As the Albany County Commissioners begin studying the Rail Tie application from Connect Gen, I want to encourage them and as many Albany County residents to view the entire area that Connect Gen is proposing for their 750-ft wind turbines as a long-term and valuable asset (in monetary ways and psychological ways).
But these natural assets, our diverse landscapes and wildlife have more potential for the future than Klaus Halbsgut’s editorial recognizes in the Sunday, April 4 Laramie Boomerang.
Mr. Halbsgut’s view appears to be all short-term practicality in the form of funding for our county government. He uses fear of layoffs, which is frightening, but I believe in my gut that this particular piece of Albany County’s landscape will attract jobs and small businesses if we are patient and careful.
Approving Connect Gen will make this gateway to Albany County an industrial area for an entire generation! This will show us as very poor stewards of our natural assets.
Connect Gen’s proposal is too massive in breadth for this site ecologically, is destructive to our appreciation of nature, damages our psychological peace and possibly health for the residents in this area as well as the wildlife activity in this area.
The individual 750-foot turbines are a visual and possible sound nightmare, which has not even been well researched nationally. There is proof that antelope and deer will not tolerate the low-level decibels of constant sound that the turbines make (Nature Conservancy’s observation of the Cheyenne wind turbine plain along Interstate 80 from a presentation at the February meeting of those concerned about Connect Gen’s proposal at).
We don’t control wildlife; they go where they can survive as safely and pleasantly as possible. So, if this proposal is adopted, be ready. The wildlife will go elsewhere — this includes raptors and small predators.
I attended the February meeting for those against the Rail Tie Wind Proposal. At the end of the meeting, a gentleman who has lived in many other states and communities prior to moving to Laramie offered an opinion and idea that hit me hard.
He had discovered that communities that protect their long-term assets are much more vibrant and enduring, as well as pleasant to visit and live in. Humanity needs space and peace just as our wildlife do. Note how the foothills of all the cities along the Colorado front range from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs have been sold out for money. Are we in danger of selling out this area and maybe becoming another borough of suburban Fort Collins?
This area is the gateway to Albany County from the south. If we leave as much of this gateway in its natural state as we can, we will gain businesses and tourism. I would much rather try to control tourist-driven small business opportunities than massive industrial short-term exploitation and long-term destruction of our gateway, the 287 Corridor. Connect Gen doesn’t care about our diverse landscapes, they see roads, turbines, electrical supplies, and money for other states.
I am selfish: I want Wyoming businesses and healthy Laramie-based people working. I want my state and county to protect our natural assets as a first priority.
Our gateway will last as long into the future as we choose. We could be the last place off I-25 that has spacious landscapes and antelope, deer, and elk surviving in these landscapes. Of course, trophy homes can ruin that, but those homes also bring in families, not giant industrial machines that make subtle but continuous noise to endure. and huge truck traffic, dust, and noise to set up and maintain.
I plead with the county commissioners to at least cut back Connect Gen’s numbers of turbines significantly — 120 is still too many. I sense the State Board that originally approved this proposal without the Wyoming Game and Fish input, only sees government funding. Bureaucracies become larger, more complicated and self-serving more quickly than small businesses.
I would rather be patient and keep Albany County poorer until more businesses that respect the natural assets we have, discover what a wonderful place Albany County can be.
With the Colorado front range such an urban and crowded money strip, Albany County can provide a pleasant surprise! We don’t need to let Connect Gen run roughshod over our assets. These assets may never be protected if we start opening the door to opportunistic large entities that wave money at us in hard times. Be very careful, take your time, and think in terms of protecting our long-term assets, commissioners, please.
If wildlife leave due to wind turbine set up and constant noise, many current homesteads may also pull out. What is bad for wildlife is bad for humans. That promotes nothing positive for property values or county financial strength but destroys entire lives in Albany County.