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County wary of wind-data towers

Natrona County commissioners, on a 2-2 tie, on Wednesday defeated a request by Chevron-Texaco to erect three wind-data monitoring towers with the concern that the company eventually wants to erect as many as 20 240-foot tall turbines. This is not the proper place for this," commissioner Kathleen Dixon said before casting her "no" vote. "I will not let the nose of the camel into the tent."

Houston-based Chevron Technology Ventures LLC approached the commissioners in May inquiring about an application to erect three temporary 240-foot-tall towers with anemometers to measure wind speeds on the former Texaco refinery site east of Evansville, said Raymond Cunningham, business development manager of the company's emerging energy division.

If the wind speeds proved sufficient, the company may consider installing a wind energy farm, Cunningham said in May.

Wednesday, commissioner Jon Campbell wanted to know why Chevron-Texaco had not submitted pictures of the proposed turbines and their locations, and he said he would not approve the proposal without more information.

Cunningham responded that the company wanted to erect the wind-data towers as soon as possible, and he would send Campell those drawings of the towers -- similar to the one in Medicine Bow -- and their locations.

Although Chevron-Texaco has 35 years worth of information about wind power, Cunningham told commissioner Cathy Killean the company needs specific data from the area near Evansville.

He also told Dixon the company would not be a retail electricity provider so consumers... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Houston-based Chevron Technology Ventures LLC approached the commissioners in May inquiring about an application to erect three temporary 240-foot-tall towers with anemometers to measure wind speeds on the former Texaco refinery site east of Evansville, said Raymond Cunningham, business development manager of the company's emerging energy division.

If the wind speeds proved sufficient, the company may consider installing a wind energy farm, Cunningham said in May.

Wednesday, commissioner Jon Campbell wanted to know why Chevron-Texaco had not submitted pictures of the proposed turbines and their locations, and he said he would not approve the proposal without more information.

Cunningham responded that the company wanted to erect the wind-data towers as soon as possible, and he would send Campell those drawings of the towers -- similar to the one in Medicine Bow -- and their locations.

Although Chevron-Texaco has 35 years worth of information about wind power, Cunningham told commissioner Cathy Killean the company needs specific data from the area near Evansville.

He also told Dixon the company would not be a retail electricity provider so consumers near the proposed turbines would not see any reductions in their power bills.

If Chevron-Texaco can access land near its former refinery, it would erect 20 towers; otherwise the company would erect between eight and 12, Cunningham said.

They would be visible from the parking lot at the east side Wal-Mart, he said.

Dixon responded they would be visible throughout the Casper and Evansville areas, and wondered why the company couldn't find windy areas elsewhere in Wyoming where a much larger turbine farm would be much less visible.

Cunningham responded Chevron-Texaco wants to make money on its otherwise nonproductive land.

Killean echoed some of Campbell's and Dixon's concerns, but said the wind-data towers and possible turbines would mark a forward step in Wyoming's energy development.

Commission Chairman Drew Perkins said he would vote for the application for the wind-data towers, adding that the company would need to return to the commission for approval of erecting the wind turbines.

The motion died on the 2-2 tie; commissioner Matt Keating was absent from the meeting.

The motion could be reconsidered at a future meeting, said Deputy County Attorney Kim Corey.

During the debate, Dixon called herself a strong supporter of alternative energy, but noted that Chevron-Texaco wants to make the most use of its land that it cannot use for anything else.

The Texaco refinery closed in 1982.

Cancer-causing chemicals were found in the water of the Brookhurst subdivision in 1986. The subdivision was declared a Superfund cleanup site in 1988 and spurred environmental litigation in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Chevron-Texaco is still remediating the site, where the company stores hazardous waste, Cunningham said.

Dixon did not want Evansville and nearby residents to go through more grief with the company, she said.

"The price that the Brookhurst and neighboring communities has already paid is very great," she said.

Reporter Tom Morton can be reached at (307) 266-0592, or at Tom.Morton@casperstartribune.net.


Source: http://www.casperstartribun...

JUL 6 2006
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