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Million Pipeline Brings Millions Of Issues

by Lance Egan   |  November 9th, 2011 17

There is a disturbance in the force…  Really though, all Star Wars nerd jokes aside, there really is a disturbance in the world of outdoors men/women who utilize the Green River system flowing through Wyoming and Utah.

A Colorado developer has proposed a pipeline project that will take billions of gallons of water out of the Green River system per year.  Yes I meant to type BILLIONS!  This is bad news if you are an angler, hunter, river runner, environmentalist etc…  Just the thought that this type of pipeline COULD happen makes me sick.  Apparently the Front Range needs this water worse than the Basin the Green has drained into since the beginning of time.  I’ve fished the Front Range a bit (quite good fishing I might add) and it seems like they have plenty of water compared to the second driest state in the union (Utah).

The environmental impact of this pipeline would be ghastly.  Please take a moment to read the facts, form an opinion and submit your thoughts to those in control of this project.  To do so visit:   www.ourdamwater.org  then leave a comment at http://www.ferc.gov/ stating your position.  Instructions on how to navigate the ferc.gov site are at the bottom of this blog post.

My friend and fishing colleague Charles Card (Northeastern Utah Coordinator for Trout Unlimited) sent the following info:

  • Flaming Gorge Pipeline Proposed by Aaron Million.
  • ·         Pipeline would be a trans-basin diversion (taking water from one waterway and moving it into another watershed).
  • ·         Pipeline length is proposed to be 560 miles long.
  • ·         Path of Pipeline to travel roughly the I-80 corridor with diversion points (2) on the east shore of Flaming Gorge near the Utah/ Wyoming border  and near OCI Wyoming, just below Seedskadee Wildlife Refuge.
  • ·         Calling for 250,000 acre ft of water annually, or 81 billion gallons a year.
  • ·         Estimated cost of pipeline=$7 billion.  Annual maintenance estimated at +$123 million.
  • ·         Could drop the river 450 cfs from what it would normally have been.  Possible rewrite of minimum flow restrictions which would limit boating options, and the fish and bug life would definitely struggle.
  • ·         Potential impacts to reservoir might be increased water temps, siltation issues, boat ramps and campgrounds left out of the water, etc…

 

NEW DEVELOPMENTS

  • ·         Corps of Engineers dropped study of pipeline due to lack of response for requested information from Aaron Million.
  • ·         Aaron Million applied with Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC) as he added a hydropower component to the downgrade sections of the pipeline, therefore recategorizing the project as a renewable energy project, rather than a mere water project, and therefore offsetting some cost of pumping the water over the continental divide.
  • ·         FERC approved the initial application. This allows Aaron Million to apply for the permits for the actual project, and secures him the first rights to this project.
  • ·         With FERC’s approval, it opens a 60 day public comment period for the public to submit comments.
Here is a link to a brochure Trout Unlimited created for this issue:  GreenBrochure2
Charles and TU are fighting the good fight, but they need our help.  Please visit the web addresses above and let Aaron Million and FERC know how devastating this pipeline would be.  Stop this Watershed Supply Project!  The Million Pipeline would bring issues too numerous to count (millions ironically) to the Green River Basin and would negatively impact all of its inhabitants.  Please don’t let this developers “thirst” for water outweigh the future health of an already fragile ecosystem.
To leave comments on www.ferc.gov:
  • Go to www.ferc.gov
  • Go to Documents and Filings
  • Go to eComment.  Click on the orange “ecomment” box.  Next it will ask for your name and email address.  Once given, you will receive an email with a link to the comment form.
  • The Docket # for the Flaming Gorge Pipeline is p-14263

·         Open comment period runs until Dec. 17th, 2011 so don’t delay!

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