by Pam Zubeck
Gary Walker of Walker Ranches in Pueblo will be paid $556,046 to allow Springs Utilities' Southern Delivery System to cross his land.
The biggest chunk is $480,000, a payment that will cover the rancher's problems arising from having construction near his cattle herd.
Utilities' Janet Rummel explains:
The Pueblo County 1041 permit requires that we relocate livestock away from construction activities if requested by the livestock owner. The SDS pipeline crosses seven miles of the Walker Ranches property, including multiple cattle pastures, impacting his livestock operations. We compensated Mr. Walker for temporarily relocating at least 1000 head of his cattle away from the construction activities during the construction and revegetation period (24 months). This cattle management agreement will protect the animals and avoid conflicts during construction. Staff evaluated a number of alternatives — including potential costs for feedlots, feed and transportation. The agreement to pay Mr. Walker to relocate his cattle was the most cost effective option; other alternatives were estimated to cost at least twice that amount. We reviewed this approach with the City Auditor's office and informed the Utilities Board prior to finalizing the agreement.
Utilities will pay Walker another $76,046 for land for the pipeline, based on an appraisal, Rummel says.
The Pueblo Chieftain reported Jan. 11 that work on the pipeline across the Walker property was under way. Walker's reluctance to sell had long been a stumbling block for the SDS project.