From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 6 - 10/5/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Industrial Site Expansion Dead
BLM won't sell County another 50 acres
by Rob Shaul

The planned expansion of the Industrial Site west of Pinedale is essentially dead. On Tuesday, the BLM's Prill Mecham told the Sublette County Commissioners that federal law and policy prevents her agency from selling the County the 50 acres of BLM land adjacent to the current Industrial Site for expansion of the Site.

The land that became the Industrial Site was sold to the County by the BLM back in 1971, Ms. Mecham told the Commissioners- prior to the passage of the Federal Lands Management Policy Act, which was passed in 1976. Tuesday, Ms. Mecham told the Commissioners that the lands adjacent to the current Industrial Site were not identified for disposal in the Pinedale Resource Management Plan (RMP). Further, FLMPA requires that any land sold by the BLM must be made at a price not less than market value. In the long run, Ms. Mecham said any lands the BLM could sell would cost Sublette County more money because of processing costs. She noted that there are several lots at the current Industrial Site for sale, and that it wasn't in the BLM position to go into competition with private land owners.

Finally, Ms. Mecham said current Clinton Administration policy is not to sell public lands, but to exchange them. This is because the public has expressed concern with reducing the amount of federally owned land.

After telling the County the BLM wouldn't sell the 50 acres for an Industrial Site expansion, Ms. Mecham said her agency would happily deed the County 60 acres for a shooting range managed by the Sporting Clays Association. Ms. Mecham explained that the BLM could give the county this land because it was to be used for recreation - one of the uses allowed under FLMPA for lands the BLM disposes of.

Forest Service Planning Timber Sales

Pinedale District Ranger Bob Reese told the Commissioners his agency was moving forward with a 1 million board foot timber sale for a blowdown on Union Pass, and a commercial post and pole sale near New Fork Lake. Mr. Reese expects the environmental studies for these two sales to be completed this fall or early next spring.

Another timber sale is being planned for the Upper Green. Mr. Reese told the commission that environmental study work on a 2 to 3 million board foot sale has begun and that the scoping document for the sale would be available to the public in the next 2-3 weeks.

Other Meeting News ...

Sheriff Hank Ruland told the Commissioners that Circuit Court Judge John Crow had requested a deputy be present at all Court hearings, and that this was costing the county overtime pay to the deputies who took the court duty. Commission Chairman Bill Cramer wondered if Judge Crow wanted a bailiff or an armed deputy. If the judge wanted a bailiff, Mr. Cramer questioned whether or not the County should pay for this person. If the judge was requesting an armed deputy, Mr. Ruland said a part time deputy might be needed to take the court duty. Mr. Ruland was directed to speak with Judge Crow to determine exactly what was being requested.

The Commissioners awarded Reed Construction a $246,206 contract to construct a new firehall at Bondurant.

At the recommendation of County Fire Marshall John Blaha, the Commissioners rescinded the County-wide open fire ban they imposed earlier this summer. "We kinda lucked out this year," Mr. Blaha told the Board, when it came to the relatively few number of wildfires in the county this year.

There are currently 20 rigs drilling in Sublette County, Ms. Mecham told the commissioners. She added that Sublette is "the second busiest area in the state next to the coal bed methane wells" in eastern Wyoming.

The Draft EIS for proposed oil and gas leasing in the Upper Green and Bondurant Basin will be released for public review in October, Mr. Reese told the commissioners. He added that this year's dry weather and resulting low food supply resulted in quite a few black bear problems in the Wilderness this summer.

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The Sublette County Journal, PO Box 3010, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3713
Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul