Tag Archive for 'Craig Station'

Colowyo Mine a strong supporter of youth recreation on its property


Colowyo Mine staff has supported youth hunts and recreation for groups like these since the 1990s.

Colowyo Mine staff has supported youth hunts and recreation for groups like these since the 1990s.

Owned and operated by Tri-State’s subsidiary Western Fuels-Colorado, the Colowyo Mine encompasses a vast tract of property that spans over nearly 140,000 acres of land.

This land supports not only one of Colorado’s largest surface coal mines, but also vast tracts of undisturbed land, abundant natural resources, diverse wildlife and a number of farming and ranching operations that are currently leasing land from the mine.

So, it comes as no surprise that as good stewards of the land and strong supporters of their surrounding communities, the mine staff has a long history of helping to sponsor and support youth recreation programs on mine property.

“Over the years, working with the Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) staff and our land lessees, we have supported multiple supervised youth hunts on our property as well as other recreational events such as CPW’s “Cast and Blast” program, where local kids are given the opportunity to go fly fishing and trap shooting on Colowyo’s mine property,” said Tonia Folks, land specialist at the western Colorado mine.

In the latest sponsored youth hunt, held on mine property over the weekend of Oct 24-26, up to 10 young hunters enjoyed a successful outing in search of cow elk.

In late September, three local teens were selected to participate in the first mentored waterfowl hunt on mine property.  “Colowyo Mine and lessee Duke Duzik were gracious enough to offer us access to the Big Bottom property,“ said District Wildlife Officer Evan Jones in a recent Craig Daily Press article. “In addition, the generosity of my fellow officers and the Moffat County Youth 4-H shooting program all helped to provide these kids with an experience they will remember for the rest of their lives,” he added.

These supervised hunts are part of CPW’s Hunter Outreach Program, an ongoing effort to encourage women and youths to head outdoors and enjoy the state’s abundant natural resources.

“The next set of youth hunting adventures on mine property will be in December, when the CPW staff will assist local youths in harvesting cow elk,” said Folks.

Colowyo Mine is one of two fuel suppliers to Tri-State’s Craig Station. The mining operation employs about 220 people and is located approximately 10 miles north of Meeker, Colo.

Tri-Stater wins balloon ride at G&T-sponsored festival

Angela Poe, her partner, Shawnalea, and Chris, their hot air balloon pilot, prepare to take off.

Angela Poe, her partner, Shawnalea, and Chris, their hot air balloon pilot, prepare to take off.

Earlier this month, Tri-Stater Angela Poe and her partner, Shawnalea, were offered a rare opportunity to soar into the early morning sky in a hot air balloon, courtesy of Tri-State, which was awarded tickets for two people aboard one of the airships participating in the Moffat County Balloon Festival held Aug. 2-3 at Loudy Simpson Park in Craig, Colo.

Tri-State and Craig Station, in particular, are supporters and sponsors of this annual summer event.

Poe, who is a plant operator at Craig Station, wrote about her experience noting that she felt like she had “won the lotto,” when she learned that she had been selected for this unique aerial excursion. Originally, the free balloon ride was awarded to Tri-Stater, Janice Nicoletto, but she was unable to attend the event. Continue reading ‘Tri-Stater wins balloon ride at G&T-sponsored festival’

Craig Station employees celebrate 1 million work-hours without a lost-workday injury

Barry Ingold (left), senior vice president of production, presents a plaque commemorating 1 million hours without a lost-day injury to Craig Station’s Jim Nicoletto (center) and Paul Perez.

Barry Ingold (left), senior vice president of production, presents a plaque commemorating 1 million hours without a lost-day injury to Craig Station’s Jim Nicoletto (center) and Paul Perez.

Credit Tri-State’s 300 Craig Station employees with the hard work, focus and tenacity that it took to reach an unprecedented safety milestone of having worked for more than 1 million hours without a lost workday injury at the association’s largest (1,303-megawatt) generating facility.

Plant employees were honored for their accomplishment earlier this week (July 15) with a visit and presentations by executive vice president and general manager, Mike McInnes and Barry Ingold, newly appointed senior vice president of production.

Ingold presented a plaque recognizing this achievement to Paul Perez, lab technician and union safety steward for Craig Station and Jim Nicoletto, machinist mechanic and chief steward for the local chapter of the IBEW. Continue reading ‘Craig Station employees celebrate 1 million work-hours without a lost-workday injury’

Tri-State and its employees celebrate a season of giving

seasonofgivingTri-State and its workforce have brightened many lives in many ways this year – especially this recent holiday season.

As Christmas was celebrated last week, the Powering the West team felt it fitting to share some of the ways that the association and its employees have generously given their time and resources to help our neighbors in recent weeks.

Food Bank of the Rockies
In late November and early December, the east-side employee association organized a food drive at Tri-State headquarters and collected 400 pounds of food — equal to roughly 1600 meals — for Food Bank of the Rockies.

Craig Station employees helped raise nearly $1,000 this season for the community’s Salvation Army agency.

Craig Station employees helped raise nearly $1,000 this season for the community’s Salvation Army agency.

Salvation Army – Craig Services Unit
In mid-December, Craig Station employees volunteered for an entire weekend as Salvation Army bell ringers outside Craig’s City Market store. Many employees also brought their children along to foster volunteerism. Their efforts helped raise nearly $1,000 for the Salvation Army.

Ronald McDonald House Charities
Under the Touchstone Energy Cooperatives banner, Tri-State was once again a key sponsor of the Ronald McDonald House “Light the House” radiothon on KOSI radio, held Dec. 5. This year’s event set a new record, raising more than $170,000 for families in need at the Ronald McDonald Houses in the Denver area.

Nucla Cause & Montrose County Sheriff’s Posse
Employees of Nulca Station supported local families who are struggling financially by helping supply “Angel Baskets.” The baskets provide food, clothing, school supplies, prescription co-pays and more. Nucla Station also gave to the Montrose County Sheriff Posse’s West End Children’s Fund, which provides Christmas gifts to children of low-income households and to elderly citizens of the community. Continue reading ‘Tri-State and its employees celebrate a season of giving’

Tri-State employees brave brutal cold to keep the lights on — and win

Tri-State Pueblo-based linemen Reid Kelley (left) and Walter Greene work on a frosted structure on the Axil Basin to Hayden 138-kV line.

Tri-State Pueblo-based linemen Reid Kelley (left) and Walter Greene work on a frosted structure on the Axil Basin to Hayden 138-kV line.

The unofficial creed of the U.S. Postal Service claims that “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night” will prevent the mail from being delivered. Why “bitter cold” didn’t make the list is unclear, but any motto drafted for Tri-State employees who must venture outdoors to help keep the lights on would certainly describe their willingness to brave cruel winter weather.

During the recent brutal cold spell – during which temperatures around the association’s service territory plummeted to depths such as 2 below (Chama, N.M.), 12 below (Riverton, Wyo.), 16 below (Henry, Neb.) and even 36 below (Craig, Colo.) – no components of the Tri-State system experienced weather-related outages.

This was thanks, in part, to the hardy men and women who were undaunted by the conditions and continued to perform their operations and maintenance roles at the company’s generating plants, mining properties and transmission facilities.

“With more than a foot of snow and wind that helped drop the temperatures to 36 below zero in the area, our staff braved it all to keep the lights on,” noted Craig Station plant manager Rick Johnson. Continue reading ‘Tri-State employees brave brutal cold to keep the lights on — and win’

Craig Station employees make the most of downtime needed for unplanned outage

Dallas Cook, welder mechanic, tackles maintenance project in the rail loadout building during the Craig 1 outage.

Dallas Cook, welder mechanic, tackles maintenance project in the rail loadout building during the Craig 1 outage.

Credit Craig Station employees who are making the most out of a difficult situation that occurred on Sept. 7 when a water induction event on the plant’s Unit 1 turbine/generator caused significant damage resulting in an unscheduled outage that will keep that unit off line until mid-December.

“We’ve moved up our planned 2014 minor spring outage to right now to take advantage of the downtime while the turbine is being repaired to complete a fairly long list of maintenance and capital projects that we had planned for next year,” explained Rick Johnson, Craig Station’s plant manager.

“With the repairs that we are doing on the turbine, coupled with our rescheduled routine outage activities, we should be well positioned to reliably operate Unit 1 until its next scheduled major outage in 2016,” Johnson said.

Another potential silver lining to the unfortunate outage event was the discovery of a ground fault during a diagnostics check on the Unit 1 generator field that, if not corrected, could have caused a costly and lengthy electrical failure on the unit, according to engineering superintendent Dana Gregory. The corrective measure – a generator field rewind – will also be accomplished within the projected turbine repair timeframe. Continue reading ‘Craig Station employees make the most of downtime needed for unplanned outage’

Cooperative youth camp offers fun, leadership and co-op education

Nicholas Meyer from Kansas, explains the parts of his group’s electric grid project at the Youth Leadership Camp held last week.

Nicholas Meyer from Kansas, explains the parts of his group’s electric grid project at the Youth Leadership Camp held last week.

Nearly 100 high school-aged teens from Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma were lucky enough to enjoy most of last week away from the sweltering summer heat, among the whispering pines at Glen Eden Resort where they attended the 2013 Cooperative Youth Leadership Camp located north of Steamboat Springs, Colo.

The teenagers’ five-day enrollment and expenses at the camp are covered, thanks to the sponsorship and support of their local electric co-ops (including many Tri-State members), the Colorado Rural Electric Association and the Colorado Electric Educational Institute.

The annual co-ed camp event mixes the typical summertime fun and recreation, such as a swimming, hiking and whitewater rafting, with leadership, learning and team building activities. Continue reading ‘Cooperative youth camp offers fun, leadership and co-op education’

Board and guests tour Colowyo Mine and Craig Station

Nearly 100 Tri-State and member co-op directors, staff and affiliated guests hit the road earlier this week (July 8-9) for a two-day field trip to northwest Colorado to tour the Colowyo Mine and Craig Station.

Board and guests were treated to a bus tour of the Colowyo Mine. Shown is one of the 240-ton haul trucks at the site.

Board and guests were treated to a bus tour of the Colowyo Mine. Shown is one of the 240-ton haul trucks at the site.

For many of the directors and membership guests, this was their first opportunity to gain a first-hand look at the state’s largest surface coal mine, which was acquired by Western Fuels-Colorado, a Tri-State subsidiary, near the end of 2011. Colowyo Mine is one of two fuel suppliers to Tri-State’s nearby 1,311-megawatt Craig Station.

The Tri-State-sponsored visit to Colowyo Mine kicked off Monday afternoon with a motor coach tour of the vast operation. Employees of the mine boarded the two guest buses and provided an overview of mine operations and equipment, as well as fielding questions during the 90-minute tour.

The Colowyo Mine is located about 10 miles north of Meeker and is electrically-served by Tri-State member system White River Electric Association (Meeker, Colo.). Continue reading ‘Board and guests tour Colowyo Mine and Craig Station’

G&T’s fly ash repurposed for construction, energy industries

Fly ash produced at Escalante (shown) and Craig stations is being recycled for a variety of construction applications.

Fly ash produced at Escalante (shown) and Craig stations is being recycled for a variety of construction applications.

A byproduct of burning coal at Tri-State’s baseload power plants is a residual material known as fly ash, which is captured from the exhaust of the boilers and then must be transported to nearby landfills to be treated as waste.

However, over the past 20 years, Tri-State and other electric utilities, working with specialized companies, have steadily increased the amount of coal combustion products that have become ingredients in the production of concrete, wallboard, mortars, stuccos, blocks, bricks, shingles and a variety of other building materials.

According to statistics from a major marketer of coal combustion products, the use of fly ash and other coal combustion products have increased more than 50 percent in the last decade.

Steve Powell, Tri-State’s senior fuels engineer, said Tri-State’s fly ash sales were good in 2012, owing in large part to improved demand from the construction industry. Powell explained that much of the association’s fly ash was being used as an additive to concrete for highway paving. “The fly ash mixed with the concrete makes it stronger and more resistant to roadway deterioration during freeze and thaw cycles,” he said. Continue reading ‘G&T’s fly ash repurposed for construction, energy industries’

Local math class takes a field trip to Craig Station

Algebra-Class-tours-Craig-station_07Students from Moffat County High School’s algebra class visited Craig Station last week for a tour and presentations involving many plant employees including coal handling superintendent Tim Osborn, mechanical engineer Rick Carson, electrical engineer Brandon Haddock, plant manager Rick Johnson (pictured) and maintenance superintendent Bill Johnston.

The goal of the visit was to show the importance of math and science studies and how they are useful in future careers including work at a power plant. Tri-State provided a pizza lunch for the group.

Once again, Craig Station employees lead Moffat County United Way giving

Craig-Station-United-WayThanks in large part to Tri-State’s Craig Station, Trapper Mining, Colowyo Mine and Twentymile Coal Co. and their employees, Moffat County is in the top 10 percent of United Way donations per capita in the entire nation.

The companies were among those honored Feb. 26 during the United Way’s annual awards luncheon in Craig. Tri-State was recognized for the sixth consecutive year as the largest single donor during the 2012 fundraising cycle, contributing $87,334 to the local United Way chapter.

Craig Station maintenance planner/scheduler Steve Martin serves as president of the Moffat County United Way board. “Craig Station has increased our donations every year for the past five years,” he said. “The younger employees have really stepped up and it’s a big source of pride for us.”

Funds raised for United Way are distributed to local agencies such as Boys and Girls Club of Craig and the Moffat County Cancer Society to fund programs that better the health, education and quality of living for community members.

A total of $460,000 was raised by the community in 2012. Tri-State policy allows employees’ pre-tax donations to United Way to be matched dollar for dollar.

Math and science students tour plant and mine at Craig

Plant manager Rick Johnson (left) was joined by John Kirk, son of Ray Kirk, environmental supervisor at the station, for a presentation to high students who visited the plant last week.

On November 2, staff members of Craig Station and the nearby Trapper Mine hosted a program of tours, presentations and question and answer sessions for about 30 visiting high school students and their educators from Grand Junction, as well as group of local students from Moffat County High School.

This second annual tour of these facilities in northwestern Colorado is part of the Grand Junction-based students’ curriculum as enrollees in the John McConnel Math and Science Center of Western Colorado, which is also based in Grand Junction. The center is focused on providing students with first-hand exposure to people working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

In addition to tours of Craig Station and Trapper Mine, the students attended presentations hosted by Rick Johnson, plant manager and Jim Mattern, president and general manager of the mine. The plant tour was conducted by Ron Gauthier, shift supervisor.

At the Craig Station presentation, John Kirk, son of Ray Kirk, an environmental supervisor at the plant, shared some of his experiences as a member of the Merchant Marines. The recent Moffat County High School graduate is enrolled in the engineering program at the Merchant Marine Academy.

Local community college students visit Craig Station

Craig Station personnel recently welcomed the Colorado Northwest Community College adult learners group to the plant for a tour provided by operations superintendent Marv Weible (pictured far right) and shift supervisor Bryan Gale. Included in the group were the mothers of Tri-State employees Don Griffin, Nadine Ritchie-Wheeler, Rocky Lopez and Steve Martin, and former employee Ron Stoffle.

“We all learned a great deal and left with a greater appreciation of what Tri-State does for our local economy and community,” said Mary Kay Morris, director of community education/public information for the college, “and our students enjoyed seeing where family and friends work.”

[Click on the photo for a higher-resolution version.]


Energy for America rally rolls into Craig, Colorado

Seven states, 7,000 miles and 10,000 signatures. That’s the planned itinerary of the Energy for America bus tour that stopped in Craig, Colo., earlier this week at the approximate half-way point of its cross-country trek. The campaign promotes the use of domestic natural resources and illustrates the value to the communities that benefit from their use. Situated in a resource-rich part of northwest Colorado, Craig is a great example of what energy development and electricity production means to a community.

The Energy for America initiative was launched earlier this month by the American Energy Alliance (AEA), in conjunction with the Institute for Energy Research and Americans for Prosperity, in an effort to “educate Americans about the extent of the nation’s natural resource base and the perversity of federal energy policies that avoid reliable, affordable, proven domestic energy sources and embrace unreliable, expensive and unproven energy sources.”

AEA president Tom Pyle spoke to the Craig City Council on Oct. 25 and offered a resolution in support of domestic energy production and job creation. “The United States has the largest energy reserves on Earth,” he said. “Our supplies of natural gas, oil, coal and hydropower can supply this nation with all the energy we need for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, anti-energy activists, both inside and outside the government want to make energy scarce and more expensive by limiting our access, increasing energy taxes and regulating America’s energy producers.” Continue reading ‘Energy for America rally rolls into Craig, Colorado’

Water and energy conference attracts business leaders from across Colorado

The operations of Tri-State's Craig Station provide an excellent example of the relationship between water use and power generation.

There are many elements that drive Colorado’s economy and help sustain a healthy and prosperous lifestyle for its residents, but you could make a strong argument that water and energy top the list. That’s why more than 200 participants from across the state – including several Tri-State representatives – are gathering in Steamboat Springs this week (Aug. 23-25) for the only professional conference of the year to focus on the combined water and power sectors, called “Water and Energy, Meeting Today’s Challenges and Tomorrow’s Opportunities.”

The event is a joint effort between the Colorado Water Congress, a leading voice in the state’s water community, and Colorado Coal and Power Generation, a group representing major coal providers, power suppliers and local governments. Tri-State, Western Fuels Association and Trapper Mine are among the conference sponsors.

U.S. Congressman Cory Gardner, a life-long Coloradoan, is serving as the conference's keynote speaker.

As to the focus of the three-day conference, a joint statement by the two organizing groups sums it up best: “People, water and energy supply are inextricably linked. In coming years, our ability to provide clean, affordable and reliable energy and water will be further challenged by issues such as population and demand growth, a changing regulatory environment, climate change and financial limitations.”

Tri-State executive vice president and general manager Ken Anderson is participating on a panel discussion – “The Water-Energy Nexus: What are Our Common Interests?” – which will examine the balance between the availability and management of water resources and its use in power generation. Other conference subjects include topics such as “Emerging Colorado Legislation,” “Integrating Technology as a Stepping-Stone to the Future” and “Carbon Emission Control Research.”

Ken Anderson, Executive Vice President/General Manager

Another highlight of the event will be the presence of keynote speaker U.S. Congressman Cory Gardner, a fifth-generation Coloradoan who currently sits on the Congressional Subcommittee for Energy and Power. The conference activities are scheduled to conclude on Thursday afternoon with tours of both Craig Station and Trapper Mine, which are located about 40 miles west of Steamboat Springs in northwest Colorado.

Trapper Mine featured in national industry publication

Tri-State’s Craig Station in northwest Colorado relies on two sources of coal to fuel its three units:  Trapper Mine, which is adjacent to and was developed for the plant, and ColoWyo Mine, which provides the balance of the coal by way of railcar from a mine located in member co-op White River Electric’s service territory.

Trapper and its historic 2006 landslide, which was a catalyst for new equipment, processes and production at the mine, was the subject of a recent feature article in the industry publication “Coal Age.”  Following is an abridged version of the lengthy feature story.

Trapper Mine doubles production with a new fleet of equipment

Not long ago, Trapper Mine was almost entirely dependent on its three identical draglines for all of its overburden removal needs.  Following a massive landslide in October 2006, Trapper redeveloped its mining plans and is now producing more coal with a mixture of new mobile surface equipment and draglines than ever before in its long history. Tri-State is a part owner of the Trapper Mine, and 100 percent of its coal is shipped to the adjacent Craig Station.  Trapper is contractually committed to mining more than 2.3 million tons per year through 2020, which is why the mine has purchased and deployed a more flexible mobile surface mining fleet.  Craig Station stacks Trapper’s coal and blends it on site.  “We work closely with Tri-State and communicate what we’re doing as we learn what they need on a daily basis,” said Stephen Hinkemeyer, Trapper Mine’s production and engineering manager.

100 year slide

On the morning of October 8, 2006, following unprecedented amounts of rain, Trapper experienced what the Colorado Geologic Survey classified as the third largest landslide in Colorado history.  In seconds, roughly 225 to 250 acres of the mountain — more than 35 million cubic yards — suddenly slid about 400 feet, covering haul roads and exposing coal blocks and everything else in its path to an average depth of 100 feet.  Trapper had a couple of dozers, drills and a Cat 5130 in the pit.  As the ground stabilized, Trapper employees found one generator that had been tossed around, tipped over and was raised 80 feet into the air.  Miraculously, nobody was hurt.

Fear of future landslides led Trapper to partner with a geotechnical firm and redouble its surveying efforts to figure out why that specific area had failed.

Prior to the slide, Trapper’s remaining reserve base was approximately 14 million tons.  However, the slide covered 10 million tons of those reserves.  Under contract to make deliveries to the Craig Station, Trapper had little choice but to actually mine in the slide area.

Slide hastens truck-shovel move

With stripping ratios growing prior to the landslide, Trapper had already begun evaluating the transition to a mobile stripping fleet and had begun using truck-shovel pre-stripping operations ahead of the draglines.  To fund the purchase of the trucks, loaders and necessary equipment, Trapper developed a workable mine plan and negotiated an agreement with Tri-State and the mine’s other owners that significantly increased production under long term contracts.

The purchase of new surface mining equipment, including a Le Tourneau L-2350 front-end loader with a 53-cubic yard bucket and four Komatsu 830E haul trucks, allowed Trapper to get back 10 million tons of reserve covered in the slide area and more than double overall reserves, since there are areas with coal that’s too deep for draglines to access.

Today, Trapper mines down to the L seam with the mobile equipment.  The draglines follow behind, picking up the M, Q and R seams.  Shovel cuts dig down the hill at a 7,100-foot elevation in 30-foot drops.  Trapper takes the slide material first with mobile equipment, then moves the dragline down the hill behind after it removes the material.

Once on the main block of the landslide, Trapper’s geo-technical analysts determined that, because of the thickness of the seams, the mine should be able to recover more than 50 percent of the affected coal.  In practice, however, Trapper is actually recovering about 75 to 80 percent of that coal because as it slid, it moved almost in unison.

Tri-State operated power plants provide a nearly $600 million value annually to towns, counties

Powering more than homes and businesses

Escalante Station, Prewitt, NM

In addition to keeping the lights on for its 44 member systems serving 1.5 million member-consumers, Tri-State continues to support economic growth in Colorado’s Western Slope and northern New Mexico through the operation of three major coal-fired power plants: Craig Station, Nucla Station and Escalante Generating Station.
The economic and fiscal impacts of its generating stations and affiliated mines were the subject of a recent study conducted by Development Research Partners on behalf of Tri-State. The study focused on the direct and indirect impacts of the previously mentioned power plants related to the gross output of the regions, which envelop three communities and eight counties.
Combined, the facilities provide $594 million annually in direct and indirect value to the communities and counties in which they are located.  Additionally, more than 1,240 individuals are employed (directly and indirectly) by the facilities.

Impressive milestone achieved by Craig Station employees

Craig Station has been the subject of a lot of good press lately — including recent recognition as the 2011 large business of the year by the Craig Chamber of Commerce. And now, the facility’s employees can be proud of yet another celebrated achievement.

Last week, employees at Craig Station celebrated 365 days without any days away from work related to an injury. According to Tim Osborn, shift supervisor, this is an important milestone and a hard-earned achievement.

“It’s a long time coming,” said Osborn. “We’ve never done this before — gone one year with nobody taking a day away from work because of injury.”

Tri-State tops Moffat County United Way giving

The recent efforts of Tri-State’s Craig Station employees put the association at the top of the Moffat County (Colo.) United Way’s list of 2011 contributors, with the workforce giving a combined amount totaling $84,512. “We are fortunate to have so many generous employees working at Tri-State and we are appreciative of the matching funds approved by our board of directors,” said plant manager Rick Johnson.

Johnson, along with Craig Station maintenance planner/scheduler Steve Martin, attended the organization’s awards luncheon last week at the Craig Holiday Inn, where they received recognition of behalf of all their co-workers. Martin also currently serves as vice chairman on the Moffat County United Way’s board of directors.

Coming in second on the list of contributors with total giving of $66,386 was Colowyo Coal Company and its employees. Trapper Mining, Inc., the coal mining operation adjacent to Craig Station — which is partially owned by Tri-State — was the third highest contributor at $65,572.

Craig Station recognized as 2011 large business of the year

Tri-State’s Craig Station took home top honors during the Craig Chamber of Commerce’s State of the County 2011 event on March 9th where it was named the large business of the year.

Plant manager Rick Johnson, who accepted the award of behalf of Tri-State, spoke to the benefits the facility provides to the area. “Craig Station plays an important role the economy of Craig, Moffat County and northwest Colorado,” he said. “Without Craig Station using coal from Trapper Mine and Colowyo Mine and then producing clean, economical and environmentally-friendly electrical power, Moffat County would lose the strongest corner stone on which our economy is based.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was the featured speaker for the chamber event. Earlier in the day, the governor’s chief of staff, Roxane White, and T.J. Deora, director of the Governor’s Energy Office, toured Craig Station.

Check out upcoming Spring 2011 issue of Network magazine for more information on the economic and fiscal impacts Craig Station and Tri-State’s other coal-based power plants make to their local communities and counties.

Seismic testing team makes waves near Craig Station

Near Craig, Colo., the Rocky Mountain Carbon Capture and Sequestration team is researching the potential for carbon dioxide storage underground, or sequestration. The project will evaluate the sequestration potential of deep saline aquifers on a large, Laramide-age structure south of Craig.

The project is important due to the location of Craig Station and has regional implications because the Entrada and Dakota formations are widespread in the Rocky Mountains and Colorado Plateau. Given the rock formations’ size, it conceivably could serve as a regional sequestration sink for future power plants, natural gas processing plants, cement plants, oil shale development and other industries that are a significant part of western Colorado’s economy.

The team completed seismic testing last month on potential well sites near Craig Station and Trapper Mine. Receivers, called geophones, are installed at the surface to register echoes from geological layers.  To create the echoes, or waves, special “vibraseis” trucks are used. The trucks are equipped with large pads that send vibrations through the earth.

To handle the winter conditions, dozers, owned and operated by a local construction company, were used to clear the snow from the lines and position the vibraseis vehicles. The construction company also provided tracked trucks called Haaglunds to carry the seismograph and cables and snowmobiles for moving people around in off-road conditions.

The next step is to assimilate this data, along with data collected by the Colorado Geologic Survey from wells previously drilled in the area, to create a geologic model of the subsurface. This will allow the University of Utah to develop computer models simulating injection of CO2 into the site in three perspective sandstone formations at depths ranging from 7,000’ to 9,500’ below surface. Later in the summer a well will be drilled to a depth of 9,600’ gathering detailed rock, fluid and petrophysical data from the site.

Project partners include Colorado Geological Survey, Arizona Geological Survey, Utah Geological Survey, New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources, Tri-State G&T and Schlumberger Carbon Services.

Hickenlooper gets first-hand look at Craig Station

On Monday (Aug.2) Denver Mayor – and Colorado gubernatorial candidate – John Hickenlooper (center in the photo) and some of his campaign staff members stopped by Craig Station for a personal tour, as part of a two-week long statewide “fact finding” tour. Plant operations superintendent Marv Weible (left) showed the guests around the facility, and was joined by CREA executive director Kent Singer and Tri-State’s senior manager of government relations Dave Lock (right).

Hickenlooper spent an hour and a half at Craig Station, his first-ever tour of a coal-based power plant. As a former geologist, he expressed a lot of interest in the inner-workings of the facility and was especially interested in an ongoing project in the region to determine the feasibility of storing carbon dioxide in underground formations on the Western Slope.

Lock reports that Hickenlooper made some very encouraging comments, including that he understands the need for coal to remain a part of the generation mix and, that as a former owner of several restaurants, he understands regulatory red-tape and has fought to diminish unnecessary requirements.

Craig Station’s coal supply operations featured

The major mining operations that fuel Tri-State’s Craig Station, including Trapper Mine in which the G&T holds an ownership stake, were the subjects of a recent three-part newspaper feature on coal mining in Moffat County, Colo.

In addition to including a number of photos of the facilities, the Craig Daily Press articles involved personal interviews with those who work in the coal industry, as well as facts and figures relating to the impact on the region’s economy.
To view the series, follow these links:

Craig station employees help top fundraising goal

In a year plagued with economic woes, budget cutbacks and financial strain on many households, Moffat County (Colo.) United Way faced an uphill battle for its 2010 fundraising campaign. In a luncheon last week in Craig to celebrate a record year for the campaign, United Way campaign chairman Frank Hanel said he was proud to be a member of a community that stepped up to the challenge.

Tri-State’s Craig Station employees donated more than $81,000 to the cause. “I’m proud of our employees’ generosity,” said plant manager Rick Johnson, who also pointed out that the G&T matched employee contributions dollar for dollar. Steve Martin, Tri-State planner and scheduler, said trying financial times prompted employees to step up and donate $10,000 more than the year before. “I think a lot of people realized how lucky they were that they had good paying jobs,” he said.

The 2010 campaign raised more than $515,000, exceeding its goal of $485,000 and setting a new record. Several organizations — including Tri-State — were honored at the luncheon for having employees who banded together, contributing small deductions from their paychecks to add up to a record sum to benefit Moffat County health and human service groups.

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