By Bob Beck
Cheyenne, Wy – The Governor is calling for a tax on wind energy and wants to suspend the ability of energy companies to use eminent domain to construct wind collector lines for a year. Both plans were part of Governor Dave Freudenthal's wind energy package that he is asking the legislature to support. Wind energy groups are opposed to such taxes saying that it could keep the industry from developing in Wyoming. But Freudenthal says that industry also uses Wyoming roads and schools and needs to be part of paying for such things. He is proposing a three dollar per megawatt excise tax. 40-percent of that money will be sent to local governments. Freudenthal says counties are facing impacts from wind power.
"We have to answer the question that counties have consistently asked. What's in it for us? What is it that a county commissioner can say to his constituency as they watch roads gets built and these activities go on."
The Governor's proposal to delay eminent domain on wind projects for a year is so that the legislature can study the issue. The Governor also wants to include wind power under Wyoming's Industrial Siting Act and establish minimum standards for wind facilities and allow counties to develop tougher standards.