The Saratoga Sun -

Firing numbers at ISC

Saratoga and other towns, counties submit impact assistance requests to siting council for upcoming TransWest Express project permit hearing

 

April 10, 2019

Keith McLendon

The prehearing meeting for the TransWest Express Transmission Line Project siting permit was held on the stage of the PVCC April 3 because the rest of the center was being used for the Wyoming Open Pool Tournament.

The Industrial Siting Council (ISC) held a pre-trial meeting Wednesday April 3 at the Platte Valley Community Center (PVCC) Theater to line up exhibits and witnesses for the hearing on the TransWest Express, LLC permit application for the TransWest Express Transmission Line Project.

Joining representatives from the ISC were officials from the various towns and county entities affected by the project along with representatives from TransWest Express, LLC and the Department of Environemental Quality (DEQ).

Towns involved were Rawlins, Sinclair and Saratoga. Sweetwater and Carbon counties were also represented during the meeting.

Saratoga submitted three exhibits for the upcoming hearing. The first exhibit expressed the desire to take part in the hearing. The second exhibit was a Memorandum of Understanding oF the parties involved in the permitting process which will deal with the high-voltage transmission system which will extend across four states from south-central Wyoming to southern Nevada. The third exhibit dealt with community impacts of the project and requests made in compensation for those impacts.

Impact Assistance

Saratoga's request dealt with six categories including road improvements, sanitary collection, police and public safety, temporary residents, public works and loss of tourism.

Road Improvements

The Town of Saratoga expects the Saratoga Lake Campground will be used extensively during the multiyear project and is requesting $318,636 to repair and maintain the road leading to the campground.

Sanitary Collection

Because Saratoga expects to see more use of the lake campground, town officials are also asking for $32,520 to install a receiving manhole with accompanying equipment and concrete pad to collect sanitary waste at the campground.

Police and Public Safety

Though Saratoga currently provides at least one officer on duty on a 24/7 basis, the town feels that, with the influx of workers, there is a need for two officers on duty during peak evening and weekend times. The town projects this cost as $9,060 per month and is asking for $596,646 to cover the 54-month time frame of the project.

Temporary Residents

According to the previous siting permit application, Saratoga is expected to accommodate only three additional persons during the course of the project. This number is arrived at by using the number of people TransWest expects to bring to work on the project and using that number to fill up hotel/rental spaces around the county.

The Town of Saratoga does not feel this number is reasonable or accurate. Because several other labor intensive projects are taking place during the TransWest Express Transmission Line Project, the town expects between 25-35 workers to reside in Saratoga during the project. That number of workers represents 10 to 15 percent of the available accommodations in Saratoga. Because of expected loss of tourism and the increased need for public works the town is asking for another $431,860 to cover those costs and losses.

Other Workers

It has been estimated by the Carbon County Economic Development Corporation that around 1,488 workers will be in Carbon County from other projects like the Ekola Flats and TB Flats wind projects, Gateway West transmission projects and several repowering projects. While workers for the Trans-West Express Transmission Project are not expected to begin coming into the county until May of 2020, when there will be an estimated 872 cumulative employees in the county, one can see that there will be competition for accommodations in Carbon County as a whole.

Totaling Saratoga

Overall the Town of Saratoga is asking for $1,512,924 in impact assistance payments. This amount comes to 6.1 percent of the $24.61 million available to compensate affected local governments for impacts of the TransWest Express Transmission Project.

Other Towns and

Counties

Other towns and county entities are asking for impact assistance funds for similar reasons. The Town of Rawlins is asking for $241,180.74, while the Town of Sinclair is requesting $219,056. Sweetwater County leadership would like $2,758,518 and Carbon County government is asking for $375,614.03.

The total requested between these town and county entities (including Saratoga) comes to $5,107,292.77.

The hearing for the Industrial Siting permit application for the TransWest Express Transmission Line Project will be held at 8:30 a.m. April 19 at the PVCC in Saratoga.

 

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