Monday, September 26, 2022

Commissioners to submit comments to Federal Aviation Administration over ‘too tall’ wind tower

Carbon County, Wyoming  -  The Carbon County Commissioners will submit comments to the Federal Aviation Administration regarding a too tall wind tower east of Medicine Bow that is part of the Boswell Springs project.

Commissioner Sue Jones brought the matter up at the board’s meeting last week, saying that the FAA had reached out for comment over the tower.

The 170-turbine project is located on a roughly 21,600-acre parcel of land east of Medicine Bow and 10 miles north of Rock River, near the Wheatland Irrigation District. The installation is accessible via Fetterman Road.

Commissioner Jones said that the tower should be made to comply with FAA rules because of the small aircraft that use the airport at Medicine Bow or which are flying routes across southern Wyoming. Commission Chairman John Johnson agreed that small planes fly the area.

Commissioner John Espy also expressed concerns about the risk that Tower 52 poses to aircraft. Espy seconded a motion made by Jones to respond to the FAA request for comment.

The Boswell Springs Wind Energy project has a spotted history. First developed by a Boulder, Colorado, company, Canada-based Alterra Power Corporation bought the uncompleted installation in 2017 with a 20-year agreement to sell all the electrical output to Rocky Mountain Power.

Alterra developed the site through a shell company, Boswell Springs, LLC. In 2019, Rocky Mountain sued Boswell Springs in 2019 claiming it was stiffed out on a $19.2 million project fee. Details of the lawsuit have been closely guarded by the two companies, although legal proceedings delayed construction.

Carbon County Commissioners unanimously approved the motion to respond to the FAA with the comment that the “too tall tower” be made to comply with legal standards for height.


  1. Another case of someone at the FAA being paid (what?...maybe 80 to 150k per year of the publics money) to write rules that are then blatantly ignored by more Feds that are paid to..what? Ignore or selectively enforce FAR'S? Even when asked by some specifically to "please enforce this rule..." crazy waste of money.
    Is the wind turbine too tall, or not? If it is, enforce that rule, or get rid of that rule! Better yet, don't write it in the first place, if your staff doesn't have the spine to enforce it.
    Same situation as FAR135 crew duty time. Ignored, even when asked to please enforce.

  2. I agree with comment that FAA refuses to enforce On -Call time as being part of 14 hour Duty Time Limit .

    I was air ambulance pilot for MedCenter Air at Atrium Hospital in Charlotte NC.

    I was required to be On-Call at 7 AM to 7 PM . If called at 5 PM, I was required to fly for 14 hours from 5 PM or until 7 AM the following morning , instead of 9 PM the previous night .

    I was fired for objecting to being forced to violate Duty Time limits .

    The other 16 pilots had never heard that the On-Call time had to be included in the 14 hours starting at the On -Call time .

    FAA did a telephone interview and closed the investigation taking no action .

  3. First commenter again..if this tower is too tall, the FAA absolutely should have the backbone to have it removed or shortened. They should also suffer the consequences of dealing with it after the fact..that is, doing nothing while it was being planned or built. The consequences, I guess, would be a lawsuit to recoup the costs of building the thing. Unless, of course, the constructors were aware of the restriction and made it too tall anyway.
    Regarding the 135 duty time..I flew for a company that, in print, stated that we were on call 24/7, minus 2 days per month. A few pilots were let go for complaining. I complained to the Feds in a more creative way. They responded by having the company remove the offensive wording from the handbook, then letting them continue to operate that way.
    Further complaints, going up the federal management hierarchy, resulted in a few weeks of token enforcement, then further refusal/lack of interest. Truly disgusting.
    I believe that the negative effects to me went Further than just my "layoff".
    I don't like hijacking this thread for the duty time subject, but perhaps Katherine might consider this worthy of some reporting. I have noticed that not all covered subjects are aircraft crashes. Windmills, etc. This subject affects the safety of crew and passengers both, and is pigheadedly, intentionally ignored by the FAA.

  4. Height is a key factor in the engineering of the windmill operating location. Can't shorten the height without a performance impact, so it gets built and rule breaking is excused afterwards. Same principle as 5G towers near airports vs radar altimeter functionality.

    Some would say the country has entered a post rule-following phase, representing commercial capture of various agencies.