AP News Update

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AP News Update

Latest Wyoming news, sports, business and entertainment
WYOMING WIND FARM

Company: Wyo. wind farm eagle deaths overestimated

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The developers of what could become the largest wind energy project in the U.S. say the federal government has vastly overestimated how many eagles will be killed at the site.

They say they plan to take measures that will result in fewer deaths.

The Power Company of Wyoming is preparing to apply for a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service eagle take permit for the first phase of the planned Chokecherry/Sierra Madre wind farm south of Rawlins. Fish and Wildlife expects the application process to take about a year.

Company officials question a U.S. Bureau of Land Management estimate that the 1,000 wind turbines will kill 46-64 eagles a year. They say they're discussing the issue with Fish and Wildlife as the agency prepares to develop its own eagle mortality estimate.

GLENROCK WIND FARM

Wyo. review panel OK's Wasatch wind farm changes

SARATOGA, Wyo. (AP) - A state review panel has approved a handful of changes to the development plans for a proposed wind farm in Converse County.

The changes include moving the locations of some wind turbines and a substation at the site of the Wasatch Wind and Power project outside Glenrock.

The state Industrial Siting Council approved the changes at a meeting in Saratoga last week. The council reviews major industrial projects in Wyoming to help prevent them from causing major disruptions for nearby communities.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports the new wind project will consist of 46 wind turbines that will produce a total of 80 megawatts of electricity.

Developers say they made the changes to make the wind turbines less visible and less of a threat to eagles and other raptors.

BENTONITE COMPANY

Casper-based bentonite company looks to rebound

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - The owner of U.S. Bentonite in Casper hopes to be back in business soon, after the mining company filed for bankruptcy and laid off 40 people.

Company owner Dave Kinghorn says he hopes many of the laid-off workers will be available once the company attracts investors and is able to reopen.

The bankruptcy filing was prompted by a dispute with electric utilities over a substation for a plant near Casper. Kinghorn says the utilities wanted an excessive payment to build the substation.

U.S. Bentonite filed for bankruptcy in March and reached an agreement with High Plains Power in June. The Casper Star-Tribune reports most of the layoffs happened right after Thanksgiving.

The company operates four bentonite mines, two of which are being reclaimed.

COURT-CELL PHONES

Cell phones to be banned in Casper court building

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - The public won't be able to bring cell phones into Casper's judicial building starting Jan. 1.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that the ban is aimed at preventing people from recording and photographing court proceedings. Currently, phones are allowed inside the Townsend Justice Center but they must be turned off.

Law enforcement officers, attorneys and courthouse employees will still be able to bring their cell phones into the center.

Earlier this year, courthouses in Chicago also began barring cell phones to prevent people from taking photos of prospective jurors and potential witnesses. About half of federal courts ban all electronic devices in courthouses.

UW SEARCH-MEAD

Mead: Open up UW president search

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Gov. Matt Mead says University of Wyoming trustees should tell the public who's on their list of finalists to become the next university president.

A new law would allow the presidential search process to remain secret. Mead expressed a degree of opposition by allowing the measure to take effect without his signature.

Mead says an open process gets more buy-in from citizens.

Now, UW trustees are preparing to look for a new president. Bob Sternberg announced his resignation after just four months on the job.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports UW trustees hired Sternberg after a mostly secret search process. Trustees said they wanted to protect candidates who held university jobs elsewhere.

The trustees announced the finalists after a judge sided with news organizations that sued to get the information.

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