Jim Cleary of El Paso Western Pipeline groups talks to Senator Bert Brackett Wednesday afternoon at the Idaho Statehouse, Ritter photo
El Paso Group grilled by Idaho Lawmakers
Boise-Representative Judy Boyle, R-Midvale blasted the El Paso Western Pipeline group on Wednesday in front of a joint-legislative committee for entering into agreement with Western Watershed group.
Boyle didn’t sugarcoat her comments to El Paso Group President Jim Cleary. She called WWP a group of “domestic terrorists,.” while Representative Lenore Barrett took it step further: “You dodged a bullet, but you funded the firing squad that’s coming for the rest of us.”
Cleary’s company is in the middle of building the Ruby gas pipeline that runs from Wyoming to Nevada. Last year the company triumphantly announced that they had reached a deal with WWP, paying $15-million into a WWP program in exchange for a 10-year lawsuit moritorium.
Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon Ranchers were outraged fearing that the astronomical settlement agreement will fund environmental group lawyers with no oversight and worse yet, fund a group hell-bent on their destruction. Senator Bert Brackett R-Twin Falls, warned that WWP is looking to buy up grazing leases, and take cattle off the land, despite wording in the agreement that the fund would buy permits from willing ranchers.
“This is just another tactic,” said Brackett. He’s told Cleary. He said WWP is in the business of threatening lawsuits, “That’s how you get a willing seller,” he said. He also warned that taking cattle off the land and leaving it empty, “destroys the tax base.”
Representative JoAnn Wood, R-Rigby asked Jim Cleary if he was aware that under current environmental law that rehabilitation is already required by law. Lawmakers also reminded the El Paso Group that other groups not bound by the agreement can still sue.