Wyoming cuts severance tax on coal
Wyoming legislators have reduced the severance tax on coal by one-half percent. The new rate is 6.5%.
Proponents said the cut will benefit struggling coal companies, but opponents argued that the tax cut will do little to slow the industry’s decline and instead takes needed revenue away from Wyoming while that money is still available, reports the Casper Star-Tribune.
The cut will trim revenues to state coffers by $9.6 million.
What will it take to put EVs on Wyoming roads?
With its wide-open spaces and sparse population – not to mention its fealty to fossil fuels – Wyoming has had a slow uptick on EVs. It has just 460.
Curiously, 360 of those are Teslas. Why? WyoFile suggests it’s because Tesla has built charging stations. Charging stations for other brands are needed.
Now, because of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program, Wyoming has received $3.9 million and will get $20 million during the next four years. First priority: interstate corridors and roads leading to the iconic national parks.
One EV owner said that because of recent gasoline prices spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he expects EVs will become more socially acceptable in Wyoming. Helping will be the production of the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T.
Wind developer guilty in deaths of three eagles
A wind developer was fined more than $8 million and put on 5 years of probation after being found guilty of causing the deaths of bald and golden eagles in Wyoming and New Mexico.
The Casper Star-Tribune says that the subsidiary of NextEra Energy, the world’s biggest generator of wind and solar power, acknowledged more than 100 other eagles had been killed across 50 of its 54 wind farms, primarily during collisions with wind turbines.
Killing bald and golden eagles without a federal permit violates the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a 1918 law.
“You do have good actors out there,” said John Burrows, a conservation advocate at the Wyoming Outdoor Council. “You have some companies that are really doing it right, putting a ton of money in studies and resources that minimize wildlife conflict and site in really responsible locations. And then you have others who, for some reason or another, take what look like shortcuts.”
Power Company of Wyoming has spent millions of dollars on eagle conservation at its Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, the largest proposed wind power facility in the country, according to Kara Choquette, the company’s communications director.
The company rearranged its planned turbine locations to avoid spots it found to have high eagle activity, even when that meant sacrificing some of the area’s best wind resources. It plans to turn off certain turbines at times when eagles are expected to be most vulnerable, ensure the birds have food sources a safe distance from the turbines and pay for other eagle protections, like safer power lines, outside the project area.
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