I would like to comment on the "Programmatic Agreement for the West Tavaputs 'EIS' recently discussed in the Utah media.
Before I make those comments, I would like to tell the Utah Rock Art Research Association, the Nine Mile Canyon Coalition and Carbon County how much I appreciate them for their participation in the negotiation process of this agreement. The process took well over a year but was a process I see as beneficial and one that could be used in other "sticky" situations like this.
I also appreciate the BLM's recognition that development of resources in Nine Mile Canyon and the West Tavaputs would have negative impacts on the cultural resources found there. Those of us who have loved Nine Mile Canyon for years know the extent of the rock art and other archaeological sites found in the canyon, but it's nice when the federal agency official recognizes them also.
The value of the agreement lies in its implementation. URARA and the Nine Mile Coalition signed the agreement, not because its members see it as a home-run for canyon enthusiasts, but because they believe it may provide adequate protection to cultural resources if it is fully implemented. But its success depends on everyone staying involved in the process and all parties living up to their commitments in the agreement.
Agreements like this are difficult. They come about only when people get to know people, sit down at the same table, share ideas and often times food. They don't come by being critical to others.
I take issue with Mr. Mainord's stinging letter about Pam Miller (Letters to the Editor, Sun Advocate, Jan. 19, 2010). Pam was one of the first people I met when I began my research in Nine Mile. She doesn't fit the description of her used by Mr. Mainord. She cares deeply about Nine Mile and has been one of the driving forces behind improvements in the canyon. I salute her.
Mr. Mainord should be careful with his facts. He gives Bill Barrett Corporation credit for the improvements made at the Great Hunt Panel. I have been involved to an extent in those improvements, so I know where the money came from and who did the work. Yes, BBC moved the road and they should be complimented for it, but the company did not make the improvements. Grants were received for the work and volunteers from many groups, including the College of Eastern Utah, historical groups and others joined together to get it done. Yes, I have seen Pam there on numerous occasions hoisting a shovel or survey tool with sweat streaming down her face. Let's give credit where credit is due and not be critical or mean-spirited just because our views differ from someone else's.
We all benefit from natural gas. Never have I heard anyone say the Tavaputs project must be stopped. I would like to see the project proceed while we protect the precious resources Nine Mile has to offer.
Let's respect the opinions of others even if they do differ from ours.