|Members of the Southeastern Utah Energy Producers Association and the Carbon Small Business Alliance discuss community development during a luncheon meeting last Thursday. Energy producers scheduled last week's organizing meeting to get the association up and running.|
Energy development and production has always played a major role in Carbon County's economy.
First came coal from the plateaus and mesas of Carbon and Emery counties. Then came uranium development in Grand, San Juan and Emery.
In the last 20 years, coal bed methane has been developed to the point that there are literally thousands of holes in the area producing gas for the American publics consumption.
However, the factions that produce the different kinds of energy have not been totally united when it comes to public policy and the advancement of the other economic interests in the area.
With the situation in mind, a number of energy company representatives and public officials met last Thursday to plan a strategy for a new organization intended to change past practices, develop unity and promote community development.
The organization will be known as the Southeastern Utah Energy Producers Association.
"Our mission will be to engage in activities that will promote energy production, along with education on the industry and to help with the overall economic development of the area," said Kenneth Payne, an energy consultant with the KP Company in Price.
The plan that the group has set includes putting people together from all aspects of the energy business.
The areas will include coal production and transportation, gas/oil development and production, power generation and suppliers to all those industries as well.
"There has never been an organization that represents all those factions of the energy industry from this part of the state," says Jerry Carlson who owns Castle Valley Services in Price. "Included in the organization will be groups from all various areas of this part of the state that are associated with the industries."
Along with some energy representatives that met on Thursday morning, members of the Carbon Small Business Alliance also joined them for lunch at noon. The initial executive board consists of Payne and Carlson, Harold Cunningham (PacifiCorp), Ellis Pierce (Pierce Oil), Duane Zavadil (Bill Barrett Corporation), Ken May and Sam Quigley from the coal industry, and Ryan Thomas from the College of Eastern Utah. The board will also include a member from XO Energy and from Savage Trucking to represent the transportation industry.
Carlson and Payne say that companies from Carbon, Emery, Grand, San Juan, Sevier and Sanpete counties will be represented. The group is also planning a kickoff dinner that will bring together not only those energy entities, but also local government leaders from all those counties as well.
"We've invited the county commissioners from all those areas," explained Carlson. "If they all come that may be the first time all these individuals have been in the same room together, getting to know each other in a social setting."
Carlson said that some of the people involved know each other, but in many cases those from one segment of the energy industry have never met others in another segment. And many of them have little idea of who the government leaders are as well.
The state legislative delegation, Senator Mike Dmitrich and State Representative Brad King are involved in the project as well. They have also invited state legislative representative from the other counties where applicable as well.
That dinner and meeting will take place on Nov. 18 at the Elks Lodge in Price.
"We believe this will produce some good results for the businesses and the communities in the southeastern part of Utah," concluded Carlson.