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Wyoming House sends wind energy tax to the Senate

The Wyoming House has approved a state excise tax on commercial wind energy generation and sent the measure to the Senate.

House Bill 101 would impose a $1 per megawatt hour tax, generating an estimated $3.8 million annually under current production rates. The House approved the bill Thursday with two-thirds support.

Representatives opposed to the bill argued that the tax is ill-conceived and premature. Supporters say the state should pass the tax and then work to refine the tax structure for wind energy in coming years.

The latest version of the bill includes an amendment giving counties a majority of the tax revenue in a 60-40 split with the state.

The bill calls for the state to start collecting the tax in 2012. Turbines would be subject to the tax after being in operation for three years.