From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 23 - September 5, 2002
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Green River water agreement slow in coming

by Cat Urbigkit

Randy Bolgiano, Stan Murdock and Dan Budd, representing the Green River Basin Advisory Group, spoke with Sublette County Commissioners Tuesday about the need to get a program in place to sponsor water development projects.

Bolgiano reminded the commission that the same group came before the commission in April, and were advised that the commission was looking at joining into a joint powers agreement with the four other Green River Basin counties.

"We are here to encourage you to continue on this process," Bolgiano said, of both creating the joint powers board and eventual construction of storage projects.

The idea was originally broached at a commission meeting involving many of the same people in November 2001, but little has been done to have the board come into creation.

The commissioners noted that Sweetwater County officials had written a draft agreement, but the other counties took no action, even though representatives of the various counties discussed the matter on several different occasions.

Commissioner Betty Fear said her original hunch that the end result may just have Sublette and Lincoln counties signing onto agreement may come to fruition if the other counties can't agree to participate.

But Big Piney rancher Dan Budd advised the commission to seek out the larger group, since five counties would have a lot more political power than one or two.

"We need to do something to start to protect Wyoming's share" of water allocated in Colorado River compacts, Budd emphasized.

Budd said while he may not live to see it, eventually there will be a call on the Green River: "Then what do we do without any storage or anything else?"

While pressures to use the upper basin's water allocations are increasing from downriver states, Wyoming needs to be posed to act to protect its water resource. But for storage projects, there must be a legal entity in place to make these funding proposals to the state water development commission.

After discussing the issue further, the commission agreed to have the county attorney provide corrections to the document drafted by Sweetwater County. Fear will discuss the issue with commissioners from other counties later. Chairman Bill Cramer said the Sublette County Commission will sign off on a joint powers agreement at its Oct. 1 meeting.

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