Commissioners nix wind energy changes, support fire ban

Goshen County Commission

TORRINGTON – Goshen County Commissioners declined to change land use plans pertaining to wind energy Tuesday and ratified a full fire ban proposed by County Fire Warden Bill Law.
Law said the ban is critical at this time, not only because of dry conditions, but also because of the anticipated influx of visitors for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.
The full ban is effective Aug. 1 until it is rescinded by the county commissioners, which is expected to be after the eclipse.
Open flames are not allowed during the Full Fire Ban. This includes: controlled burns of any size, burn barrels, campfire rings, burn pits, etc.
Expressly prohibited is the use of fireworks.
Enclosed charcoal and gas grills are permitted. For more information pertaining to the Full Fire Ban, call the Fire Warden’s Office at 307-532-0305.
The Commission had earlier been approached by Aaron Branam, project manager for EDP Renewables of North America LLC, regarding changes to the county’s land use plans pertaining to wind energy regulations. The commissioners were unanimous in their decision to not change the regulations, citing the welfare of the county’s citizens, environmental impacts, and land values as factors in their decisions.
In a follow-up to a board of equalization decision regarding the county treasurer’s assessment of the former Wyoming Ethanol property, the commissioners supported Treasurer Debbie Surratt’s $3 million valuation on the property now owned by the West Plains company. West Plains was not represented.
The Wyoming Department of Transportation, represented by Lowell Fleenor, head of District 2, reviewed projects planned for Goshen County through 2023. They are included in the State Transportation Improvement Project (STIP) 2017-2023. Five are underway or will be during 2017, three in 2018, and one each in 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2023. None are listed for 2022. The Huntley and Veteran highways, as well as U.S. 85, as well as railroad quiet zones in Lingle and Fort Laramie, and circuitry upgrades for two BNSF are included.
According to Fleenor, District 2 will receive approximately $43 million for 2017 projects, and $53 million in 2018. District 2 includes most of southeast Wyoming, other than the areas around Cheyenne, Laramie and Rawlins. It stretches north to near Buffalo, west to near Lander/Riverton, and east to Nebraska.
The commissioners also hosted what was to be a meeting of representatives of Bowsher LLC Ranch and the Pine Ridge Homeowners Association, and county surveyor Bob Taylor. However five hours before the meeting, a home owners representative told the commissioners the group would not participate. Consequently, the ranch owners discussed the land access issue with Taylor and Deputy County Attorney Dana Lent, without any resolution to the issue. It has been determined that the county has no part in the current dispute.
Lent agreed to continue working with the two parties regarding the access road question.
The commissioners did approve reduced fees for temporary malt liquor licenses for 501 C3 nonprofit organizations for fairs and similar events. The County Clerk’s office handles the licenses.
The next commission meeting will be Aug. 15.


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