El Paso cuts deal with Western Watersheds
ADELLA HARDING Free Press Staff Writer
Posted: Friday, July 16, 2010 11:11 pm
ELKO — El Paso Corp. has reached a precedent-setting, $20 million arrangement for habitat protection with two environmental organizations that protested the company’s planned Ruby Pipeline that will extend from Wyoming to Oregon.
The company will set up conservation funds with the Western Watersheds Project and the Oregon Natural Desert Association, and the organizations in turn are dropping objections to the natural gas pipeline.
“It’s something we didn’t have to do. We chose to do it,” El Paso spokesman Richard Wheatley said Friday. “The bottom line is we think it’s a preferable approach than being involved in litigation.”
Establishment of the funds also is in line with the company’s outreach efforts to be good stewards of the land, he said.
“There is the potential to do really good work,” Wheatley said.
“We agreed not to try to delay or litigate Ruby Pipeline,” confirmed Western Watersheds Project Executive Director Jon Marvel.
He said El Paso will set up a $15 million conservation fund for Idaho-based Western Watersheds and a $5 million fund with the Oregon organization.
“The money also can be used to purchase private property or conservation easements, but our priority is grazing permits,” he said. “It’s time to end public lands grazing.” Read More
After learning more about this deal yesterday it becomes a very scary thing. Basically El Paso bribed their opposition to the pipeline with $20 million dollars so they could go after ranchers rather than the energy company. Also keep in mind that most of the pipeline in question is going through ranchland with the permission of the very ranchers who could now be put out of business. This just goes to show that neither El Paso or Western Watersheds have anyone with principals involved in their groups. Ending public grazing will negatively affect the rangeland that has been meticulously cared for by generations of ranching families. Stay tuned to this story because I’m not convinced it’s over yet.