August vote expected on EcoTech

By: 
Alexis Barker

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor

 

The Board of Weston County Commissioners has not yet taken a vote on whether to draft a letter of support for EcoTech Fuels LLC to the Wyoming Energy Commission. But Weston County Clerk Becky Hadlock said the board should make an official decision on a letter at its next meeting on Aug. 3. 

The board has met with company president Linda-
Rose Myers on two occasions, one in person and the other via Zoom. 

The privately owned renewable fuels company’s interest in developing the Black Hills Advanced Synfuels LLC at the old sawmill located outside of Newcastle sparked great interest among the public, with people both for and against the venture attending both a Newcastle City Council meeting and a Weston County Commission’s meeting. 

As previously reported, the City Council voted to draft a support letter on July 6, after discussion with Myers, despite concerns about sustainability, other projects pursued by the company that never came to fruition and the unpredictability of the federal government’s access to land and materials. 

Supporters of the project, including County Commissioner Don Taylor, City Councilman Don Steveson and Newcastle Mayor Pam Gualtieri, stated that the risk to local governments and
the state are nonexistent and that concerns about sustainability are valid for any new business venture. 

The proposed project would take dead trees from the Black Hills and other area forests and turn them into advanced synthetic sustainable aviation fuel and diesel. 

“The point of doing the project is to reduce the incidence of catastrophic fires in the Rocky Mountain area forests, by removing dead and diseased wood, slash piles and other precommercial thinning,” Myers previously reported. “That’s why we have the support of both the Black Hills National Forest Service and Region 2 of the Rocky Mountains. The National Forest Service hopes we will do similar projects in my home state of Colorado, in Montana and elsewhere in the area.” 

The local project, Black Hills Advance Synfuels, would convert 500 tons per day of fire-prone diseased and dead woody biomass from the Black Hills National Forest into 1,150 barrels per day of advanced synthetic sustainable aviation fuel or diesel. 

“The project will create at least 80 jobs, plus construction. Because of the high jobs multiplier impact of a project like this, many more jobs will be created in Wyoming to support the plant,” Myers told the News Letter Journal

The potential jobs created include chemical engineers, skilled labor and entry-level work.  

 

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