By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
An ongoing protest against Albany County wind energy rules continued on Monday when a petition critical of current rules and carrying more than 1,200 signatures was delivered to the county’s board of commissioners.
Paul Montoya and other members of the group Albany County for Smart Energy Development delivered their petition Monday morning to the Albany County Commissioners.
The petition charged that the county’s current wind energy regulations don’t adequately protect the area’s natural resources or ensure the health, safety and quality of life of Albany County residents, businesses and recreational users in proximity of energy facilities.
Many of the group’s concerns stem from outdated regulations that were put in place before taller and more powerful wind turbines were designed and put into use.
The group has been particularly critical of a wind project near Tie Siding.
Montoya and two other members held a livestreamed news conference on Facebook following the delivery of the petition to explain what the petition was about and their intent for bringing it to the commissioners.
He explained that a few weeks ago, the county commissioners began discussing potential changes to wind energy regulations and asked for public comment.
This was a perfect time for the ACSED to gather a petition and show the commissioners that residents strongly believe the regulations should be changed, Montoya said.
“This petition is not a referendum,” Montoya said. “We only use it to demonstrate to the county the desire of its residents, to add protection for its residents and natural resources for this and future generations through properly locating industrial wind turbines in this county.”
Montoya and others are opposing the proposed Rail Tie Wind Project, which is to be built around Highway 287 near Tie Siding.
In July, Montoya told Cowboy State Daily that certain wind projects have “engulfed neighboring counties such as Laramie County and Carbon County.”
The group held a peaceful protest regarding the regulations back in July. Montoya said the Roundhouse project outside of Cheyenne was a major factor behind the rally, noting that it’s an eyesore that can be seen from as far away as Albany County.
Construction on the Roundhouse project, which will consist of up to 120 turbines, began in 2019 and is expected to be completed at the end of this year.