From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 6, Number 5 - April 27, 2006
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

PAWG group ponders numbers

by Bill Boender

The Pinedale Anticline Working Group met in Pinedale on Thursday, April 20, to hear updates on the master schedule and to discuss term expirations. Two newly approved appointees, Betty Fear representing Sublette County and Steve Duerr representing the public at large, were introduced to the group.

All other PAWG members will see their terms expire this month, leaving only the two new members to conduct business. A tentative meeting scheduled to continue plan work on May 16 will probably be cancelled as Fear has a Sublette County Commission meeting on that date. Duerr indicated he would not be comfortable holding a meeting as the only active member.

Matt Anderson, Bureau of Land Management planner and PAWG coordinator, noted that all members could still attend meetings and contribute as members of the public even though their terms had expired. Linda Baker, environmental group representative, suggested all deliberations be canceled until a full membership can be established.

A lengthy discussion about how and why this situation is facing the group resulted in few answers and no solution. All groups represented will need to provide new nominees to the BLM which will then go through the sometimes lengthy approval process to have them confirmed. Open positions are to be advertised in order to find qualified applicants with 45 days allowed to submit names to the BLM.

Pinedale BLM office field manager Dennis Stenger, who has held that position only a month, said “I can’t comment on what happened to the process. I wasn’t here when it happened and can only try to do the best I can to correct the situation.”

Stenger further advised PAWG members that “The funding will be available now but there will be cuts in 2008. The earlier we start, the better off we will be. You still have viable groups with valid ideas. Whether you have formal standing or not, we can listen to you.”

Baker objected to continuing work informally, insisting that all groups needed to be adequately represented in any recommendations made to BLM. Robin Smith, representing producer interests, agreed that all parties need to have a voice in recommendations.

Duerr commented “This is an incredible waste of time. I know why my predecessor resigned.”

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