Advisory group: all wind, solar projects in migration corridors need review (VIDEO)

CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon’s Big Game Migration Corridor Advisory group has come up with a set of recommendations to better manage such corridors for the interests of wildlife, Wyoming citizens and industry.

The governor’s office said on Monday, Sept. 9 that the “core aim” of the advisory group is to prioritize development outside of migration corridors.

The group recommends that the governor deliver an executive order pertaining to development within corridors that would include the following:

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  • Changes to the process for officially designating a corridor
  • The development of local working groups for designated corridors
  • Direction to actively engage landowners prior to designation
  • A law change that would require commercial-electrical generation solar and wind power projects be reviewed by the Industrial Siting Council to ensure they do not impact the functionality of corridors.

“The advisory group recommends that designation comes after stakeholder engagement and a risk assessment,” the advisory group explains. “Previously, the risk/opportunity assessment followed the designation.”

“We not only recommend flipping the order, but want to ensure that the dialogue in advance of designation is robust and inclusive and not perfunctory. To aid with robust consultation the advisory group recommends creating locally-based and corridor-specific working groups.”

The group thinks landowners should have a greater say in designating official migration corridors.

“Actively engage landowners prior to designation, during the risk and opportunities assessment, and during implementation of actions intended to conserve migration corridors,” they say. “Landowners and land managers are key partners in the conservation of big game migration corridors.”

The Industrial Siting Council oversees renewable energy projects only if they exceed $213 million.

“Given the Industrial Siting Act does not mandate all projects go to the Industrial Siting Council, our recommendation is to enact a policy change so that all commercial-electrical generation solar and wind power projects inside of corridors go to the Council for review,” the group says.

The advisory group is comprised of representatives from the oil and gas, mining and agriculture industries. Conservation, recreation and sportsman groups also have a voice as well Carbon County Commissioner John Espy.

The group included representatives from the oil and gas, mining and agriculture sectors, as well as conservation, recreation and sportsmen groups, and a county commissioner.

The board is comprised of the following individuals:

  • John Espy – for counties (Carbon County)
  • Kathy Lichtendahl – for conservation (Park County)
  • Maxwell R. Ludington – for recreation (Teton County)
  • Mike Schmid – for the Game and Fish Commissioners (Lincoln County)
  • Dan Stanton – for sportsperson’s groups (Sweetwater County)
  • Marty Stearns – for mining (Sweetwater County)
  • Marissa Taylor – for agriculture (Uinta County)
  • Kevin Williams – for oil and gas (Sublette County)

“A webinar to review the complete list of recommendations will take place at 11 am on September 12,” the governor’s office says. “To register for the webinar, visit https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ErZtr8uLSzawtJGCIusVag.”

The following video is of a Wyoming Game and Fish meeting that gives an overview of migration corridors: