Members of the Payson Town Council have been advised to stay away from the Diamond Rim exploratory wells meeting at the Lamplighter RV Park community center Monday evening in Star Valley.
"I called (Mayor-elect) Barbara Brewer to remind her of the meeting, and she told me that the legal department of the town of Payson had advised all present and (newly-elected) council members not to attend the meeting," Chuck Heron, leader of a coalition of Star Valley and Diamond Point Shadows residents opposed to the project, said. "Fred Carpenter (town manager) will be there and Mike Ploughe (town hydrologist) will be there, and that's it."
Brewer said it was actually Carpenter who advised the council not to attend, to keep them out of the line of fire. She said Carpenter and Ploughe will present the town's position and bring back the input of those in attendance.
Heron said the meeting format, suggested by Ken Houser of SWCA Environmental Consultants, will consist of four presentations, followed by an open forum question and answer period. Valley-based SWCA has been retained by the town to work with the Forest Service on the project.
The presentation topics are:
- Purpose and need for the water exploration project -- Carpenter and Ploughe
- Description of the project -- SWCA consultants
- NEPA process and public comment period -- Ed Armenta, Payson Ranger District
- How archaeological, environmental, biological and monitoring issues will be addressed -- Armenta and SWCA
Heron said he plans to keep a tight rein on the meeting.
"I'm going to moderate the meeting and I'm going to keep it focused and orderly," he said. "I'm going to control it like a French general."
Heron also said he agrees with the Citizens for Better Payson Government in calling for more input on the project from Payson residents to balance that provided by the residents of the smaller communities that are opposed.
"I think it's a good idea," Heron said. "Everybody's input should be submitted, and everybody's input should be applied to the environmental assessment."
The public is invited to the meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. Parking is limited, so car pooling is advised.