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Citizens' group loses Wyo. wind farm challenge

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 17, 2012 at 5:43 pm •  Published: December 17, 2012

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The Wyoming Supreme Court has upheld permits issued by the state and Converse County allowing construction of two wind farms in the Laramie Range.

Wasatch Wind of Salt Lake City has planned to construct 62 towers at two locations. The Northern Laramie Range Alliance filed two lawsuits challenging permits issued to the company by the Converse County Board of Commissioners and the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council.

In the first suit, the alliance and the associated Northern Laramie Range Foundation together with White Creek Ranch LLC challenged the Converse County permit. In the second case, the alliance and the foundation challenged the state construction permit.

The ruling, written by Chief Justice Marilyn Kite, states that the Industrial Siting Council correctly considered not only Wasatch's financial resources to build and ultimately decommission the project, but also considered the financial condition of its proposed investor, Edison Mission Energy.

Edison Mission Energy, a power wholesaler, and its Chicago-based subsidiary Midwest Generation, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday to try to restructure about $5 billion in debt.

In upholding the ISC permit, Kite wrote, "The record contains substantial evidence to support the ISC's conclusion that Wasatch's proposed facility will not pose a threat of serious injury to the environment or to the social and economic condition or inhabitants in the affected area."

Edison Mission Group has developed two wind farms in Uinta County, Wyo. Bob Stiens, spokesman for the Santa Ana, Calif.-based company, said Monday that he couldn't immediately comment on whether the bankruptcy might affect development of the Wasatch project.

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