Box Elder County Commissioners remain firm in their opposition to a contract between El Paso Corp. and regional environmental groups that puts local ranchers in danger of losing grazing rights on federal land.
Commissioners recently learned that El Paso Corp. will pay $20 million over 10 years into a trust fund set up for the purpose of habitat rehabilitation.
In exchange, the environmental group Western Watershed Project has agreed to drop its opposition to construction of the Ruby Pipeline, set to begin any day.
Box Elder is one of nine counties to be crossed by the Ruby Pipeline, a 675-mile line of 42-inch pipe to transport natural gas from Wyoming to Oregon. Each of the nine counties has agreed to form a coalition of counties which will form and pass a resolution to protect ranchers' rights.
To date, several drafts of a resolution have been created, but none are ready for ratification. Commissioners have said they wish to wait until after an Aug. 12 coalition meeting in order to draft a resolution that shows unity between the counties.
"I thoroughly support the efforts of these nine counties to put together this resolution to retain these grazing permits," said Commissioner Jay Hardy. "There is a lot of federal ground in our county."