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State requires marking towers

Wyoming is working to prevent low-flying aviators from crashing into the hundreds of towers that wind-energy speculators have erected to measure development potential. ...This spring, the state began requiring all new met towers over 50 feet tall, or those that change ownership or lease, to be marked so they're visible in daylight.

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming is working to prevent low-flying aviators from crashing into the hundreds of towers that wind-energy speculators have erected to measure development potential.

Wind developers put up the meteorological towers -- known as met towers -- to measure a location's wind speed, direction and turbulence. The towers generally range from 164 feet to 197 feet tall, which means they're not subject to federal marking requirements for towers at least 200 feet tall.

This spring, the state began requiring all new met towers over 50 feet tall, or those that change ownership or lease, to be marked so they're visible in daylight from at least 2,000 feet away. Developers must also register the locations of their towers with the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

As of this week, developers had registered more than 150 of the towers in the five counties that make up the state's southeast corner, according to the department's database. The database is publicly accessible on the Department of Transportation's Web site.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department sought the new marking requirements to make sure aerial expeditions such as wildlife surveys... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

CHEYENNE -- Wyoming is working to prevent low-flying aviators from crashing into the hundreds of towers that wind-energy speculators have erected to measure development potential.

Wind developers put up the meteorological towers -- known as met towers -- to measure a location's wind speed, direction and turbulence. The towers generally range from 164 feet to 197 feet tall, which means they're not subject to federal marking requirements for towers at least 200 feet tall.

This spring, the state began requiring all new met towers over 50 feet tall, or those that change ownership or lease, to be marked so they're visible in daylight from at least 2,000 feet away. Developers must also register the locations of their towers with the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

As of this week, developers had registered more than 150 of the towers in the five counties that make up the state's southeast corner, according to the department's database. The database is publicly accessible on the Department of Transportation's Web site.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department sought the new marking requirements to make sure aerial expeditions such as wildlife surveys don't hit the towers. The towers have been a concern since they first started appearing, said Daryl Lutz, the department's wildlife management coordinator for the Casper region.

He said the department conducts low flights to monitor everything from antelope to raptor nests.

"Knowing where they're at, before the flight's initiated, and then of course, now marking them while in the air, is going to contribute to a safer flight for our personnel," Lutz said.

Officials say locating and marking the met towers could also prove beneficial to low-flying agricultural planes or the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services, which sometimes conducts low-altitude flights to hunt problem animals.

The law doesn't specify how the towers must be marked. Dennis Byrne, head of aeronautics for WYDOT, said some people paint their towers with orange and white striping or put orange balls on the wire tethers.

"If you can see it from 2,000 feet at daylight hours, then it meets the requirements," he said.

Karyn Coppinger, chairwoman of the Wyoming Power Producers Coalition, said the cost of marking the towers is nominal and considered part of doing business.

"It's actually fairly standard operating procedure to do some kind of marking for aviation safety," she said.

Coppinger said different companies use different methods to mark their towers, but generally don't use lighting unless the tower is taller than 200 feet and subject to federal rules.

"We don't light them so we don't cause a nighttime visual impact," Coppinger said.



Source: http://www.casperstartribun...

JUL 3 2009
http://www.windaction.org/posts/20982-state-requires-marking-towers
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