By Renny MacKay
Cheyenne, WY – A tax on wind production suffered a serious defeat today. A state legislative committee voted against two bills that would have taxed electricity produced by wind farms.
The bills are similar and the sponsor of one of them, Senator John Schiffer, says having the support of the committee would have helped his cause. But he says the defeat will not necessarily prevent the bills from coming up at the legislative session in February. He says the idea is not dead: "No, but it's kind of limping along I'd say. It's too bad, it's a great industry and we can cultivate it, but we don't need to give them a free ride while we're doing it. I think they should bear some of the costs that are associated with that industry."
Schiffer's bill would have sent some revenue to counties where wind farms are located. It would also set aside money to help protect wildlife impacted by wind farms.
Opponents of the bills said they would drive the wind industry away from Wyoming and would have increased the cost of electricity for consumers.