Flaming Gorge pipeline: Western Resource Advocates pushes needs assessment while southern Wyoming towns help with ‘evaluation’

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Here’s a release from Western Resource Advocates:

At the urging of Western Resource Advocates and others, the US Army Corps of Engineers is requiring proponents of a controversial water pipeline to prove that it is needed. The proposed Million Project, a 560-mile pipeline that would move water from southwestern Wyoming to Colorado’s populous Front Range, is applying for a permit — yet there are no identified customers for the water.

At least six other major water projects that pre-date the Million Project are already in the planning stages. And although the Million Project claims it is needed to meet the Front Range’s future water demands, the proponents of these other projects have shown no indication that they’ll abandon their plans and rely on Million’s proposal instead. Thus, as a mechanism for solving anticipated regional water demands, the Million pipeline proposal is at least a decade too late.

The Million Project is vehemently opposed by residents of Wyoming and is under scrutiny in Colorado. As the largest proposed private water project in Colorado’s history, the Million Project raises concerns about speculation because it is against Colorado water law to acquire water without first identifying who will use it.

Demonstrating the need for the pipeline is but one troubling question confronting the Million Project. The movement of up to 250,000 acre-feet of water each year would require a vast amount of energy, adding to the ecological impacts of the pipeline. The pipeline could also jeopardize endangered fish, transport invasive species, and diminish recreation and wildlife habitat in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River that is already suffering from drought.

Meanwhile, from the Associated Press (Ben Neary) via The Denver Post:

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming says local governments in southwestern Wyoming will help to evaluate a private developer’s proposal to build a pipeline to take water from the Green River.
Colorado entrepreneur Aaron Million has proposed building a multibillion dollar pipeline to carry water from the Green River in Wyoming to Colorado’s Front Range. Barrasso, a Republican, says he stepped in to allow Sweetwater County, the Sweetwater County Conservation District and the cities of Rock Springs and Green River to serve as participating agencies with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in reviewing the pipeline proposal.

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.

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