The Powder River Basin coal-bed methane boom in the early 2000s stirred controversies over land rights, mineral rights, environmental stewardship, the disposal of water and—at every turn—politics. Now, few of the 29,000 wells drilled produce much gas and around 3,000 wells are abandoned and left to the state to clean up.
Browse Articles about Energy
|Coal miners, Black||Brigida R. (Brie) Blasi|
|Coal Slurry Pipeline, History of||Dan Whipple|
|Coal, Wyoming business of||Chamois L. Andersen|
|Coal-bed Methane boom, Powder River Basin||Dustin Bleizeffer|
|Dana, Wyo., Black coal miners in||Brigida R. (Brie) Blasi|
|Elk Basin Oil Field||Rebecca Hein|
|Energy Transportation Systems, Inc. coal slurry pipeline||Dan Whipple|
|ETSI coal slurry pipeline||Dan Whipple|
|Flaming Gorge Dam and Reservoir||Annette Hein|
|Gamara, Batiste, coal miner||Sergio Vedovato|
1970s amendments to the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 boosted the share of federal mineral royalties flowing to Wyoming and other oil-rich states while preserving the original act’s aim to balance production incentives with conservation—thanks in part to some shrewd maneuvering by Wyoming’s congressman, Teno Roncalio.
Oil refining in Wyoming began in 1895. By the 1920s the state boasted 16 refineries, with Standard Oil’s plant at Casper by far the largest. Production tracked oil booms and busts throughout the 20th century, culminating in the 1991 shutdown of Casper’s Amoco (formerly Standard) Refinery. Six refineries remain in production today.
Cheyenne’s M.H. “Bud” Robineau scrambled to put together the deals enabling construction during World War II of an airplane-fuel plant next to the Frontier Refinery he owned. Help from U.S. Sen. Joseph O’Mahoney proved crucial in cutting wartime red tape. The plant came online in 1944 and continued to produce high-octane fuel after the war.
Since it first entered the state in 1890, the Burlington Railroad has helped connect Wyoming with the world. Burlington officials were drawn here by Wyoming’s marketable natural resources and by its geography: Wyoming offered the best routes for transcontinental lines from the Midwest and South to the Pacific Northwest.