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Feb 3, 2013 - The Associated Press

Flaming Gorge gets hovercraft

MANILA, Utah -- Flaming Gorge Reservoir is welcoming a long-awaited amphibious hovercraft meant to keep the dam secure and assist in rescue operations.

The Daggett County Sheriff's Office says the craft is arrived at about 10 a.m. Saturday at the Lucerne Valley Marina Complex outside Manila, Utah.

The hovercraft uses air to float above water, ice or land. Officials say it will help them access the dam during winter months when normal boats are dry docked or ice blocks access.

Deputies say they want to have more ice rescue options especially as burbot fishing becomes more popular.

The hovercraft hails from Washington state and was purchased with a Homeland Security grant.

The huge reservoir straddles the Utah-Wyoming border.

State's rig count down by one

HOUSTON -- Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by 11 this week to 1,764.

The Houston-based company said in its weekly report Friday that 1,332 rigs were exploring for oil and 428 for gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, Baker Hughes counted 1,997 working rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained seven rigs, Oklahoma six, Alaska and California gained three and North Dakota two.

Louisiana lost three rigs, while Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Wyoming each lost one. The count in Colorado, New Mexico and West Virginia was unchanged.

The rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.

Park looks for permit extension

GILLETTE -- The company working to build the Two Elk Energy Park in northeast Wyoming is seeking a two-year extension of its permit for the site while it secures financing for the $1 billion project.

North American Power Group of Greenwood Village, Colo., has been working on the project near Wright since late 1997. The company envisions the site will generate electricity using various renewable energy sources as well as natural gas. Carbon dioxide sequestration also is planned.

The company had hoped to begin construction of a 325-megawatt plant last April. The company is now looking to start construction in 2014.

Part of the financing will be done through taxable industrial development bonds.

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