Wyoming news briefs for March 11

Posted 3/11/22

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Wyoming news briefs for March 11


Johnson Co. reaches $22M settlement over taxes

BUFFALO — Johnson County has reached a $22.7 million settlement with energy company US Realm Powder River LLC and its affiliate company Carbon Creek Energy LLC, bringing an end to a lengthy ad valorem tax dispute that began in 2016.

“Hopefully no commission will ever be forced to deal with what the colleagues that I have the pleasure of sitting up here with have dealt with as we've tried to resolve this," county commission Chairman Bill Novotny said at a special commission meeting on Tuesday. “I really do believe accepting the settlement and formally ratifying it today is in the best interest of our county, the special districts and the school district, who is the biggest beneficiary of this money." 

US Realm will pay Johnson County $10 million up front, according to the agreement papers, followed by monthly $125,000 payments from Carbon Creek for the remaining $12.7 million included in the settlement.

The settlement, according to the agreement documents, is made possible by US

Realm closing on a financial deal with Finergy Capital, which will give US Realm access to approximately $25.1 million. 

Novotny said in an interview with the Bulletin that the settlement will leave a little less than $9 million in penalties and interest on the table, which he said is unfortunate but likely to save the county years of further litigation and tens of thousands of dollars in additional attorney's fees, which has already cost the county more than $120,000.


Energy company investigating turbine collapse

CHEYENNE — After one of its wind turbines collapsed last month near Cheyenne, an energy company is still investigating the cause. 

The turbine, which fell on Feb. 23, was located at the Happy Jack wind site west of Cheyenne. Charlotte, North Carolina-based Duke Energy runs the site. 

Duke Energy spokesperson Valerie Patterson said earlier this week that the cause of failure was still unknown. 

“We are approaching our removal and cleanup efforts methodically and with care,” she wrote in an email. “There are standards and requirements that must be followed when removing this material, and we are taking all the necessary steps and following state and other regulations as part of our efforts.” 

There were no injuries as a result of the incident, Patterson said, adding that the company had “notified the appropriate agencies.” 

“Clean-up efforts are being conducted by site personnel, our engineering team and a third-party engineering firm,” she said. 

Patterson said “everything that has fallen” would be cleaned up “to restore the area to its original condition.” 

The materials primarily consist of steel, as well as fiberglass, she said. 

Located in Laramie County, the wind site has 14 turbines and supplies energy to Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power, a division of Black Hills Energy, according to Duke Energy’s website. The site began operating in 2008.