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Jun 30, 2013 - The Associated Press

Power line docs online

DENVER -- Federal officials have published the draft environmental impact statement for a proposed transmission line meant to carry wind power from Wyoming to California, Arizona and Nevada.

The document identifies possible routes for TransWest Express LLC's proposed line, along with potential impacts to the environment, public health and other areas.

TransWest has proposed a route from near Sinclair, Wyo., through Colorado and Utah to an area near Boulder City, Nev. Federal officials have identified a somewhat different route that they say will minimize impacts to greater sage grouse and roadless areas in national forests.

The public will have 90 days to weigh in. TransWest plans to comment later.

A decision is expected in 2014.

TransWest is part of The Anschutz Corp. based in Denver.

Death penalty not sought

CHEYENNE -- Prosecutors have agreed not to seek the death penalty against the Wheatland man who pleaded no contest this week to killing his three sons and his brother in 2011.

Everett Conant III, 37, entered the pleas, the equivalent of guilty pleas, Wednesday at a hearing in Evanston, home of the Wyoming State Hospital.

Judge John Brooks of Douglas presided over Wednesday's hearing, ruling that Conant was competent to stand trial. The judge had sent Conant to the hospital in March for a 90-day evaluation, the most recent of several such evaluations Conant has had there.

Conant entered no-contest pleas to the four first-degree murder charges as well as to a charge of attempted murder in the first degree against his former wife, Suzette Conant, who was shot and wounded in July 7, 2011, attack.

Conant's sons -- 11-year-old Joseph, 13-year-old Charles and 18-year-old Everett -- and Conant's brother, Nacuma Roland Conant, 33, were all shot and killed at the family's mobile home.

Smoke ban repealed

CASPER -- A partial repeal of a smoking ban is taking effect for a handful of bars in Casper.

The smoking ban first went into effect for bars, restaurants and other businesses in September. Last week, the Casper City Council repealed the ban for bars.

The council also repealed the ban for nursing homes and non-public areas of workshop facilities and auto service centers. The ban remains in effect for restaurants and bars located within restaurants.

State rig count up

HOUSTON -- Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. decreased by 11 this week to 1,748.

The Houston-based company said Friday in its weekly report that 1,390 rigs were exploring for oil and 353 for gas. Five were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,959 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, West Virginia and Wyoming each gained three, California gained two and Colorado and New Mexico gained one each.

Texas lost 11 rigs, Oklahoma lost five.

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