County seeks impact funding

Sweetwater County is requesting about $5.3 million in impact funds for the TransWest transmission-line project, which will run through portions of the county.

During a recent Sweetwater County Commissioners meeting, the commissioners unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding between Sweetwater County, Carbon County, Baggs, Dixon, Sinclair, Saratoga, Rawlins and Wamsutter for the impact funding request.

According to information in the MOU, a high-voltage transmission system will extend about 730 miles across four states from south central Wyoming to southern Nevada. This project is capable of transmitting 3,000 megawatts of electric energy, enough to power more than 1.8 million homes, that will incorporate both direct current and high-voltage alternating current technology.

Chairman Wally Johnson said representatives from the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office, Sweetwater County Fire Department and Wamsutter met to decide how much impact funding they should request from the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council.

Once that group determined a number for all parties impacted, they meet with Carbon County representatives and the other towns impacted before signing the MOU between all entities involved.

Planning and Zoning director Eric Bingham said the county is requesting a total of $5.32 million.

Of that, $2.56 million will go to the sheriff’s and fire departments, while $2.76 will go to Wamsutter.

Even though all entities involved have requested a total of $13 million, which is way below what was anticipated, Johnson believes it will still be struggle to get what was requested.

“The real battle with come with the Industrial Siting Council,” Johnson said. “What they don’t give out, they get to keep. In my opinion, they have a tremendous conflict of interest.”

Johnson said Baggs and Dixon didn’t even put in a request, which he believes was a mistake.

Commissioner Randy Wendling said if the council really does get to keep the money it doesn’t give out in impact funding, that could be a substantial amount.

With both Carbon and Sweetwater counties in agreement on the request, all they can do now is wait.


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