Implementation of Public Lands Act Continues

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By Julie Johansen

The Emery County Public Lands Council met on Tuesday as some chose to meet virtually while others attended in person. Emery County Commissioner Kent Wilson opened the meeting by reporting that the Department of the Interior approved five names for the committee to oversee the Public Lands Act. Two more positions are needed and applicants are being sought.

The areas these applicants would represent are tribal and conservation groups. Senator Mitt Romney is reaching out to potential individuals; however, the county would like anyone with these qualifications who would be willing to serve to contact the public lands administrator for the county. Emery County wants to be proactive and get committee acting. He also reported that public access at the north end of Long Street in Green River is moving forward.

Chairman Rod Player stated that there will probably be no field trip for the council this fall and meetings will continue as usual. The consideration of touring the Buck Master Mine area is still a possibility.

Dana Dean, Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, began her report stating that the Skyline Power Project is moving forward even though there is some logging in the area. Sunnyside fire ignited on old portal and everything possible is being done to prevent the entire seam from catching fire. She spoke about the reclamation in Crandall Canyon, which involves piping the water coming from inside the mine to Huntington Creek. She said it is meeting safety standards for the iron content. She also reported that the Murray Mining Company, which filed for bankruptcy, has changed the name of the company but will continue the bonds.

Commissioner Lynn Sitterud later reported on concerns regarding the refusal to pull a culvert so that a campground in the Crandall reclamation area could be established. Dean advised Emery County should write a letter to the Office of Surface Mining in Denver with these requests as they have to follow federal regulations.

Chris Wood, Division of Wildlife Resources, said that he division’s aquatic crew has been busy helping with building a new fence around Willow Lake and also surveying Huntington Creek. He also announced the following gill netting dates; Electric Lake, Oct. 6; Joe’s Valley, Oct. 8; and Huntington, Oct. 13. The public is invited to observe. The nets are put in the lake the night before and then removed around 8:30 or 9 a.m. the following morning.

Wood then reported that the meat program has had a huge response. This program donates wildlife and fish to those requesting the meat. He also reported that one bison in the Range Creek area has been harvested but it is still rather hot and cooler weather is when the migration usually begins.

Brian Torgerson, School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, gave a presentation to the council that contained four points of information. 1. They will have their fall auction online this year due to COVID-19. They only have a few parcels of land to auction. 2. The Green River Industrial lease expires on Dec. 31 and if the county wants to renew, a letter requesting an extension is needed. 3. The solar lease on Cedar Mountain has been executed and finalized with Community Energy. It is for 2,400 acres and 35 years. He reminded that this does not necessarily mean it will come to fruition. 4. There have been some helium access easements released to BowKnot Inc. Helium Gas.

To conclude, a representative from Goblin Valley announced a grant for $1.5 million for a new campground Behind the Butte. Even though visitor numbers have been down with no European travelers, revenue is still up.

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