Library filed under Impact on Views from Wyoming
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.
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.
This "visual inventory" is being done through a series of public meetings so the scenic value of these lands can be considered prior to the approval of future wind energy projects. Developers have been constructing on average 200 or more wind turbines for the past several years, and the industry is looking at adding at least another 3,000 wind turbines during the next decade.
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.
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.
"Wyoming is not only a recipient for proposals for transmission, we're also (electricity) generators," Lahti said. And wind turbines, which can reach 400 feet, will dominate the views in parts of Wyoming unless state and federal governments, historical preservation organizations, tribes and industry avoid cluttering the landscape before they build, he said.
In southeast Wyoming, they've pledged 1 million acres of land in hopes that wind farm developers will choose them, says Scott Zimmerman, a farmer and rancher in Laramie County. But Susie Lemaster, who is not an owner of vast acreage, built a house with her husband in the country four years ago near Horse Creek Road. She doesn't want to see the neighboring land filled with 500- foot towers topped with rotating blades, making electricity.