Clarifying confusion about wind farm project Dear Editor,

I’ve lived in Laramie for 30 years and am the local outreach director for the Rail Tie Wind Project, under development by ConnectGen. I became involved with this project because of the unparalleled economic development opportunity it presents for our community, and because ConnectGen is a responsible corporate partner. For Albany County, the project would generate $14.6 million in tax revenues during construction and a steady stream of tax revenues averaging $3.4 million per year over the 35 year project life.

I understand from talking to several people and from reading letters to the editor published in this paper that there is some confusion about the Rail Tie Wind Project, and about wind energy in general. I invite people to visit our website www.railtiewind.com for helpful, fact-based information. We are happy to answer questions about the project and can be reached at (888) 910-9717 or by filling out the contact form on our website.

The Rail Tie Wind Project is under development in southeastern Albany County and will be located on private and state ranchlands near Tie Siding. ConnectGen anticipates beginning construction in the second half of 2021 and beginning project operations by the end of 2022. First, the project must undergo environmental review and permitting processes at the federal, state and local level. Notably, the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), a federal entity that owns the existing transmission line that the project would use, is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Rail Tie Wind Project. This is the most thorough level of review that a wind project can go through in the United States. WAPA initiated this 20 month EIS process at the beginning of 2020.

We owe it to future generations to allow progress and support new initiatives that can help our community thrive for decades to come. There will be multiple opportunities for public comment and engagement throughout the various permitting processes, and I am available to answer questions about the Rail Tie Wind Project at any time.

Deby Forry

Laramie

Columnist fails in explaining religious affiliationsIn his recent piece, Rich Lowry framed Bernie Sanders as “The candidate of the nonbelievers” (which is about one quarter the population). All Americans have freedom of religion/belief/non-belief and should expect to be treated as fellow Americans, not second-class citizens or embodiments of evil. The Constitution does not say, “We Christians,” “We Baptists (or whatever),” or “We evangelicals,” but “We the people.” Of course, back then not every human being was considered a full human being, but one would hope that we are more enlightened and less bigoted and ignorant these days.

The Constitution also says “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust …” and “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”. It requires a presidential oath of office but does not include any mandate to place one’s hand on the Bible and to swear “So help me God.”

Mr. Lowry blurs religion/lack thereof with political views, equating of Judaism, atheism, and agnosticism with Russian-style communism. Didn’t Jesus and his disciples live as a sort of Christian commune, as do nuns, friars and others? Lowry does not acknowledge that subscribing to a particular belief system is not guarantee of being more or less ethical, moral, or patriotic than anyone else.

He conveniently ignores Trump’s religion, and as does Trump, except to get evangelical votes and donations. Nominally raised Presbyterian, Trump later followed Norman Vincent Peale and apparently took to heart his saying that “Attitudes are more important than facts, “ because he certainly has no respect for facts, for bearing false witness, or for trying to get us to unthinkingly accept his lies. He then followed Paula White, a “prosperity gospel” evangelist who used her ministry, as Trump uses the presidency, to amass great wealth for herself.

Does anyone seriously believe that Trump is a paragon of spirituality, morality and virtue? Look at what he does, not what he says. Does he demonstrate understanding, compassion, forgiveness, respect, charity (unlike his Foundation), honesty, humility, grace? Lowry’s view shows tunnel-vision, bigotry, and hypocrisy.

Carol Smith

Laramie

Where are the female athletes? To the editor,

For shame! How is it that the selection committee for the inductees into this year’s University of Wyoming Athletics Hall of Fame did include one female athlete? I find it hard to believe that among so many fine women who have contributed so much to their various sports not one was selected in this year’s group.

Donn Marburger

Laramie

Facility currently meets requirementsI have been reading about the fuel station operating in the Albany County APOZ and I had some basic questions about the fueling installation. I contacted the city of Laramie and Albany County. The city and county both indicated they had no information concerning the installation and pointed me to the Wyoming DEQ. After making a few inquiries I compiled the following information on the fuel station: Tumbleweed Express, 4700 Bluebird Lane, Laramie, Wyoming.

The fuel tanks were first installed in 1969 and have been in the ground for 50-plus years.

There are three underground storage tanks at this facility: two 12,000 gallon and one 9,000 gallon, 33,000 gallons of petroleum product total.

These are single wall steel tanks.

The steel tanks are currently protected from corrosion by an impressed current cathodic protection (CP) system.

The impressed current CP system was installed in 1997. The facility was not required to have this system prior to 1998.

The tanks were in the ground unprotected for 28 years.

Impressed current CP systems are required to be certified every three years by a commercial inspector.

Impressed current CP systems must be monitored by the facility operator every 60 days, with records kept that includes the date, voltage, amperage, and hour meter readings, to ensure that the CP system is functioning properly.

An inventory reconciliation system is the means used to detect leaking tanks which meets current regulations for leak detection. This system must be capable of detecting a 0.2 gallon per hour leak from any portion of the tank that routinely contains product. The use of an automatic tank gauge as a leak detection method also requires the operator to maintain inventory control records.

The facility operators have taken the following steps to meet Storage Tank Protection requirements:

Repaired impressed current system September 2017.

Replaced / upgraded piping from the tanks to the dispensers before reopening the facility in 2019.

The Wyoming DEQ inspects the records of at this facility every two years with the most recent inspection completed in February 2020.

The facility currently meets state of Wyoming requirements.

Dan McCrackin

Laramie

GOP Legislature a paternalistic fraternity accountable to no constituencySunday’s Boomerang opinion page had plenty of excellent letters and op-ed pieces taking Wyoming lawmakers and UW leadership to task for their actions, including the UW Trustees’ handling of the Laurie Nichols affair, lawmakers’ disdain for renewable energy, meddling in women’s reproductive rights and arbitrarily deciding not to participate in the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Scott Clem, an Evangelical Preacher and self-appointed arbiter of Wyoming cultural and moral norms, thought some of the questions were offensive so decided that no Wyoming teens would be allowed to participate, effectively taking that decision out of the hands of Wyoming parents everywhere.

Recently, several letters and op-eds opposing or at least questioning the Occidental million-acre land purchase were published — yet, legislators voted against public hearings. The so-called ‘heavy hitters’ — Gordon, Harshman, Bebout — are going to get their land purchase whether we like it or not. Our GOP legislature is a paternalistic fraternity accountable to no constituency save the oil/gas/coal industry and the conservative right.

Do our letters, emails, phone calls, and opinion pieces in any way impact their votes? So far it seems they fall on deaf ears. State leaders lament the fact that young people leave the state to pursue their futures elsewhere, but let’s face it: being a bright forward-thinking young person remaining in Wyoming is like moving back home with your dad who gives you a curfew at age 30 and decides who you can date. If I still had a college-age child, you can bet I’d be encouraging them to head out of Wyoming’s politically stifling, backward-facing, Roy-Rogers-Dale-Evans cowboy culture, ‘Father Knows Best’ mentality for more progressive and enlightened pastures.

Patricia McDaniel

Laramie

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