State Lands Board discusses leases, wind energy
Cheyenne – Among the topics at the early June meeting of the State Board of Land Commissioners in Cheyenne was a motion to initiate rulemaking and open Chapter 4 rules, which will have an affect on grazing leases on state lands.
The proposed rule changes relate to access for state staff managing trust assets. Changes also may affect wording regarding rental bids, which shall not be more than 120 percent of fair market value, to say the state won’t grant leases for more than 120 percent, but it will accept applications of any amount because the process timeline doesn’t allow one to know final percentages beforehand.
“There’s an ongoing effort to get the rules in a shape where they do what they’re supposed to,” said Director of State Lands and Investments Lynn Boomgaarden.
The State Land Board also reviewed wind leases on state lands, and they denied a Platte County lease application from a wind company. “We were contacted by landowners in a landowner association and remained in contact with them while we published an RFP,” said Boomgaraden. “We can’t recommend the approval of the lease application, because we don’t believe the energy company is offering us fair market value at 29 percent lower than other leases in the area.”
She said the Bordeaux Wind Energy Association continues to believe there will be additional, more competitive interest in the lands.
“There are 14 landowners and 12,000 deeded acres mixed with state land, and we support the recommendation to deny the application,” said Bordeaux Wind Energy Association board member Bob Whitt. “We’re going to try to help the state get a better deal, as we formed the association to get ourselves and the state as good a deal as possible.”
He said the deeded and state lands are more intertwined than normal. “It seems to us it’s most beneficial both to us and to the state to have a single company on the whole block, as opposed to the energy company isolating state lands.”
He said two additional companies are currently negotiating with the association. As a result, the board denied that particular wind energy lease.
In addition to those items the board discussed funding of water development projects on leased state lands that would promote better land management through dispersed grazing.
Christy Hemken is assistant editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.