SWEETWATER COUNTY — ExxonMobil officials came before the Sweetwater County Commission at Tuesday’s regular meeting to announce plans for an expansion of its carbon dioxide capture facilities in Lincoln and Sweetwater counties.
The company is applying for a Wyoming Industrial Siting Permit to build and operate the Labarge Carbon Capture Project at the existing Shute Creek processing facility in Lincoln County and the adjacent carbon dioxide compression facility in Sweetwater County.
Pam Heatherington, asset manager at ExxonMobil, spoke to commissioners about the company’s plans. She said the approximately $260 million project would include installation of equipment to capture low pressure CO2 and bring it up to the correct pressure to sell it and also to facilitate the disposal of excess CO2.
A tentative timeline estimates construction to begin in August of 2020 and be completed in October of 2022 with facility commissioning and startup between October and December of 2022. Heatherington said the project is expected to employ a peak labor force of 388 workers with 11 new permanent local positions. In response to a question, it was estimated that about 10% of the construction workforce would consist of local labor.
A handout on the project estimates sales and use tax revenue during construction at $3.2 million in Sweetwater County and $3.9 million in Lincoln County.
“This should be good news for Lincoln and Sweetwater County,” Heatherington said.
Commissioner Randy “Doc” Wendling agreed, saying it is a great project. Heatherington also said that the market for carbon dioxide looks good right now.
There is also the possibility of a second phase of the carbon capture project costing an additional $250 million to $300 million. That part of the project is in the early design phase, according to ExxonMobil representatives.
— Commissioners approved the award of a $145,000 contract with Thomas P. Miller & Associates to create a plan to recruit and cultivate industrial and/or other development at the area east of Rock Springs near Middle Baxter Road that has been selected for the county’s industrial development plan project. The plan will consist of an economic workforce analysis, targeted infrastructure development strategy and development implementation plan, according to Land Use Director Eric Bingham.
— Roger Torgersen was reappointed to the Events Complex Fair Board.
— Commissioners approved a budget amendment for the cost of approved architectural services for the combined county facilities project on Lagoon Road.
-- During the resident concerns portion of Tuesday’s meeting, two people spoke against fees charged for the county’s new iDoc Market system. The fee is for data-based access to iDoc Market from a home or business office for the viewing and printing of documents. Current fees are $10 for a daily subscription, $50 weekly, $150 monthly or $1,500 yearly.
Mikaela Inman and Jeremy Inman addressed the commissioners. Mikaela Inman is a Realtor and Jeremy Inman owns and operates Haiku LLC, a company that provides three-dimensional scans of property. A group of local realtors in opposition to the fees also attended the meeting.
Mikaela Inman said she is not happy about the changes, and that she can’t absorb the new fees. She said a fee of $50-$100 per year would be reasonable. Wendling asked if she had legal representation. Mikaela Inman said she has contacted but not hired an attorney.
Wendling said commissioners want to listen to the concerns but would not be able to comment since a legal representative had been contacted.
Jeremy Inman called the new fees exorbitant. He said that in his business it is difficult to know how many times he will need the service, so it’s hard to determine which time period to subscribe to. He also said it seems like there was a vacancy in the procedure of planning and implementing the new system without giving people the opportunity to comment beforehand.
Commissioner Lauren Schoenfeld said commissioners don’t have control over the fees. People with complaints and concerns were encouraged to continue conversations with County Clerk Cindy Lane to come up with what Schoenfeld called “a happy medium.”