|Commission confronts El Paso on WWP deal|
|Written by Dee Holzel|
|Tuesday, August 10 2010 05:51|
WINNEMUCCA — Representatives from El Paso Pipeline were on hand for the Humboldt County Commissioners special meeting on Monday (Aug. 9) where the energy giant was chastised for doing business with conservation groups opposed to livestock grazing.
Although the details of the settlement were not disclosed due to confidentiality agreements, Locher told the county commission controls were put on the money so that 1) it wouldn’t go directly to conservation groups but to a trust fund, 2) the money would be distributed over a ten-year period, 3) would be used for habitat restoration, 4) could not be used for litigation except to protect the fund, and 5) it may be used to purchase grazing rights from “willing sellers”.
Locher explained the company was facing federal lawsuits from the conservation groups that might have severely delayed the start of construction on the Ruby Pipeline. Such a delay would have impacted
Locher offered the company’s “sincerest apologies” and said at the time it appeared the controls on the deal with WWP were sufficient.
WWP is the scourge of cattlemen due to their efforts to close public lands to cattle grazing, which they believe negatively impacts habitats of the animals living there.
Commissioner Garley Amos railed against the conservation groups saying “it made him sick to his stomach” to see the energy company held up in the construction process and having to pay money to special interest groups to continue.
“I think it’s criminal that you have to pay them money to continue your project," he said.
Attending the meeting were representatives of the livestock industry, including John Falen, vice-chairman of the Nevada Lands Council, which attempted unsuccessfully to convince
In order to even things up a bit,
Falen said he believed
Making a rare appearance at the meeting to address the issue was former Humboldt County Commissioner and rancher Buster Dufurrena. He referred to WWP as “a very aggressive outfit” and said he was concerned about the precedent being set. He pointed out anyone who does business on public lands, such as a wind-energy firm, is going to have to get by WWP.
Commission Chairman Chuck Giordano expressed his concern some ranchers would be enticed off their ranches by big money. He said livestock grazing was important to
It should be noted there would have to be changes to federal law, with specific reference to the Taylor Grazing Act, to make feasible the permanent retirement of grazing allotments.