The Washakie County Commissioners will begin accepting bids on a proposed $60,000 removal of the sand bar from the Big Horn River just north of the highway bridge. A wider timeframe has been recommended by County Planner David Anderson, bidders must have a completion date set at no later than October 6th.
County entities have been in contact with the Wyoming Bureau of Reclamation requesting a lowering of the flow in the Big Horn River from its current 1,110 cubic feet per second rate, down to 600 cubic feet per second to aid in the ease of construction and also allow for safer work conditions. The Bureau of Reclamation will process the request in conjuction with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department as a drop in C F S flow will impact fishing in the area and downstream.
Currently the bid request is structured just for the removal of the sand bar as it is currently planned that City and County trucks would haul away the dirt and debris from the removal.
Early in the process of gathering information and efforts to make sure that the county was protected from any regulatory, state and federal, burdens, Tom Johnson with the Army Corp of Engineers told the County Commissioners the Clean Water Act requires a permit to remove material from the river, although the city and county would not need a permit to redistribute the sediment blocking the river, or transfer it to build berms.
Johnson recommended that as long as the bank was not altered, the county could dig out the sediment and transfer it to trucks, for further county use. Any sediment that fell in the process was considered spillage and was admissible without a permit. In all, the Army Corps would not need to be involved with the project to remove the sediment.
Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney is co-sponsoring a proposed bill that would hand more control of oil and gas development on federal lands to the states.
The Republican says the bill represents a better approach to regulations on the ground.
The proposal would allow states to prove they have the enforcement muscle and regulatory infrastructure to oversee oil and gas permitting, leasing and production on available federal land. The bill’s proponents say states have faced a decline in leasing on federal land in recent years under the Obama administration.
The majority of oil and gas development in Wyoming takes place on federal land, or involves federal minerals.
Environmental groups oppose the bill, saying it would give energy companies too much control over public land use.
A construction crew working behind Powell Middle School Friday morning struck a gas line, causing the evacuation of the school.
Joyce Ruward with the School District says that students and staff were moved out to the front of the school for safety, but that it was just a precaution. She says that the gas company and fire department were on the scene monitoring the situation shortly after the incident occurred.
Just after 1 p.m., Ruward sent out a notice to parents that the gas leak at the middle school had been corrected, the building was checked for any traces of gas and the gas company and fire department let the administration know all was safe and students could go back to class.