A local environmental group is suing the Bureau of Land Management over their approval of a wind power transmission line in Albany County. 

The lawsuit claims that damage has occurred to the environment, wildlife, cultural, and scenic aspects of the land on which the Rock Creek Wind gen-tie transmission line sits. Petitioner Michael Lockhart claims numerous bald eagles have died in direct correlation to the transmission line. 

The Rock Creek transmission line is on BLM land in both Albany and Carbon counties, which will connect the proposed commercial-scale Rock Creek Wind project to the Gateway South and Gateway West multistate transmission lines.

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Albany County Conservancy (ACC) and Lockhart, retired Fish and Wildlife Service biologist are claiming that the BLM’s Environmental Assessment (EA) did not sufficiently take into account the National Environmental Policy Act’s (“NEPA”) mission to encourage environmentally conscious decision-making. 

It names Timothy Novotny, BLM Field Manager based in Rawlins, BLM director Tracy Stone-Manning, and US Department of Interior Secretary Deb Haaland as respondents. 

The case states that NEPA makes decisions by considering the voices of those who will be most impacted–primarily local stakeholders–by energy projects. The case states: 

“Here, however, BLM decided that those stakeholders’ views do not matter. BLM chose instead to conduct its review of the Project in secret—without any public notice or input whatsoever—despite explicit and repeated requests from the public to participate in the NEPA process.”

Albany County Conservancy (“ACC”) is a nonprofit with hundreds of members and is headquartered in Laramie. The organization “works to protect and preserve the open spaces of Albany County through community outreach and education efforts, as well as direct advocacy.”

The ACC certainly appreciates and encourages sustainable energy, but wants those projects to coexist with local habitat, and appreciates thorough assessment of sites, which it claims the BLM neglected to do. 

“The legal violations alleged in this Petition, traceable directly to BLM’s conduct, have caused and continue to cause concrete injury to the aesthetic, conservation, recreational, scientific, educational, historic, cultural, and wildlife preservation interests,” the case reads. 

The case was filed on July 28, 2023. 

 

Five Frivolous Lawsuits

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Gallery Credit: Nicole Sherwood

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