Jul 18, 2013 The Associated Press

Baseline frack testing discussed

The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has started the formal rulemaking process to establish baseline water testing in the state.

The rule would require oil and gas operators to collect water samples before beginning development.

Wyoming Outdoor Council Environmental Quality Coordinator Amber Wilson says, overall, her group is happy that the rule is progressing.

But Wilson said her group will seek more information about a newly added component called the "master plan."

The master plan would allow operators to submit a different approach to baseline sampling analysis and monitoring than the one outlined in the rules.

The draft rule will be open for public comment, and the commission expects to vote on a final rule in October.

Rodeo a plus for Rock Springs

ROCK SPRINGS -- Sweetwater County officials hope this year's National High School Finals Rodeo brings more than $8 million to the local economy.

The rodeo began this week with nearly 1,500 cowboys and cowgirls from high schools around the nation competing. The rodeo is being held at the Sweetwater Events Complex.

Events Complex marketing director Chad Banks says the rodeo participants are just a tip of the iceberg when determining the economic impact to the businesses and the community.

He said each rodeo participant results in an average of about four people visiting the area.

Restaurants, gas stations and grocery stores tend to do very well during the rodeo week.

Laramie announces tar plan

LARAMIE -- Laramie officials have decided to seek a state grant to help build a new paved trail along the city's northern ridgeline, a path city officials say would show the town in a new light.

The city has plans for a 34-acre open space and trails system. The city estimates the project will cost $1.09 million.

The Laramie City Council voted this week to seek a grant from the Wyoming Department of Transportation to cover nearly half the cost. If the grant is approved, construction would begin next year.

Exonerated inmates could be paid

LUSK -- A Wyoming legislative committee is set to consider a proposal that would allow the state to compensate people who have served time in the state's prison system but who are later cleared by DNA evidence.

The Joint Judiciary Committee is set to consider a bill that would allow pay inmates who are exonerated by DNA evidence $75 a day for their confinement, up to a maximum of $300,000. The committee plans to meet Thursday in Lusk.

A district judge this spring ordered Andrew J. Johnson of Cheyenne freed from prison as a result of DNA testing after he had served 23 years on his conviction in a rape case. The judge has set a new trial date for Johnson for October but he has asked for charges to be dropped.

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