Letter to the editor: It doesn't take a scientist

Dear editor,

We will begin by saying that we do not have a problem with the county owning the Doyle property. As a community grows, it is wise and prudent to set aside land for future infrastructure needs. However, the decision to put a gravel pit/hot mix asphalt plant so close to town is mind-boggling. Years ago when the Doyles sold the first parcel to Sublette County, Virginia Doyle told us that the county was going to build administrative buildings there and that sounded fine. 

Jim was raised in Green River and has owned property in Wyoming since 1974. Jim’s dad was the Sweetwater County clerk in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. We bought “Doc Smith’s house” just south of town 25 years ago and have tried to be good stewards of the house and the land, and contribute to the community when we can.

We are not scientists, but it doesn’t take a scientist to know that this gravel pit and hot mix asphalt plant will enormously affect the environment and quality of life for the surrounding area. The U.S. Office of the Environmental Protection Agency, Air Quality, Planning and Standards states, “Asphalt processing … facilities are major sources of hazardous air pollutants … exposure to these air toxins may cause cancer, central nervous system problems, liver damage, respiratory problems and skin irritation.”  

We have seen studies that suggest such facilities should be placed more than a mile from where people work, live and play. The word “mitigation” has been used, but we strongly believe that it will be impossible to mitigate an undertaking of this size and scope. This can’t be the only parcel of land in this huge county suitable to this purpose.

The location of the proposed facility at the busy intersection of Highway 191 South and Pole Creek Road, both heavily traveled roads, which serve the nearby residential homes and ranches, seems counter to common sense. The additional big trucks and heavy equipment traffic will add congestion, even with the addition of new roads/traffic lanes. The water used to control dust and clean equipment will very likely be contaminated, so we have grave concerns about the water that continually runs off the “bench” (where the facility will be located) and under Highway 191 across our property and directly into Pine Creek.

We believe that communities and neighborhoods should decide what they want to look like. This land deal was put together very quickly, without input from the community. We are told that the county had no obligation to inform or ask for input from the community before embarking on this venture. When leaders stop seeking input or listening to constituents, they have failed their community. Just because an entity “can” do something does not mean it should. This mine/hot mix asphalt plant will be a big, dirty and smelly eyesore right at the entrance to Pinedale. The number of families and homes that this undertaking will directly and negatively affect is very significant. There are so many other possible uses for this pristine parcel of land. The residents of Pinedale deserve better.



Jim and Marla Harrigan, Pinedale