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Proposed wind energy project in Medicine Bow faces new setback

RAWLINS – A resolution to determine whether a potential multimillion dollar wind energy project will be built or not has been delayed by the Carbon County Commissioners due to legal statutes.

Little Medicine Bow Wind S LLC (LMB) is in year seven of an eight-year wind energy project, which is estimated to accumulate $19.45 million of tax revenue.

The project has been deemed a pilot project, looking to erect 13 turbines in the Shirley Basin (six turbines in the south section, seven in the north section). However, Q Creek Ranch Land and Cattle Company has posed a setback on the project.

Q Creek owns a flatbed trailer parked in the northern area of the project, preventing LMB from beginning work.

This is the setback.

On Tuesday in front of commissioners, LMB CEO Juan Carlos Carpio-Delfino argued Q Creek is using a tactic to get rid of competition, and if they win, it will be a problem for many other businesses down the road.

“We think this case is very important not only to our project, but business in general in Wyoming,” Carpio-Delfino told the commissioners, “because we’re trying to call a dog a cat. And if that goes ahead, then we’re in trouble.”

Carpio-Delfino said that justifying a trailer with limited access, no electricity or water running through it, and considering it permanent residency, is instrumented to prevent a competitor from developing a wind project.

“If we allow this to go forward, the problem will be there might be many trailers in our horizon in the future,” he said.

According to Carbon County Planning and Development AICP Director Sid Fox, Q Creek took all the proper procedures to get the “dwelling” approved and issued by Nov. 20 of last year, after applying for the building permit in October.

Initially, the setback for the uninhabited area was just 40 feet, but the guideline would be pushed way back due to the dwelling.

“Now the burden is on Little Medicine Bow,” Fox said. “The setback becomes 5.5 times the height of the turbine.

The new setback is measured at approximately 2,900 feet from the dwelling to the center of the tower (the foundation of the tower to its center is estimated to be 525 feet).

While Q Creek Representative Dan Zyvoloski admitted that Q Creek does not have any wind energy plans of their own in the future, their allegiance with electricity company Pacificorp and its future projects leads him to believe they are one of the biggest alternative energy supporters around.

“Q Creek’s not opposed to wind development,” Zyvoloski said. “We fully support properly cited wind development – properly permitted wind development – and are one of the biggest supporters of wind development in the county.”

LMB has the support of Medicine Bow records.

Kenda Colman spoke on behalf of the Medicine Bow Town Council in support of LMB, highlighting that it has done more for the community than Q Creek has. LMB bought and refurbished the old Medicine Bow school and the high school gym, giving local students somewhere to play.

“They didn’t have to,” Colman said. “They did to go into good faith to do something for the community in which they impacted. I have to say, this is the first wind energy company that has come into our area and wanted to do anything for our community to be a lasting thing for the community itself.”

Others, like Medicine Bow resident Troy Maddox, showed their opposition of losing public grounds.

“There are a lot of people that are shut out of this,” Maddox said. “That’s our ground. Why should one (person) or company have it for their gain?”

With the new setback in place, the commissioners have granted LMB the opportunity for reapplication or a waiver to be filed by Q Creek.

Until the new application is submitted, LMB and Q Creek can still negotiate. If they do not come to an agreement, LMB will have to have the new application that complies with the parameters of the new setback submitted to the commissioners by July 2.