Flaming Gorge pipeline: Million Resources Group in Casper pitching the project to Wyoming officials

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From the Casper Star-Tribune (Pete Nickeas):

The Casper City Council heard from two of Million’s representatives at Monday night’s work session, after hearing from the group of municipal investors in February. At that meeting, the council agreed to set aside $20,000 to help the municipal group study the pipeline’s feasibility.
Though the city’s water supply is considered safe and reliable, the council is looking 50 to 100 years out at projected water needs. Owning a piece of the water supply from the Green River Basin, which would be dumped into the North Platte River via Million or the other group’s pipeline, would allow the city to account for future growth…

Under Million’s plan, Casper and other water districts would own the right to the water, and Million’s pipeline would ship it from point A to point B. Water districts would be charged based on how far the water has to be pumped, said Jeff Fassett, former state engineer who is now working for Million. “He’s the highway. Our model is that the individual end users, including Casper, Cheyenne, Lake Hattie … we believe you need to apply and obtain and secure and maintain your own water rights,” Fassett said. “There’s no reason for Mr. Million or anybody else to have control over the city’s water supply.”[…]

Council Vice President Paul Bertoglio and others repeatedly asked for a cost estimate, a request [Million’s attorney, Steve Freudenthal] danced around without providing specifics. Bertoglio, an engineer by trade, said the costs of pumping water hundreds of miles through a pipe over a mountain could make the entire project cost prohibitive. “In terms of what we’re looking at — the precision is so far off that I hesitate to go into that,” Freudenthal said. “But the basic preposition at the far end is what potential users — what’s their second cheapest alternative? And our numbers come in well below those.”[…]

None of the council members have questioned the need to plan long-term for the city’s water supply, and the city hasn’t committed to either party yet. For now, the city seems content “riding both horses” and seeing which group can piece together the best proposal.

More Flaming Gorge Pipeline coverage here and here.

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