Cheyenne, Wyo. – Two bills are being drafted that would change the way wind energy is taxed and the revenue is distributed in Wyoming.
State Republican Rep. Tim Stubson, of Casper, is drafting a bill that would combine the $1-per-megawatt-hour wind energy tax and the sales tax on wind energy equipment into a single $3-per-megawatt-hour excise tax.
Stubson tells the Casper Star-Tribune that his proposal would bring in slightly more revenue and encourage growth in Wyoming's wind energy industry.
Laramie, WY – Verizon Communications confirms that it has secured an option on 160 acres of land about a half a mile north of Laramie. It's the possible site for what's called a mega data center. A lawmaker familiar with the proposal says the center could be a six billion dollar project that would employ as many as 200 people. But Verizon spokeswoman Lynn Staggs says, if Verizon does decide to build the data center, it would not be that big at the start.
Laramie, WY – The largest elk herd in Yellowstone National Park continues to see declining numbers. From 2009 to 2010 there was a 24 percent decrease in the herd's population. Since wolves were introduced to the park in 1995 the herd has shrunk by 70 percent. Yellowstone biologist, Doug Smith, says wolves are not the only reason for this change and he points out that the herd spends some time in Montana where officials have increased hunting to get the population down. But, still Smith says the elk numbers should come back up in the future.
Laramie, Wyo. – Wyoming Governor Matt Mead delivered his first State of the State address to a joint session of the Wyoming Legislature this morning. Mead advocated a conservative approach to spending, and focused primarily on the state economy, business development, education, and health care.
Cheyenne, Wyo. – A special committee of the legislature heard arguments Wednesday about a newly sworn-in lawmaker's eligibility to serve.
Representative Matt Greene from Laramie defeated Seth Carson in the election last November. Carson formally appealed the election, saying Greene did not meet residency requirements. Under the Wyoming Constitution, a person must live in a district for a year before they can run for office from that district. But Greene was serving in Afghanistan for part of the year preceding the election.