TREMONTON -- All but one member of the Tremonton City Council recently signed a letter of support for Box Elder County Commissioners, who are trying to protect the grazing rights of ranchers in western Box Elder County.
The commissioners, along with commissioners in 15 counties in five states, have all banded together to respond to the news that El Paso Corporation, the parent company over Ruby Pipeline, has entered into an agreement with the Western Watershed Project that sends money to the group in return for no lawsuits over siting the pipeline.
Many fear that agreement will jeopardize the grazing rights of ranchers in Box Elder County.
Tremonton City Councilman Lyle Holmgren said many in the county are concerned that El Paso and the Western Watershed Project will buy land in western Box Elder County and then end the grazing rights of that land.
Holmgren said ranchers in Box Elder County contribute more than $70 million in taxes to this county and Tremonton gets a portion of that money.
Councilman David Deakin, a landowner in western Box Elder County, refused to sign the letter.
"It feels like protectionism to me," Deakin said, explaining the land will be purchased on the open market and landowners should be able to control what happens on their property.
"We're not entering into litigation, we are just expressing appreciation to the ranchers within Box Elder County," Holmgren said.
"We are not stopping the decision. We are just offering support to the ranchers."