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

Hay quarantine raised as issue for board appointment

by Cat Urbigkit

On Tuesday, Sublette County Commissioners were faced with two applications for the sole vacancy on the Sublette County Weed and Pest District Board.

The vacancy was created last month when Dan Holgate resigned from the board, but his term wasn't slated to end until January 2004.

Pam Hamilton and John Copeland, both of the Big Piney area, applied for a commission appointment to the board. Copeland was in attendance at the meeting, but Hamilton wasn't.

Copeland referred to his diverse employment background, noting that he also does custom haying. Daniel rancher Doug Vickrey spoke favorably of Copeland's application as well.

Referring to the proposal earlier this year to quarantine any non-certified hay from being imported into the county, Commissioner Betty Fear questioned, "Is this appointment issue-driven in any way?"

Vickrey, a vocal proponent of the quarantine proposal, said as far as he's concerned, the hay quarantine is a moot point and that the focus needs to be on educational efforts first.

Commissioner Gordon Johnston asked Copeland what his view was on the quarantine issue. Johnston and Fear both opposed the proposal. Johnston noted that he knew Hamilton opposed the proposal as well.

Copeland said, "I'm not really in favor of the quarantine until you can get other states to join in."

He said until surrounding areas decide to join in, "it's not a very good deal," since so much hay is imported into the county and state.

The hay quarantine issue was a contentious one last winter, with the weed and pest board narrowly voting to kill the idea at a public hearing by a 3-2 vote in late March. Holgate was one of the three votes to kill the proposal.

Fear made the motion to appoint Copeland to the board, and Johnston provided the second for the motion.

The commissioners noted that two other board seats are up for appointment next January as well.

"I'm hearing all kinds of complaints all over the county, that the weed issue is not being taken care of at this time," Fear said.

Vickrey responded that more people need to become involved in weed eradication, rather than just complaining.

Fear said she hears complaints of people asking for help with weeds from the county weed and pest, and not getting it.

"That needs to be addressed," Fear said, adding she hears weed complaints about as frequently as she hears complaints about roads.

More and more people are using private weed sprayers, Fear noted because of the problems.

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