From: J. Mark Ward [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2012 5:34 PM
To: Audrey Graham; Chris Baird; Chris Conrad; James Nyland; Ken Ballantyne; Pat Holyoak; Ruth Dillon; email@example.com
Subject: Responding to Request by Council Chair Gene Ciarus
Dear Grand County Council Members,
Yesterday Council Chair Ciarus made a specific request of me to state in a written message to all of you the basis and source of my information that the BLM Master Leasing Program came about as a result of confidential negotiations between BLM officials and environmental/wilderness organizations. This message constitutes my compliance with Council Chair Ciarus’ request:
The basis and source of this information, that the BLM Master Leasing Program came about as a result of confidential negotiations between BLM officials and environmental/wilderness organizations, are the words of BLM State Director Juan Palma affirming this in a meeting approximately a year and a half to two years ago at the BLM Vernal Field Office in Vernal attended by Commissioners from Uintah and Duchesne Counties and myself among others. The purpose of the meeting was for State Director Palma to introduce, announce and explain the Master Leasing Program to the Uintah and Duchesne Commissioners, and to answer their questions about the Master Leasing Program (MLP). Director Palma plainly stated in the hearing of myself and the Uintah and Duchesne Commissioners, that the MLP in Utah came about as a result of closed door negotiations between the BLM and environmental/wilderness organizations in the context of a lawsuit brought in the D.C. District of Columbia by the environmentalist/wilderness organizations against the BLM, challenging the BLM’s 2008 Resource Management Plans (RMPs) in the Vernal, Price, Richfield, Moab, Monticello and Kanab Field Offices. The closed door discussions, Director Palma explained, were held in an effort to try to resolve and settle the lawsuit, and part of what came out of these closed door meetings was a decision by the BLM to pursue the Master Leasing Program in Utah.
Incidentally, lawyers for the State of Utah and Uintah County who had tried to intervene in that lawsuit, tried unsuccessfully to take part in those close door meetings, but were denied the opportunity to participate. This I know from discussions with the trial lawyers representing the State of Utah and Uintah County in that intervention effort.
I hope this discharges the duty which Council Chair Ciarus imposed upon me to render an explanatory statement in this regard.
One more housekeeping item: Councilwoman Graham in a recent conversation with me asked that any written communications from me to any or all council members be routed through Ms. Dillon, the acting council administrative assistant, for Ms. Dillon to forward to each council member. When Council Chair Ciarus made the above request of me, I pointed out to him that Councilwoman Graham directed that I send such a communication straight to Ms. Dillon for distribution to the entire Council. Council Chair Ciarus directed that I instead send this message to each council member. . . . I decided to do the best I could to honor both Audrey and Gene’s requests, so I sent this message to both Ms. Dillon and each member of the Council. I will continue to operate in that manner (copies to Ms. Dillon and each Council member) unless and until I receive some reliably authoritative and non-conflicting directive to the contrary. (Translation: Work out and come to agreement what you want me to do guys, and I’ll do it.)
J. Mark Ward
Utah Association of Counties