Green River Star -

By David Martin

Industrial complex discussion continues with commissioners

Commissioners fear they’re falling behind


Discussion about the possibility a large-scale industrial complex coming to Wyoming continued at the Sweetwater County Courthouse Tuesday, with the county commissioners mentioning concerns that they are behind other counties seeking its placement within their borders.

The complex has been a topic of discussion across the state and especially in Sweetwater County for the past year. Legislators, including Rep. John Freeman (D-Green River) took a tour of the Heartland Industrial Complex in Alberta, Canada last year, stoking interest in a similar facility being built within Wyoming.

Commissioner Reid West said other groups within the county are waiting for the commissioners to take the lead in an attempt to secure the facility.

“We need to get off dead center,” West told the other commissioners. “We probably need to make a commitment.”

West said the county has $100,000 for economic development purposes. That money was initially earmarked for the Sweetwater Economic Development Association, a county-wide organization that imploded four years ago.

West said he believes the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce would be the best organization to help spearhead the effort, citing its work in collecting information pertinent to business relocation.

Commissioner Wally Johnson said he believes information about Sweetwater County’s available mineral wealth would help sway the decision to locate an industrial complex in southwest Wyoming. However, he is concerned with other counties already working on presenting similar information to the state’s decision makers.

“It sounds like we are a little behind,” Johnson said.

Don Hartley, a representative of the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce’s Enterprise Committee, said they’ve been working on the issue for the past year and suggested the county host a workshop meeting to bring other stakeholders on board.

“We share your concerns and want to carry on with this project,” Hartley said.

Another option for the county would be to combine forces with other counties in the southwest portion of the state. The drawback to that idea may result in the counties involved causing further delays in pursuing the industrial complex. West said he didn’t want to feel disadvantaged because the commissioners had to wait for other counties to jump onboard with the proposal.

Commissioner John Kolb said the county should draft a letter to Gov. Matt Mead stating the county’s interest in the complex. However, because information may take a long time to acquire, he also believes the county is behind in its work.

“It’s going to take awhile to get all this information vetted. I think we’re a little behind,” Kolb said.


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