Wyoming gives coal plant $119 million in tax exempt bonding authority

5 September 2006 — Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal granted another $119 million in tax-exempt bonding authority on Friday for the proposed Two Elk electric generating plant in Campbell County.

North American Power Group Ltd. plans to build the 320-MW plant were put on hold months ago because of a dispute with the U.S. Forest Service over a road to the site that runs through the Thunder Basin National Grassland, the Associated Press reported. A state advisory panel recommended that Freudenthal deny the company’s request for tax-exempt status.

“While I remain as skeptical as anyone about the project, I also believe it’s important that we utilize all of the tools available in the state to encourage generation plants and the transmission of electricity,” Freudenthal said. “In this case, there were no competing applications, and so it’s entirely appropriate to allocate the funding to the Two Elk plant.”

The $119 million allocation brings total tax-exempt bonding authority granted by the state for the project to $445 million, which project proponents say is the full amount it qualifies for based on its use of waste coal.

Freudenthal said a combination of no other applicants for the tax-exempt bonding authority and assurances from private parties working with the Two Elk proponents prompted his decision.