I am writing today in support of the Rail Tie Wind Project because I am hoping that a vocal minority of opposition is not going to block this opportunity for Albany County. I have long been passionate about bettering my community through economic development — I am the former Chair of the Wyoming Business Council and was on the Laramie Economic Development Board for over 10 years, chairing it twice. Therefore, out of the many half-truths and outright falsehoods spread by the anti-Rail Tie folks, I am going to focus this column on their claims that fall into my areas of expertise and passion.
The Rail Tie Wind Project presents an unparalleled economic development opportunity, but its opponents argue, without evidence, that the wind project would harm the long-term prosperity of Laramie. They frequently claim that a wind project located 15 miles south of Laramie will somehow deter businesses from locating in our city. I asked Josh Dorrell, President of the Wyoming Business Council, about this and he said the presence of wind projects has never been a negative factor in recruiting businesses to Wyoming. Similarly, of the companies that the Laramie Chamber Business Alliance has met with in the past year about locating in our city, none have expressed any concern about the Rail Tie Wind Project. Rather, the main factors that businesses consider when choosing where to locate are infrastructure (buildings, energy, water, etc.), available workforce, and state and local taxes — the last of which we can keep low by encouraging new tax revenues like those to be paid by the Rail Tie Wind Project. I encourage readers to go to a search engine and search for criteria used by site selectors.