Big Rigs Ready to Roll, Fracking Regs Proposed

Aaron Flint posted on January 19, 2011 13:33 :: 2510 Views

Lots of news on the energy and natural resources front here in Montana and the broader region.  First, the big rigs appear to have gotten the green light from Idaho and should move through Montana soon. Second, Arch Coal announces another deal to ship coal to Asia.  And finally, a Bozeman state senator is proposing new regulations on the oil and gas industry in Eastern Montana- particularly regarding hydraulic fracturing.  (I wonder if this Bozeman state senator is one of the same legislators who wants to take the oil and gas money from eastern Montana so the bigger city schools can use it?) 

AP: Big Rigs Should Be Moving Towards MT Soon

Idaho Transportation Director Brian Ness has agreed to issue travel permits that would allow oil giant ConocoPhillips to begin hauling as early as next week large oil refinery machinery along a winding and scenic stretch of U.S. Highway 12.

Ness said Tuesday he is convinced ConocoPhillips and its contracted shipper can safely haul the four separate loads from the port in Lewiston along a 172 mile stretch in northcentral Idaho en route to the company’s refinery in Billings, Mont.

His decision follows months of challenges that played out in state courts and administrative hearings over the agency’s initial decision to permit the oversized loads.

Casper Star-Tribune: Arch Looks to Sell More Coal to Asia

The St. Louis-based company announced Tuesday a deal to ship coal to Asia through a Canadian port near Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

The five-year deal with Canadian firm Ridley Terminals Inc. will give Arch a chance to ship up to 2 million metric tons of coal this year and up to 2.5 million tons each year through 2015.

“This transaction is another important step in accomplishing our strategic objective of expanding Powder River Basin coal sales into the Asia-Pacific region,” said Steven F. Leer, Arch’s chairman and chief executive, in a media release.

Chronicle: Bozeman Senator Wants to Crack Down on Fracking

A Bozeman senator’s bill would require drilling companies make public what chemicals they use to unleash natural gas trapped thousands of feet underground, tapping into a national debate over the controversial process of “fracking” and the effect it has on groundwater.

Proponents of Senate Bill 86, introduced by Sen. Bob Hawks, say the bill would shed much needed light onto hydraulic fracturing, which involves the injection of water, sand and chemicals at high pressure into the ground in order to extract natural gas.

Chip Minty also disputed the idea that fracking can contaminate groundwater, arguing that the fractures occur thousands of feet below aquifers and that more than 99 percent of fracking fluid is made up of water and sand. A 2004 study by the Environmental Protection Agency also found that fracking should not affect groundwater.

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