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We read Sunday morning that Gov. Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming has proposed imposing a state excise tax on wind energy production. The governor’s proposal was proposed in the Wyoming House last week.
Wind, the Democratic governor said, doesn’t deserve special treatment. “It can help keep people in agriculture. It can help people have jobs, and hopefully it can lead to some manufacturing facilities in the state,” he said. “Having said all that, they are not entitled to a free ride. This is the first opportunity that this state has had in my lifetime to actually diversify its tax base.” The proposed tax would impose a $3 per megawatt hour tax on commercial wind energy generation. That’s about a 5% tax.
Meanwhile, the newspaper in Casper is backing reforms to the state law on eminent domain that would make it harder for private companies to condemn land for electric transmission lines. Gov. Freudenthall has proposed a one-year moratorium on the use of eminent doman for wind power “collector lines.”