Back in 2008 when the previous political campaigns were in full swing, the big questions on many minds centered around the development of Nine Mile Canyon. "Who should be responsible for improving and maintaining the roads? Would the drilling and development for gas production hurt the fragile treasures left from previous inhabitants of the area? Is there danger from overuse of the Canyon if the roads are improved?"
We have had at least partial answers to these concerns and have seen the willing participation by the Bill Barrett Corp. in protecting the archaelogical treasures and improving the roads in the canyon.
There were many players in that drama. Carbon County had its interests, which at times seemed to be at odds with the interests of some of the other players. SUWA and Bill Barrett Corporation were often on opposing sides of the issues, and, of course, the BLM and other government agencies all had their own ax to grind.
Now, two years later, we read of an agreement between all of these same folks in a new act of the old drama. This one has the name of West Tavaputs, and from all I can see it will be an act to benefit all of those involved. The local economy will likely get a big boost, which will help to offset a couple of ill conceived acts by the legislature that "killed" the budgets of some of the local towns. The Bill Barrett folks will be able to keep their expansion alive and even hire more of our local work-starved people, and at the same time avoid having to deal with lawsuits at every turn. The BLM and SITLA will be able to keep their oversight of the project alive with each additional well drilled. SUWA was also happy to have some of their interests recognized.
The conflicts began to dissipate and move in a positive direction when the two major adversaries in the conflict got together and hammered out some agreements. I was reminded of the Biblical admonition to "agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him..." I commend SUWA and the Bill Barrett Corporation for recognizing some common ground and finally finding a way to work together after bitter battles that had been going on for many years.
In the Wasatch Behind of June 15 (Sun Advocate), Tom McCourt was, as he said, "truly offended" that all of the parties, including Senators Bennett and Hatch, Governor Herbert, the Carbon County Commissioners, and the Department of Energy were not invited to the "secret deal behind closed doors" meetings.
With a committee like that, there might be an agreement reached by the end of the next millenium, but I have my doubts.