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Wyoming digest

May 19, 2014 - The Associated Press

Gosar to run for governor

ROCK SPRINGS -- Pete Gosar has stepped down as chairman of the Wyoming Democratic Party and announced that he's running for governor.

Gosar announced his candidacy Saturday afternoon at the Democratic Party convention in Rock Springs. The 46-year-old Gosar lives in Laramie and works as a pilot for the State of Wyoming.

Gosar ran four years ago for governor, losing to Democrat Leslie Petersen in the 2010 Democratic primary.

Republican Gov. Matt Mead is seeking re-election. He is being challenged by Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hiull

Crash closes road for hours

LAMONT -- The Wyoming State Patrol says at least two people are feared dead after two or more commercial vehicles collided on U.S. 287 between Casper and Rawlins, spilling hot oil and triggering a fire.

The crash occurred Friday at about 12:45 p.m. near Lamont. One of the vehicles spilled a large quantity of oil that covered the highway, making cleanup difficult.

The highway remained closed for more more than four hours during the cleanup and initial investigation. A long line of cars stopped at the closure gate near Muddy Gap.

Catholic groups ruling

CASPER -- Roman Catholic organizations in Wyoming are appealing a judge's refusal to block provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act that require health insurance coverage for contraception and abortion services for hundreds of non-ministerial employees.

U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl of Casper this week denied a request from the Catholic groups for an injunction against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Lawyers for the Diocese of Cheyenne and other Catholic groups filed notice Thursday that they're appealing to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Lander-based Wyoming Catholic College is one of the appellants.

State rig count unchanged

HOUSTON -- Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by six this week to 1,861.

The Houston firm said in its weekly report Friday that 1,531 rigs were exploring for oil and 326 for gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,769 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, California gained eight rigs, Ohio increased by four, Oklahoma by three, Pennsylvania by two and Kansas one.

Texas declined by four rigs, Alaska, New Mexico and West Virginia were down two each, and Louisiana lost one.

Arkansas, Colorado, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming were all unchanged.

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