the time you add in the additional effects of sales tax from those, it is dropping dramatically. Add to that the complications of COVID-19, and we’ll come out of that but we’re not going to come out any time soon from the tailspin on oil, gas, and coal,” he said.

Kinskey said the state’s revenues are projected to be down between 25% and 30% over the next four to six years.

He said the state is $200 million away from balancing the portion of the budget not related to education, but the deficit in the state’s budget for public schools continues to grow.

To that end, Kinskey has asked the state’s school districts to be willing to accept budget cuts and to find ways to take cuts in revenue without hurting education.

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Laramie Wind Project Protestors Concerned About Turbine Blades Breaking

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Critics of an Albany County wind farm are pointing to reports of wind turbine blade failures in Iowa as proof that additional state and local regulations on the turbines need to be considered.

In Iowa, two blades have broken off of turbines in the span of two months, something Paul and Lynn Montoya and Jennifer Kirchhoffer have taken notice of.

The Montoyas and Kirchhoffer are members of Albany County for Smart Energy Development, an organization looking to change Albany County’s current wind energy regulations.

The group feels existing rules do not adequately protect the area’s natural resources or ensure the health, safety and quality of life of residents, businesses and recreational users in proximity of energy facilities.

According to the Des Moines Register, MidAmerican Energy (which is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, billionaire Warren Buffet’s company) has said the blades broke somewhere along their length, not at the base.

However, the company has paused 46 wind turbines that have blades like the ones that have broken in the last two months.

“Looking at the abnormally close distance of the turbines of the new Roundhouse turbine plant west of Cheyenne, I worry for our Wyoming residents said,” Paul Montoya told Cowboy State Daily in referrence to the Iowa blade problems.

“This [story] only highlights the fact that setback distances in many counties in Wyoming are obsolete based on the new, much larger turbines being installed,” he said.

The broken blades in Iowa were more than 170 feet long and weighed around 18,000 pounds.

Last week, a technician found that a blade had fallen into a field in Greene County, Iowa. Another blade broke off a turbine and fell into a cornfield in Adair County, Iowa in September.

The company also had other problems with blades breaking, including one incident in April and another in October 2019, also in Adair County, but at a different MidAmerican wind farm than the incident in September.

A statement to the Des Moines Register this week assigned the blame for the failure to Danish turbine manufacturer Vestas, the largest wind turbine company in the world.

PacifiCorp, which is developing wind projects in various areas of Wyoming, including Carbon and Laramie counties, is using Vestas to manufacture the turbines for its wind farms.

In July, the ACSED delivered a petition to the Albany County board of commissioners in regards to the wind project being developed near Tie Siding.

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Barrasso: Fracking Is Number One Reason We Should Re-Elect Trump

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen John Barrasso has been relatively quiet this week, but came back in full force Friday to talk about Joe Biden’s fracking strategy on Fox Business.

Barrasso told host Maria Baritromo that Biden’s fracking policy, or lack thereof, is the top reason President Donald Trump should be re-elected.

“I don’t even know if [Biden] remembers what his policy is, but let’s be very clear: during the debates through the Democratic primaries, he was going to ban fracking and said it repeatedly,” Barrasso said.

Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is the process of injecting liquid into the earth to help extract oil or gas.

The senator added that Biden even claimed he was going to ban all carbon-based fuels, which Barrasso believed would be something Biden’s “Green New Deal members” in the Senate and House of Representatives would hold him to.

“For America, that means the loss of over a million jobs, good-paying jobs,” the senator said. “It means people will pay double when they go to fill up their car with gas. It means electricity bills will likely triple.”

He added that Trump had managed to “unleash American energy” and eliminate America’s dependence on foreign countries, such as those in the Middle East, for its fuels.

Barrasso criticized Biden’s vice presidential pick, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, for her opposition to fracking, adding that she was also a Green New Deal member.

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1,200+ Signatures Gathered In Laramie Wind Energy Protest

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

An ongoing protest against Albany County wind energy rules continued on Monday when a petition critical of current rules and carrying more than 1,200 signatures was delivered to the county’s board of commissioners.

Paul Montoya and other members of the group Albany County for Smart Energy Development delivered their petition Monday morning to the Albany County Commissioners.

The petition charged that the county’s current wind energy regulations don’t adequately protect the area’s natural resources or ensure the health, safety and quality of life of Albany County residents, businesses and recreational users in proximity of energy facilities.

Many of the group’s concerns stem from outdated regulations that were put in place before taller and more powerful wind turbines were designed and put into use.

The group has been particularly critical of a wind project near Tie Siding.

Montoya and two other members held a livestreamed news conference on Facebook following the delivery of the petition to explain what the petition was about and their intent for bringing it to the commissioners.

He explained that a few weeks ago, the county commissioners began discussing potential changes to wind energy regulations and asked for public comment.

This was a perfect time for the ACSED to gather a petition and show the commissioners that residents strongly believe the regulations should be changed, Montoya said.

“This petition is not a referendum,” Montoya said. “We only use it to demonstrate to the county the desire of its residents, to add protection for its residents and natural resources for this and future generations through properly locating industrial wind turbines in this county.”

Montoya and others are opposing the proposed Rail Tie Wind Project, which is to be built around Highway 287 near Tie Siding.

In July, Montoya told Cowboy State Daily that certain wind projects have “engulfed neighboring counties such as Laramie County and Carbon County.”

The group held a peaceful protest regarding the regulations back in July. Montoya said the Roundhouse project outside of Cheyenne was a major factor behind the rally, noting that it’s an eyesore that can be seen from as far away as Albany County.

Construction on the Roundhouse project, which will consist of up to 120 turbines, began in 2019 and is expected to be completed at the end of this year.

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Oil Groups: Biden’s Drilling Proposal Would Hurt Wyoming

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A proposal by presidential candidate Joe Biden to block oil and gas drilling on federal lands would have a significant impact on the economies of Wyoming and other oil-producing states, according to a study prepared by oil industry organizations.

The analysis released by the Petroleum Association of Wyoming and American Petroleum Institute said such a ban would reduce Wyoming’s oil and natural gas production by more than 30%, costing the state more than 33,000 jobs and $641 million in state revenue.

“Given that nearly 50% of all lands in Wyoming are owned by the federal government, a ban on federal leasing and development would decimate the natural gas and oil industry and Wyoming’s economy along with it,” said Pete Obermeuller, president of the PAW. “This policy would damage both national security and environmental stewardship while devastating Wyoming’s middle class, local communities and public school system.”

Biden’s proposal to end climate change calls for a ban on new oil and gas drilling permits on public lands and waters.

Nationally, the API said such a move would result in a $700 billion decline in the country’s gross domestic product, the loss of 1 million jobs and a threat to more than $9 billion in government income through taxation and fees.

Wyoming would be among the hardest-hit states, coming in fourth behind New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana for job losses and second behind New Mexico for state revenue losses.

The API also concluded a national ban on drilling on federal lands would increase U.S. dependence on foreign oil while cutting the nation’s exports of natural gas.

The move would also slow the switch from coal-fired power generating plants to natural gas plants, the analysis said, thus failing to reduce emissions as hoped.

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Gordon Releases Study Showing Benefits Of Coal Plant Retrofit

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

Gordon Releases Study Showing Benefits Of Coal Plant Retrofit

Equipping some Rocky Mountain Power coal-fired generating plants with carbon capture technology would provide greater benefits than simply retiring the plants as the company plans, according to a study released Thursday.

However, the power company questioned the conclusion reached by Leonardo Technologies in its study unveiled by Gov. Mark Gordon and officials from the U.S. Department of Energy during a news conference Thursday.

During the news conference, Gordon and the others said the study showed how Wyoming can take the lead in carbon capture technology.

“Aggressive (carbon capture, utilization and storage) initiatives could establish Wyoming as a world leader in that technology,” said Steve Winberg, assistant secretary of Fossil Energy for the DOE. “That effort would pay large and increasing dividends to the state as (carbon capture, utilization and storage) becomes one of the dominant economic and energy technologies of the 21st century.”

Rocky Mountain Power, in its 2019 integrated resource plan, announced that it would retire nine power units at its coal-fired plants in Wyoming by 2028. One unit, at the Naughton plant in Kemmerer, was retired in 2019.

The company said by moving toward natural gas and renewable energy, it would be able to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and power costs for its customers.

In response, Gordon asked the U.S. Department of Energy to conduct a study to determine whether putting carbon capture, utilization and storage technology the plants would reduce carbon emissions while allowing for the continued use of Wyoming coal and the related employment.

In addition, Wyoming’s Legislature adopted a bill in 2020 prohibiting utilities such as Rocky Mountain Power from recovering the costs of retiring plants through rate increases and allowing the utilities to collect a surcharge from customers to pay for the retrofitting of plants with carbon capture technology.

Leonardo Technologies, in its study of power units at the the Jim Bridger plant in Rock Springs, Naughton plant in Kemmerer and Dave Johnston plant near Glenrock, said the retrofitting of the plants would result in lower carbon emissions, lower power costs and a lower loss of jobs than if Rocky Mountain Power followed through with its plans to retire the plants. The study also concluded that local and state revenue from coal taxes and royalties would be higher if the plants were equipped with carbon capture technology.

But Rocky Mountain Power, in a reaction to the study’s release, said the study failed to take several factors into account, such as the cost of extending the lives of the power plants long enough to make the investment in carbon capture technology worthwhile.

“PacifiCorp (Rocky Mountain Power’s parent company) continues to examine the study’s assumptions and calculations to properly evaluate its conclusions, but the list of items missed by the study’s analysis is very long,” the company said. “This type of calculation ignores so many elements (all but capital), and should not be relied upon for making the kinds of decisions required of a regulated utility.”

Among the missed costs, according to the statement, were “everything associated with how a utility’s costs flows into rates,” including fuel costs, costs from market purchases, property taxes and net power costs.

The statement said Rocky Mountain Power considered retrofitting the plants before making the decision to retire them.

“Given the current high capital costs of implementing carbon capture on coal-fired generations, as well as other barriers, carbon capture has not been considered a viable option to date, which is why it has only been installed at a single facility nationwide,” it said.

That one facility was mothballed earlier this year because of economic concerns, the company said.

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Cheney Pleased With Interior Decision to Open Arctic To Oil & Gas Development

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U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney welcomed Monday’s news that energy development would be allowed in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

The Department of Interior announced on Monday its intention to allow oil and gas development in roughly 10% of the area.

Predictably, the announcement caused a schism between both parties with Cheney signaling her support by tweeting the Wall Street Journal article which had the story first.

“Today’s announcement by Secretary Bernhardt approving drilling in ANWR is another promise kept by President Trump that will boost our country’s domestic energy production while also returning power to state and local officials where it belongs,” Cheney said on Twitter.

Although Democrats predicted environmental doom if the area was developed, the handwringing may be premature.  

The issue has been a political football for more than 30 years, and as the New York Times reported on Monday “any oil production within the refuge would still be at least a decade in the future” if it ever happens.

Already one group is ready to sue the administration over it.

“The Trump administration’s so-called review process for their shameless sell-off of the Arctic Refuge has been a sham from the start. We’ll see them in court,” said a statement from Lena Moffitt, the Sierra Club’s senior director of its Our Wild America campaign. 

Plus, with energy prices so low, the business climate for development could be an obstacle.

“Current market forces weigh against the industry trying to sink new wells in such an expensive and inhospitable place, and that consumer pressure against such moves will be considerable,” wrote Scott Martelle of the Los Angeles Times.

Oddly, President Trump didn’t tweet anything about the news on Monday but told FOX News that he would “take a look” at the Dept of Interior’s decision.

“ANWR is a big deal that Ronald Reagan couldn’t get done and nobody could get done,” Trump said.

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Wyoming Teams Up With MIT to Explore Energy and Climate Solutions

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Representatives from the Wyoming Governor’s Office, University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources, and Wyoming Energy Authority are exploring future avenues for collaboration with faculty and researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to strengthen Wyoming’s energy economy while lowering CO2 emissions

“This moment in time presents us with an opportunity to seize: creating a strong economic future for the people of Wyoming while protecting something we all care about—the climate,” said Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon. “Wyoming has tremendous natural resources that create thousands of high-paying jobs. This conversation with MIT allows us to consider how we use our strengths and adapt to the changes that are happening nationally and globally.” 

The two dozen participants from Wyoming and MIT discussed pathways for long-term economic growth in Wyoming, given the global need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The wide-ranging and detailed conversation covered topics such as the future of carbon capture technology, hydrogen, and renewable energy; using coal for materials and advanced manufacturing; climate policy; and how communities can adapt and thrive in a changing energy marketplace.

The discussion paired MIT’s global leadership in technology development, economic modeling and low-carbon energy research, with Wyoming’s unique competitive advantages: its geology that provides vast underground storage potential for CO2; its existing energy and pipeline infrastructure; and the tight bonds between business, government and academia.

“Wyoming’s small population and statewide support of energy technology development is an advantage,” says Holly Krutka, executive director of the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources. “Government, academia and industry work very closely together here to scale up technologies that will benefit the state and beyond. We know each other, so we can get things done and get them done quickly.”

“There’s strong potential for MIT to work with the state of Wyoming on technologies that could not only benefit the state, but also the country and rest of the world as we combat the urgent crisis of climate change,” says Bob Armstrong, director of the MIT Energy Initiative, who attended the forum. “It’s a very exciting conversation.”

The event was convened by the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative as part of its Here & Real project, which works with regions in the U.S. to help further initiatives that are both climate-friendly and economically just.

“At MIT, we are focusing our attention on technologies that combat the challenge of climate change—but also, with an eye toward not leaving people behind,” says Prof. Maria Zuber, MIT Vice President for Research.

“It is inspiring to see Wyoming’s state leadership seriously committed to finding solutions for adapting the energy industry, given what we know about the risks of climate change,” says Laur Hesse Fisher, director of the Here & Real project. “Their determination to build an economically and environmentally sound future for the people of Wyoming has been evident in our discussions, and I am excited to see this conversation continue and deepen.”

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Campbell County Man Believes In Second Life For Powder River Basin Coal Ash

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By Jennifer Kocher, County 17

Good news is hard to come by today with regard to Wyoming’s lagging energy industry, particularly in the Powder River Basin, but at least one man is optimistic about the county’s future.

Where there’s a bust, Phil Christopherson believes, there’s a boom to follow, which may come as early as 2022.

His glass half-full mentality stems in part from his work as CEO of Energy Capital Economic Development (ECED), where the crux of his job is to attract new businesses to Campbell County, and ignite and revive local industries.

He looks to the long-term with regard to driving economic diversity to keep the economy robust, regardless of downturns in energy.

Generally speaking, he noted, the county has a lot going for it. Lots of space, for one, as well as easy access to Interstate 90, rail and commercial jet transportation, business-friendly regulations and taxes as well as top-notch recreation and business incubator facilities.

He sees several promising opportunities on the horizon, including a pretty hefty investment on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the University of Wyoming’s School of Energy Resources (SER), ECED as well as funding from both city and county governments among other developments currently in the works.

Moreover, as a Wyoming native, Christopherson wholeheartedly believes in the tenacity, grit and resourcefulness of its people, particularly those in Campbell County.

He points to its long history as the nation’s leading energy provider and reveres it as home to several world-class companies like Liebherr, Cyclone Drilling and L&H Industrial. Yes, times are a little hard, he admitted, but there are equally lucrative days to follow.

The future site of Atlas Carbon near the new Highway 59 buildout (left).
The future site of WyIC, near HWY 59 buildout.

Sitting at a table in his corner office of the Energy Capital Building in south Gillette last Tuesday, Christopherson slid a press release across the laminated surface, detailing news about a new pilot-scale production facility currently in the design phase at Energy Capital Economic Development’s Wyoming Innovation Center (WyIC).

It’s scheduled to open next year as part of the exploratory project, where scientists will attempt to extract rare earth elements from coal ash.

The $1.62 million project is funded through a partnership between the city, county, university and federal agencies including a federal grant from the Department of Energy (DOE) Technology Commercialization Fund earmarked for helping to develop promising energy technologies.

The three-year project entails a partnership between the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in conjunction with UW’s SER and will entail identifying and extracting rare earth elements and other critical metals from feedstocks in the PRB to test efficacies and economic value.

Currently, Christopherson’s ECED team is in the process of finalizing the designs for the facility, which they hope to have nailed down in August or early September.

“This project is an important step forward in diversifying and expanding Wyoming’s economy through value-added coal projects,” he said.

The project has already garnered the sign-off from Gillette Mayor Louise Carter-King, who touted both the partnership as well as the potential for the project.

“We always knew that this was the perfect site, and it is gratifying to know that others recognize the potential of the Powder River Basin to assist our nation,” Carter-King said in an ECED release announcing the project.

Quoting studies that have shown the PRB coal has had high extractable REE content compared to other coal ash sources in other parts of the country, Christopherson also touted the high volume of available coal ash stocks with up to 270 to 690 tons produced by a single power station per day.

“This project is an important step forward in diversifying and expanding Wyoming’s economy through value-added coal projects,” he said. “We are proud to host the NETL rare earth elements project at our WyIC facility.”

Securing energy independence

Rare earth elements (REEs) are a part of a group of 17 metal elements that occur naturally and are typically found in varying proportions in the same ore deposits, according to the Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS), and are used in a variety of products from nuclear reactors, cell phones, magnets and camera lenses among several other products. They’re also key to renewable technologies such as wind turbines and electric cars.

For the past two decades, China has dominated the REEs market, accounting for about 95 – 97% of the world’s supply.

Currently, the United States is wholly dependent on imports for 21 of these critical materials, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and 50% dependent on imports for an additional 28 more.

In recent days, as the Trump Administration ratchets up tensions with China surrounding trade and national security issues, including closing down the Chinese Embassy in Houston over accusations that the communist nation is pirating U.S. intellectual property and stealing research and industry secrets, many in government like Wyoming Senators John Barrasso and Mike Enzi see the country’s critical minerals dependency as a matter of national security as well as an opportunity to revive the fledgling coal sector.

In May, both senators sent letters to the secretaries of defense and the interior asking for them to invest in national efforts to build our own REE stockpile. Last week, Sen. Barrasso further sent a letter to the DOE, urging the agency to set up a satellite office in Wyoming to build on efforts to bolster statewide energy research, development and commercialization.

Given the country’s and world’s reliance on these REEs, demand for them only continues to rise. The global rare earth market is estimated to grow in value from $8.1 billion in 2018 to more than $14.4 billion by 2025, according to Zion Market Research, a company specializing in cutting-edge informative reports.

“Right now,” Christopherson said, “we’re relying on China for our Rare Earth Elements. This project is an important step forward in the United States developing our own sources of REE, while diversifying and expanding Wyoming’s economy through value-added coal projects.”

Many in the county and state are interested in tapping into PRB coal ash as the next panacea.

Regaining ground

At one point, the United States was a leader in REEs. Between the 1960s and 80s, the country had the largest market share, mostly mined at Molycorp’s Mountain Pass Mine in California, according to a 2017 DOE report. The open-pit REE mine of the Mojave declared bankruptcy in 2015. In Wyoming, Bear Lodge outside of Upton, had held promise in past years but fell flat under poor market conditions and also closed in 2015.

Meanwhile, China, which has the world’s largest known REE deposit, the Bayan Obo deposit, continues to dominate the market after beginning REE production in the 1980s, per the report.

Currently, the DOE is hoping to find new pockets of minerals with its sights set on two predominant coal-producing areas of the country – the West and Appalachia – where DOE and NETL assessments estimate a potential REE reserve of 6 million metric tons (MT) of potentially recoverable minerals from coal and coal byproducts in Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona with another estimated 4.9 MT from four eastern states, including Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia.

In Campbell County, the three-year joint project between NETL and UW’s SER will focus on extracting REEs from coal ash from nearby utility companies.

Scott Quillinan, director of research at the UW’s SER, is also optimistic about the potential of the DOE/NETL project in the PRB.

PRB coal collected from the University of Wyoming coring program for REE analysis.
PRB coal collected from the University of Wyoming coring program for REE analysis. (H/t UW SER)

The first year-and-a-half will consist of onsite lab work between researchers at UW and NETL, who will collaborate from their Pittsburgh lab to fine tune extraction technologies. Once the WyIC facility is up and running, Quillinan said, the entities will join forces in-house for the remaining 18 months.

In terms of REEs, researchers at SER are particularly excited about the high concentrations of two critical, middle and heavy elements, Dysposium and Neodymium, in the PRB’s sub-bituminous coal.

“Neodymium in particular is a very important element,” Davin Bagdonas, research scientist at SER’s Center for Economic Geology Research and SER’s principal investigator on the REE pilot project, said.

“PRB coal/fly ash is a great potential resource for it in high volume,” he said.

The light REE, Neodymium, is used to make hard drives in laptop computers, headphones and hybrid engines among other uses. Dysposium, which is a heavy rare earth, is used primarily to make permanent magnets and hybrid engines.

The area also has high concentrations of Praseodymium, a critical mineral used for magnets and hybrid engines, Bagdonas added, as well as Cesium, a soft, silvery, extremely reactive metal.

Though the PRB is rich in these elements, Quillinan noted, the tricky part is extracting them both safely and economically, which entails digesting the coal with acid to differentiate the elements from the coal ash.

A second snag is that currently further processing of the minerals once extracted generally occurs overseas. This is also true of manufacturing. Most of the products that require rare earth elements in the process are made elsewhere, he said.

Regardless, Quillinan remains optimistic about the quality of the feedstocks as well as the technology, which if proved economically viable, may spur private investment into building an extraction and processing facility in Wyoming or elsewhere where the US might regain its prominent spot as the leader of REEs.

“It looks promising,” he said, noting the volume of available coal ash at the ready as well as the high calcium content, which makes coal ash more easily to digest with acid.

That said, the project is for naught if it’s not economically feasible. The techno-economics will be evaluated per DOE-approved economic models as part of the project.

“We know we have high-potential feedstocks and promising technology and know the demand is there,” Quillinan said, “but we have to figure out if it makes sense economically. If it doesn’t pencil, private investment will never come.”

However, he noted, if the United States continues to trend toward renewable energy sources, these rare earth minerals are imperative, and he’d like to see Wyoming take the lead.

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Converse County Oil, Gas Project One Step Closer To Approval

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By Jim Angell, Cowboy State Daily

A proposed major oil and gas development project in Converse County moved one step closer to federal approval with a release of the final environmental impact statement on the project.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Thursday, in its final impact statement on the project that could see more than 5,000 new wells drilled in the next 10 years, continued to select the full development option as its preferred alternative for the project.

The release of the statement triggered a 30-day protest period, after which the BLM will issue a record of decision on the project.

Five energy companies have proposed drilling on about 1.5 million acres of land in Converse County: Occidental Petroleum, Chesapeake Energy Corp., Devon Energy, EOG Resources Inc. and Northwoods Energy. Plans call for about 500 wells to be drilled each year over 10-years.

Other options for the project considered by the BLM included allowing no development and allowing the development of all the new wells, but limiting the number of well pads that could be built in the area.

Gov. Mark Gordon, in a prepared statement, said he welcomed the release of the report and noted Wyoming officials had worked extensively with federal officials to make sure the development followed certain measures to protect wildlife and the environment in the area.

“The State of Wyoming worked long and hard to weigh in on issues such as year-round drilling that would still provide appropriate measures to protect wildlife, including raptors as well as Greater sage-grouse,” he said.

He noted the project will involve the use of new drilling technologies that will reduce surface disturbances.

“It reflects what can be accomplished when ingenuity, science, technology and common sense management policies are used to promote energy development and preserve our wildlife,” he said.

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