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Salazar approves massive Wyoming wind farm project

Associated Press Modified: October 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm •  Published: October 9, 2012
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Salazar signed a record of decision for the plan and spoke at Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne. The school offers technical training for jobs in wind power, and Salazar's audience in a cavernous wind energy lab included about 40 students.

The project will create an estimated 1,000 construction jobs at its peak and 114 new, permanent operations and maintenance jobs, according to the BLM.

"One reason to be here is to celebrate jobs that are coming from wind energy throughout the United States. We know there are tens of thousands of jobs now being created by wind energy," Salazar said.

Salazar's signature means the BLM now can begin site-specific environmental analysis to help plot specific layout of the project's turbines, roads and power lines.

Roadwork at the site could begin in 2013, followed by installation of some turbines in 2014, said Bill Miller, president and chief executive of Power Company of Wyoming.

The project "won't be 1,000 at once" but more like 300 to 400 wind turbines installed each year over a three-year period, he said.

"We can accelerate that to some degree, or we could slow it up to some degree, depending on what the requirements are at any given point," Miller said.

Remaining permits still needed include one from the state Industrial Siting Council. The council reviews plans for major industrial projects proposed in Wyoming.

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