As many as 20 heavy trucks a day hauling construction materials and equipment rumbled down the valley's main gravel road, passing into a gate marked with a "No Trespassing" sign. Helicopters flew in sling loads of cargo. Powerful work lights lit up the valley at night.Nobody really knows because no permits - which would describe the intended use - have been drawn for the project.
Public planners in southwest Wyoming's Sweetwater County — a sagebrush expanse roughly the size of Massachusetts — say the contractor hired for the project has told them it intends to build a 22,000-square-foot underground storage vault to store documents.
Whose documents exactly? Apparently, the writings of the late L. Ron Hubbard, the Church of Scientology's founder, and other church records.
But plans remain vague. County land use planner John Barton said the county also has been told the vault might hold any number of things besides documents.
"We've had everything from underground housing of sheep or hay," Barton said. "We've had cemetery discussed. We've had mining discussed."
A local attorney representing IGSS, Robert Reese, said the earthwork already done is similar to improvements that would be made at any ranch. He said that's consistent with the site's agricultural zoning and past use as a cattle ranch. Therefore, he said, the contractor hasn't needed to get a permit.Uh, yeah...I'm sure every ranch in Wyoming has a 22,000 square foot underground vault.
"Our position is that everything that has been done so far falls well within the agricultural use and no permit is required," Reese said.