Winters and Ladd win
By Benjamin Graham, Jackson Hole, Wyo.
June 30, 2012
Incumbents Nancy Winters and Ted Ladd will keep their seats on Lower Valley Energy’s board of directors after winning landslide election victories.
Lower Valley staff tallied the votes and announced results at the energy co-op’s annual meeting Thursday.
In the race for the district three seat, Winters beat out challengers Robert Saunders and Bill Winney. Winters raked in 1,524 votes to keep her seat on the board for a second three-year term.
Saunders pulled in 549 votes, while Winney totaled 388 votes. District three covers Hoback, Alpine and other areas south of Jackson, but members from throughout the service area voted.
Winters said she is excited to keep her seat because of several upcoming issues. She wants to be a part of the conversation over energy rates, which will take place this fall, she said.
She’ll work with the board to obtain “the lowest rates we can keep,” she said.
The potential for natural gas expansion is another issue for the board, Winters said.
“I’m very pleased with the momentum surrounding natural gas vehicles and natural gas stations,” Winters said.
At a board meeting Thursday, members unanimously approved the first phases of a natural gas pipeline to Teton Village.
Winters said at the meeting that the demand for natural gas in the village is strong, but stressed that easements must be acquired before the project proceeds.
Construction on the first two phases of the project is slated to begin this year. The board approved the pipeline project, with the stipulation that easements be in place first.
The pipeline would stretch from Teton Science Schools’ Jackson Campus to the village. The board allotted $1.04 million for the first two phases, which include laying pipes from the school to the Snake River bridge and along Highway 390 to Teton Village. The piping would connect the village with existing natural gas pipelines.
Ladd nearly doubled the vote count of the only challenger for the district four seat, Denny Emory. Ladd received 1,542 votes, while Emory pulled in 864. District four includes Wilson and the surrounding areas to the north and south.
Ladd, who will be serving his third term, said energy conservation will become increasingly important for Lower Valley. He also expressed reservations about the first phases of the Teton Village pipeline.
“Extending natural gas supply to Teton Village has always been part of the plan,” Ladd said in an email. “I’m delighted that we’ve commenced the project, but like the rest of the board, I remain wary of the costs and construction difficulties that we will undoubtedly encounter.”
Ladd expressed concern at the board meeting that, if costs for the first phases of construction exceed $1.04 million, the project would stall. Ladd supported the pipeline, despite apprehensions.
In the email, he maintained suppling power is complex and challenging, but that potential unknowns will provide new opportunities. He said he is excited to keep his seat on the board and to be a part of Lower Valley’s future.
“It is an honor to serve, an honor to be on the same ballot as Denny Emory, and an honor to have an impact on the future of power in northwestern Wyoming,” he said.