Library filed under Impact on Landscape from Wyoming
Driving Interstate 80 home to Lander from Cheyenne recently, I crested the commanding rise in Carbon County looking west toward Walcott Junction, just a few miles after beginning the descent from the Elk Mountain plateau. From this wonderful spot, you can see more than 25 miles toward Sinclair and Rawlins and gaze south up the Saratoga valley and north toward the Shirley Basin.
Hard winters usually limit animals to certain areas where wind blows snow away and food is available. If those are the same places where turbines exist, and elk or antelope avoid turbines, it could hurt the winter survival rate of the herds, Beck said. "It is an area of research that we don't have a lot of information on.
The county requests the most restrictive development criteria be placed upon enXco uniformly on lands under BLM administration as well as privately-owned and state-owned lands. The project will encompass a total of 7,652 acres -- 48 percent of which is privately owned, 44 percent under the BLM's administration.
U.S. Bureau of Land Management archeologist Pat Walker met with several state and federal historical and cultural organizations in Rawlins. The purpose was to develop an agreement between the Power Company of Wyoming, the developer of the 1,000-wind turbine farm located south of Rawlins, and the historical and cultural societies.
Here's what we think: This wind farm is a game-changer. This cannot be understated. The Chokecherry Sierra Madre wind farm redefines Carbon County and, although it provides short- and, arguably, long-term monitory gains, it doesn't furnish enough benefits to raze our outdoors culture.
"The proposed ‘windmills' will not be small and quaint - there will be FOUR WIND TURBINES ATLEAST 45 feet tall plus a building and fence to secure the power plant," reads the declaration for the petition, led by Bondurant resident Keith Scharff. The request for a petition was attached to a letter sent to property owners within 1,000 feet of the Ordway property.
The Bureau of Land Management released the draft of the environmental impact statement, or EIS, for the 1,000-turbine Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind project planned by Power Co. of Wyoming LLC.
The commissioners voted 5-0 Nov. 15 at a special meeting to approve a revised draft of permitting guidelines. Those guidelines reiterate state statute in most instances but differ in a few. ...The commissioners also increased the setback to 10 times the height of the tower from a "permanent" residential dwelling or occupied structure.
Land use regulation almost always triggers property-rights objection. In this case, a vocal minority of the eight landowners that have signed with the promoter assert that their "private property rights" should let them force industrial development into the Northern Laramie Range. This is nonsense. The U.S. Supreme Court settled the issue nearly a century ago: Reasonable restriction on land use, established through appropriate public process, is not a "taking" of private property.
Before you obediently give over this state to a massive waste of money and environmental damage, research the turbines and learn why this cannot work. (And not the page the sellers put out -- they want money and really don't appear to care about honesty. There are many letters to editors in other states from people who were lied to by the wind developers.) Then advocate for power that does work, does not leave the East Coast in the dark and is commercially viable.
The BLM's Rock Springs and Rawlins field offices are seeking public input as part of a planning review of the resource management plans that will guide wind energy and other development on public lands in southern Wyoming. BLM officials said the agency is responsible for ensuring that the scenic values of the public lands within the two field office regions are considered before allowing uses that may have negative impacts.
In this surreal debate, perhaps it's worth remembering that though it has been four centuries since Cervantes' character Sancho pointed out to Don Quixote, "Look, your worship ... what we see there are not giants but windmills, and what seem to be their arms are the vanes that turned by the wind make the millstone go," we still must look at things honestly for what they are, not just for what our fantasies want them to be.
Natrona County has only 11 of the 770 wind turbines in Wyoming, but their close proximity to Casper makes them a distinctive feature (they are impossible to miss), and probably will be for decades to come. Yet neither the county or Casper have any specific visual guidelines in their planning regulations concerning wind towers.
I returned to Wyoming last summer after a 10-month trip. Arriving home, I was surprised and dismayed to see that tall, futuristic-appearing windmills had popped up in various parts of the Cowboy State ...the idea of windmills has not received thorough analysis. Willy-nilly construction of windmills is filled with unintended consequences harmful to Wyoming and other states in the Rocky Mountain West.
I have watched wind farms pop up all over southwest and southern Wyoming seemingly overnight. The irony is none of this power belongs to Wyoming. It is all for the good of other states. Why Wyoming? Is it because we are just a bunch of dumb cowboys and this is all our land is good for? A group wants to build a wind farm on top of White Mountain again with no longterm benefit to the people of Wyoming. Are the states that don't want this in their back yard stealing our scenic view and possibly even our wind?
The developer of a proposed wind farm on White Mountain has scaled back the probable number of wind turbines in favor of a larger turbine size for the project. If fully built, as few as 185 wind turbines could be constructed on scenic White Mountain instead of the 237 under study by federal administrators, company officials said Wednesday night during a public meeting.
Judy Mattinson expressed horror at the idea of spoiling the "sweet, peaceful viewshed" of the escarpment with wind turbines. "I can't see how you can move forward without impacting the beauty" of the area, she said. "The damage will irrevocable and unavoidable. "Anybody who has not visited the mountain in the spring and seen the wildflowers ... can't know how beautiful it is," she continued. "And it won't be that way again."
This isn't a "clash of cultures" between "longtime ranch families" and "wealthy newcomers," and it's pure fantasy to say that anti-wind sentiment in the oil and gas industry motivates opposition to industrialization of the Northern Laramie Range. ...Industrialization of these mountains will destroy the business opportunities and property value of an unsullied Western mountain landscape, and the nonmonetary value of open space, silence and a black sky at night.
Wind farms are becoming a familiar site along Wyoming's interstates and highways. Residents know wind development is out there and that there is a lot of it. What they do not know is how the industry will alter the state's landscape in the future.