YFZ Ranch seeks permit for concrete bulk plant
Representatives of the YFZ Ranch have applied with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for an air quality permit for a concrete batch plant located on ranch property some four miles north of Eldorado on Schleicher County Road 300. A public notice, published in this edition of the Success (see Page 8) states that the plant will emit particulate matter, especially aggregate, cement and road dust.
TCEQ rules allow for public comments and even a public meeting on the issue. The deadline for persons to submit comments or request a public meeting is 30 days from now, according the notice posted by ranch officials.
A TCEQ spokesman told the Success Tuesday that while public input is encouraged, strong evidence must be submitted before the agency will call a public hearing.
YFZ Ranch asks for City's help
Ernie Jessop and Lee Roy Steed, representing the YFZ Ranch, came before the Eldorado City Council Monday evening to ask that the city accept wastewater from the ranch on a temporary basis. Jessop noted that inspectors from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality had shut down the ranch's septic system and that plans were in the works to build a small wastewater treatment plant at the ranch. Jessop asked the city council if they would accept sewage from the ranch at the citys wastewater plant while a suitable plant could be built at the ranch.
Most questions from the city council involved whether or not the city's facility could handle the additional wastewater and if safeguards could be put in place to avoid contaminating the city's plant with pesticides and/or petroleum products.
President George W. Bush renewed his efforts this week to pass a constitutional amendment that would define the institution of marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman, putting himself directly at odds with those in America's burgeoning homosexual community and his political adversaries in the Democratic Party.
The President may have also unwittingly staked out a position in a battle that is brewing here in Schleicher County, a battle emerging not between gays and straights, but between local residents and a polygamous sect calling itself the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).
That sect, led by its Prophet Warren Jeffs, purchased some 1,600 acres a mere four miles north of Eldorado in November of 2003. Since that time, a massive building program has begun on the property.
One of the primary tenets of the FLDS faith is that of multiple or "plural" marriages. For decades FLDS members have skirted bigamy laws in Utah and Arizona by claiming only one "legal marriage" while maintaining numerous "celestial" or "plural" marriages. Often times the marriages involved teen-aged girls, some as young as 14, being wed to men three and four times their age. Numerous published accounts claim Prophet Warren Jeffs has taken many celestial wives, with numbers ranging from 35 to 75. No one affiliated with the FLDS will confirm these numbers. Neither will the Prophet who avoids all contact with the media.
City weighs YFZ wastewater request
A crowd of about 75 persons gathered Tuesday evening in the Schleicher County Memorial Building for a called meeting of the Eldorado City Council. While most were there to sit and listen, many took the opportunity to voice their opinions regarding a request by the YFZ Ranch that the City of Eldorado accept wastewater from the ranch at its sewer plant.
After a lengthy question and answer session the council eventually decided to table the question until more information could be obtained, as well as a written request from the YFZ.
The issue became a hot button item last week when YFZ representatives Ernie Jessop and Lee Roy Steed appeared before the council to ask that they consider accepting the wastewater until a new sewer plant could be built at the ranch.
Most of those commenting Tuesday night were opposed to the idea of taking wastewater from the YFZ, even temporarily, with many of them basing their objections on moral grounds. More than one of the speakers made reference to the fact that the YFZ is actually owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a polygamous group from the Utah/Arizona border region, and that numbers of FLDS members are relocating to Schleicher County.
Mayor John Nikolauk opened the meeting by thanking those in attendance and explaining that the council faced a tough decision. He added that he hoped the decision could be based on facts and not on emotion. The mayor went on to explain that the city had set a precedent in the past by accepting waste from outside the city limits, first from the U.S. Air Force PAVE-PAWS facility, and secondly from Western Company, an oilfield service company that was later taken over by BJ Services.
Prophet's wife dies at YFZ
Barbara Ann Barlow, 39, wife of FLDS Prophet Warren Jeffs, died Saturday, July 10, 2004, at the YFZ Ranch in Eldorado. Justice of the Peace James C. Doyle of Eldorado ruled that Ms. Barlow died of natural causes after a battle with cancer.
Sources in Colorado City, Arizona and Bountiful, Canada, tell the Eldorado Success that Ms. Barlow and her twin sister, Annette Barlow, were both married to Warren Jeffs in a joint ceremony, before he ascended to the office of prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Authorities say that Annette Barlow still lives at the YFZ.
Ms. Barlow had reportedly been under medical treatment and moved to Schleicher County to be with her family. She had been seeing a doctor in San Angelo prior to death.
Ms. Barlow's body was taken to Johnson's Funeral Home in San Angelo. Burial service was conducted at a private cemetery on the YFZ Ranch.
The Eldorado Success invites Warren Jeffs and/or other leaders of the FLDS church to comment on this or any other story surrounding the FLDS and the YFZ Ranch.
Water District okays water well permits for YFZ
The Plateau Underground Water Conservation & Supply District board of directors met Tuesday, July 20, and approved two permit applications submitted by the YFZ Ranch, allowing a re-entry of an old well and the drilling of a new one. Before voting on the matter, the directors heard from District Manager Cindy Cawley, who explained to the exact location of the wells and said that they met current regulations on spacing and depth.
During the discussion it was noted that there are already two wells in use at the ranch, one of which is being used to irrigate a large garden. Cawley informed the board that YFZ representative Ernie Jessop had told her the garden is soon to be doubled in size. She added that although the well is currently exempt from district rules it would become subject to those rules if production exceeds 25,000 gallons per day. If and when that benchmark is reached, the an application for a permit for that well must be filed with the district, Cawley said.
Discussion then turned to the issue of municipal water supply wells. It was explained that wells used to serve more than 25 people fall under TCEQ guidelines and must be monitored for bacteria and chemically treated, much the same as wells owned by the City of Eldorado.