Oppose Ramaco’s rezone request
Ramaco’s request to rezone 114 acres of agricultural land in the Tongue River Valley to industrial will be heard by the Sheridan County commissioners on March 6 at 9 a.m.
Being a home and property owner bordering this rezone area, we are opposed to this rezoning and are concerned with the negative impact this rezoning would have on our and the neighboring properties. The proposed industrial park will increase traffic by Ramaco’s estimate of up to six to seven times the now average traffic, creating a safety hazard on the existing County Road 106. Dust, noise, air, lighting and water pollution will also accompany this industrial park.
The nearby Kleenburn Recreation Area — which provides daily fishing, hiking and family recreational activities to many Sheridan residents — and the nearby walk-in hunting areas that provide hunting and hiking opportunities would feel the negative effects of the proposed industrial zoning. The historic Monarch cemetery would become isolated and only accessible by what Ramaco refers to as a walking path.
This rezoning of agricultural lands to industrial would have a negative impact on all who enjoy the Tongue River Valley and the Kleenburn area. As neighbors, we do not feel Ramaco has been straight forward with the public about their intentions with this project.
Their plan of the research facility (chemical/manufacturing) has changed numerous times. They portray 114 acres as a coal mine wasteland where in fact it is the remains of the town sites where many of the underground coal miners’ homes were. There are still residents in the area that are second and third generation family members who have homes near this area.
The Ramaco facilities need to be put in the appropriate location — an area such as the Sheridan High-Tech Park, which has all the infrastructure already available.
Changing the agricultural zoning of the 114 acres to industrial in the Tongue River Valley would be a bad precedent to set. To help protect the agricultural lands of the Tongue River Valley and the character of rural living, voice your opposition of the proposed Ramaco industrial rezone application to the Sheridan County commissioners.
Jim and Bonnie Aksamit
Happy anniversary Ramaco!
Re: Project, rezone before the county
On Feb. 27, 2017, The Sheridan Press published an article “Ramaco Carbon plans research, manufacturing facility for coal products.” What a difference a year makes! Let’s look at what this one-year anniversary has brought us.
The company has filed to rezone 114 acres of irrigated farmland in the Tongue River Valley from agricultural to light industrial. This is where they want to locate their project, a research facility and eventually an industrial park.
Quoting directly from last year’s article: “The iCAM research facility, initially expected to employ 10-12 individuals, could grow quickly. When both the research and manufacturing facilities are at full-scale production, Ramaco officials said it could create more than 3,000 jobs in Wyoming, from engineers and scientists to manufacturers, construction workers and miners.”
Three thousand jobs? One year later, the job numbers have shrunk to 20-40, and that timeframe could take up to 20 years for both phases of the project. What will the job numbers be in another year? A couple dozen jobs is a far cry from a couple thousand jobs.
At the Sheridan County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting earlier this month, it seemed the commission’s decision to approve the rezoning was largely based on the jobs the project will produce. So it’s worthwhile to question just how many jobs are really going to be created.
Another interesting departure from last year’s plans is the change from the industrial park being zero emissions to low emissions. This leads me to wonder about their current claim of low emissions — where will that be in another year? The company claims that the neighbors will not experience any air quality issues, but a year ago they said there would no emissions. Again, this is an example of how their plans keep changing.
Many of us who are neighbors to the proposed facilities agree that Sheridan needs jobs, but we also have been watching Ramaco long enough to know that they promise a lot of things but have yet to deliver on them. I hope the county commissioners will see Ramaco’s plans for what they really are when the rezoning application comes before them March 6.
A special opportunity for Sheridan County
Re: Ramaco Carbon’s rezoning application
Approving Ramaco Carbon’s rezoning application enables achieving a long sought and elusive goal for Wyoming — increasing wealth creation and economic diversity by converting mineral resources to higher value products and establishing quality good paying jobs to retain Wyoming’s highly educated youth within our state.
The iCAM and iPark pursued by Ramaco aim to establish a forward-looking culture and ecosystem of research and light manufacturing to use hydrocarbon resources in new and sustainable ways. This is not our parent’s nor our grandparent’s way of using coal by burning it to provide heat and electricity.
Ramaco’s vision leverages decades of research advancement in new carbon materials such as carbon fiber that improve vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions through lower weight. Carbon fiber offers a ten-time better strength-to-weight than steel and four-times better than aluminum to enable lowering weight of our cars and trucks.
Over the past several decades, Western Research Institute has worked with many companies that sought to produce higher-value products from Wyoming’s vast mineral resources. The carbon fiber strength to weight advantage is a key reason why demand today for carbon fiber is the fastest growing in the fiber industry with compound annual growth rate estimates of 12-15 percent. The timing is right today for this opportunity to develop into an important new viable business. Carbon fiber represents one new important sustainable use of coal.
Western Research Institute is proud to partner with Ramaco Carbon to bring this special opportunity to Sheridan County and Wyoming.
CEO, Western Research Institute