Public Input Received on Graphite Solar Community Reinvestment Project Area

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The Carbon County Commissioners hosted a public hearing during their inaugural 2020 meeting on Wednesday evening. This hearing pertained to the draft project area plan and draft project area budget for the proposed Graphite Solar Community Reinvestment Project Area.

They began this hearing by adjourning as the commissioners and reconvening as the Carbon County Redevelopment Agency. Prior to allowing community members to voice their opinion on the matter, the commissioners wished to give an explanation. Representatives from Graphite Solar were present and willing to speak. It was explained that this project would connect to Pacificorp and deliver power. The project already obtained an agreement with Pacificorp as well as a conditional use permit.

It was explained that the project is a 40-year power plant that will operate at the site. During the construction, Graphite Solar stated that it will attempt to use as many local resources as possible. They have built similar projects in Iron County and over 90 percent of the workers were local.

Graphite Solar anticipates eight months for construction. The project area is private property and will be leased from three local landowners. The company worked with Carbon County Attorney Christian Bryner to ensure that proper legal procedures were followed. The budget aspect is really looking into the future, not allocating monies. With these explanations, the public hearing was opened, where six individuals spoke.

One community member that spoke expressed that they would rather have a coal-generated power plant, also questioning how the solar facility would affect the county as a whole. Other questions that came from the community pertained to the jobs it could possibly bring as well as inquiries about the land. The commissioners felt it prudent to explain that this hearing was not to decide whether or not to allow the project to come into town, explaining that it has already been decided.

Rather, the question was only if there would be a tax incentive through the Redevelopment Agency for the project. The project has been in the works for quite some time. With comments in mind, the Redevelopment Agency approved adopting the plan with a number of recommended changes. They also approved adopting the budget with adjustments made by Craig Smith of Smith Hartvigsen.

The agency then reconvened as the Carbon County Commission to discuss and possibly approve the action on Ordinance 531, adopting the project area plan. This was also approved.

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