Illegal litter

The debris pile pictured on Bureau of Land Management property outside of Farson was discovered and disposed of by Jonah Energy employees on May 13. BLM investigators traced the illegal dumpsite to a Denver woman who was working as a subcontractor on a Jackson Hole homebuilding site, and fined her $780.

A Denver roofer on the long drive back from a Jackson Hole homebuilding site has been fined for leaving a heap of construction trash on the publicly owned sagebrush flats outside Farson.

The Bureau of Land Management announced Friday that it issued an undisclosed party a “substantial citation” for dumping pallets, shingles and other debris on its land adjacent to Highway 191 just north of Farson. Citing BLM policy, a spokesperson for the federal agency last week declined to name the cited party or specify the amount of the fine, which is bondable and does not require a court appearance.

BLM personnel conferred with federal attorneys and reversed course Monday, identifying the illegal litterer as 31-year-old Denver resident Idalia Reyes-Cruz and specifying that she was fined $780. BLM spokeswoman Courtney Whiteman said Tuesday that she did not know the name of the business Reyes-Cruz worked for or the Jackson Hole contractor she subcontracted for, but would provide that information once it became available.

A left-behind water bottle and paperwork provided a BLM law enforcement officer with the evidence needed to identify Reyes-Cruz.

“During our investigation we found a water bottle with a name written on it,” an unidentified BLM law enforcement official said in a statement. “We tracked that person down and used invoices left at the scene to determine the company responsible. We learned the trash originated from a contractor working in the Jackson area and traveling back to Colorado through Farson.”

Reyes-Cruz’s penalty could have been much more severe, according to the BLM’s statement. Under the Federal Code of Regulations, illegal disposal of trash on public land is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 and up to a year in jail.

It was workers for Jonah Energy — the dominant natural gas producing company in the Green River valley — that reported the illegal dumpsite to authorities. The Jonah Energy employees also removed the trash and debris from the area.

BLM spokeswoman Nikki Maxwell told the Jackson Hole Daily that she was thankful for the people who called in and voluntarily removed the garbage.

“Most of the time when trash is dumped, there is unfortunately not enough evidence to identify who did it,” Maxwell said. “This worked out well for justice.”

Reyes-Cruz was cited May 31. She was given 45 days to settle up on the $780 fine, or to protest and receive a court date.

The illegal BLM dumping marks the second instance in a month that an out-of-town roofing company ran amuck with the law while commuting to or from Jackson Hole.

On May 20, Ricardo Martinez Vazquez and Jose Oscar Martinez Duran were arrested after losing their brakes and rolling a dump truck while coming down Teton Pass on their way back from Idaho Falls. The men, who hopped in a getaway car and fled the scene, lacked a commercial driver’s license, log book, U.S. Department of Transportation number and medical cards. They were charged with leaving the scene of an accident, failure to report an accident, seat belt violations and several federal citations.

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or environmental@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them for 7 years. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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