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With county approval, Pioneer wind farms await state of Wyoming's OK

CASPER, Wyo. – Fresh from a go-ahead from the Converse County Commission, the developer and opponents of adjoining wind farms south of Glenrock wrapped up participation Wednesday in a three-day hearing in Douglas before the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council.

The council, which operates in conjunction with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, will hear rebuttal testimony and closing statements and deliberate on its decision on June 13.

It’s the next step in the development of the two 31-turbine wind farms along Mormon Canyon Road south of Glenrock, which has been proposed by Wasatch Wind Inc. of Park City, Utah.

Converse County commissioners approved a permit for the two farms on a 4-1 vote on May 10.

The Northern Laramie Range Alliance, a group formed by landowners and others opposed the siting of wind farms and high-power transmission lines in the area, provided testimony at this week’s hearings but chose not to comment until the hearings and deliberations conclude June 13.

Wasatch Wind didn’t return a request for comment after Wednesday’s hearing.

The Industrial Siting Council is a seven-member group that examines the “environmental and socio-economic impacts” of industrial facilities, according to the council’s website.

A permit from the council is required for any wind energy project with 30 or more towers. The Wasatch wind farms, dubbed Pioneer I and II, will generate 100 megawatts of electricity apiece and cost between $180 million to $200 million, according to the company.

If Wasatch receives the permits it needs, it will complete the first wind farm this year, with the second scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012.