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Briefs -- Cascade Natural Gas Co., Wyoming Lease Sale

Washington state regulators on Thursday approved Cascade Natural Gas Co.'s first general rate case in nearly a decade as part of a $4 million settlement agreement. Higher rates, averaging about $1.39/month more, go into effect Sept. 1, following the action by the Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC). Kennewick, WA-based Cascade originally sought a $10.5 million (4.17%) general increase in rates; the settlement reduced the hike to 1.6%. Cascade's last general rate hike was in 2007. In addition to the utility and UTC staff, parties to the settlement included Northwest Industrial Gas Users, The Energy Project, and the public counsel unit of the Washington Attorney General's Office.

Wyoming recently sold oil and natural gas leases on 39,445 acres earning $1.9 million for the state's trust beneficiaries, the Office of State Lands and Investments said. Of 195 parcels offered, 137 received successful bids. The state agency administers 3.5 million surface and 4.1 million subsurface acres, which are entrusted to Wyoming for 25 separate entities, the largest being the state school (K-12) system. The next Wyoming auction is to be held Nov. 2 in Cheyenne.

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