Flaming Gorge pipeline: How will it effect endangered species?

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Wyoming’s Governor, Dave Freudenthal, is less than lukewarm about Aaron Million’s proposed Flaming Gorge Pipeline (Regional Watershed Supply Project). Here’s a report from Joan Barron writing for the Casper Star-Tribune. From the article:

During a news conference Freudenthal said he was concerned about the parallel between the proposed trans-basin diversion project and the state’s dispute with Nebraska over the North Platte River several years ago. One of the tools Nebraska used against Wyoming in that legal dispute, he said, was the availability of flows in other parts of the river to support the whooping crane. These endangered species concerns were in addition to the issue of allocation of the river between the two states, he said.

He questioned whether the state would find itself in the same position if the trans-basin diversion of the Green River goes through and there are downstream demands made for environmental reasons. If that happened, the demands for increased flow would be made on the upper Green River in Wyoming…

[Aaron Million] told the group that federal studies have shown there should be plenty of water to meet needs for hydropower, recreation and endangered species. If not the project won’t go forward, he said.

Freudenthal said he personally doesn’t like the project and doesn’t intend to support it. “I think I have to be fair and hear it out. But I’ve never liked trans-basin diversions,” he said. The state may have some leverage depending on whether the right-of-way the developers select is on sections of state trust land. The state also will comment to the federal government during the scoping period, Freudenthal said. “There are an incredible number of unanswered questions about the implications of taking water from the point they’re taking it for the management of the upper Green and the rest of the area,” the governor said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here and here.

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