Aug. 27, 2011 – More than 110 people attended two open houses in Rawlins and Saratoga earlier this week to learn more about Power Company of Wyoming LLC’s nationally significant Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project.
The meetings were hosted by Bureau of Land Management to highlight information in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the project – which BLM published in July after more than three years of environmental analysis – and to gather written comments for consideration in BLM’s Final Environmental Impact Statement, expected to be published next year.
Both BLM and PCW representatives were on hand to talk with attendees, explain exhibits and answer an array of questions. Materials available at the meetings covered everything from how and where the 2,000-3,000 MW wind farm will be built, to what the wind project may look like from various public vantage points, to how the federal environmental analysis will proceed.
In addition, dozens of people noted their enthusiasm for the multiple benefits the wind project will bring to Carbon County, including at least 114 permanent jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue over the project’s lifetime, and additional business opportunities for their hotels, restaurants, hair salons, banks, surveying firms, and various supply chain industries – both during and after construction.
Avian radar system
Considerable local optimism also was expressed regarding the wind project’s ability to help diversify the area’s economy and help keep young adults from leaving the county for jobs elsewhere. Many people said they were pleased to learn that the planned railroad distribution center – which will allow the wind turbine components to be delivered directly to the site by train to avoid usage of county roads – would be available for other businesses to use as well.
PCW also talked with people about its comprehensive conservation plan designed to avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts to the site’s existing wildlife and ecosystems. Parked outside each event venue, PCW’s avian radar system proved to be a very popular stop for attendees who were interested in understanding how the radar works and how the system is helping PCW gather science-based data that may then be considered when siting turbines and designing an Eagle Conservation Plan and Avian/Bat Protection Plan.
BLM accepted written comments at the open house meetings and will continue to accept written comments on the Draft EIS through Oct. 19.
To review the information in the Draft EIS, visit the BLM website at http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/NEPA/documents/rfo/Chokecherry.html.
To share project support and comments, contact BLM at WYMail_PCW_windfarm@blm.gov or by mail at:
Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project
Pam Murdock, Project Manager
BLM Rawlins Field Office
1300 North Third Street
Rawlins, WY 82301
For more information about PCW and the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, visit www.powercompanyofwyoming.com.
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