Suspicious gap in records
Elko Grand Jury Ponders Federal Activities

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A large spring important to ranchers in Ruby Valley, southeast of Elko, was deliberately destroyed with heavy equipment at the same time as the U.S. Forest Service had a track-mounted bulldozer in the area, says a report issued by the Elko County grand jury.  
Because the federal agency is refusing to allow its employees to testify before the grand jury or respond to subpoenas, said the panel, the investigation will not resume, or proceed toward an indictment, until a court compels the agency to cooperate.
Since February the grand jury has been looking into activities of U.S. Forest Service employees in Elko County. This report, announced as the first of several, focused primarily on the filling-in of Woolverton Spring, in North Ruby Valley.
Not only is the federal agency's account of what happened at the spring not credible, said the panel, but there is a suspicious gap in the relevant Forest Service records.
"Documentation and testimony reveals that the U. S. Forest Service had a track-mounted dozer and operator in the Woolverton Spring area in the spring of 1989 specifically working on water development projects.
"Records normally kept for the equipment which identify what project the equipment was working on and for how long, show that the dozer was used for a number of hours which are not accounted for in the records.
"Due to legal objections and a lack of cooperation from the U.S.F.S., the Grand Jury

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was unable to obtain additional accurate and detailed documentation for project work in North Ruby Valley during the time in question."
State of Nevada foresters also contradicted the U.S. Forest Service's version of events, noted the panel.
"Testimony from Nevada Division of Forestry employees familiar with the area indicate that they installed a fence around Woolverton Spring in 1986 at the direction of the U. S. Forest Service. At that time, there were no signs of any disturbance at the spring."
Though its inquiry focused on the Woolverton Spring matter, the grand jury also found that the federal agency "has shown a blatant disregard" for the county's citizens, "placed unreasonable restrictions" on Ruby Valley waters users, and "denied the vested and adjudicated water rights" of permittees.
Finally, found the grand jury, Forest Service officials have "designed and implemented an administrative system which virtually guarantees that a permittee will lost any dispute with the forest service, either locally or on appeal."


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