Flaming Gorge pipeline: Drew Peternell — ‘It’s time to stick a fork in it’

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Here’s an opinion piece listing some of the reasons that should keep the project from moving forward, from Colorado Trout Unlimited’s Drew Peternell running in the Fort Collins Coloradoan. From the article:

> Exorbitant cost. Million recently released a list of potential project customers. Almost all are irrigators. According to a recent analysis by Western Resource Advocates, the value of irrigation water in eastern Colorado is less than $100 per acre-foot. By comparison, water from the $3 billion pipeline would cost an estimated $2,200 per acre-foot. There’s not an agricultural operation in the state that could afford Million’s water, and few municipalities have expressed interest in the project. The economics don’t add up, and it appears Million is engaging in water speculation, which is illegal according to Colorado law…

> Environmental impacts. Million has said that if the pipeline proposal has adverse environmental impacts, he’ll be the first to “stick a fork in it.” It’s time to stick a fork in it…The pipeline itself would cut across and degrade sensitive wildlife habitat, such as Wyoming’s spectacular Little Mountain area, renowned for its trophy elk and native cutthroat trout populations. And it could spread invasive aquatic species – such as zebra mussels and burbot – to Wyoming and Colorado waters…

> Economic fallout. The pipeline could inflict an economic double whammy on the region. Communities in Utah and Wyoming that depend heavily on tourism and recreation dollars associated with Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River could see their economic livelihood dry up. But the other shoe would eventually fall in Colorado, too, when water users in Colorado find that Million’s go-for-broke pipeline has used Colorado’s last remaining allocation of water under the Colorado River Compact, effectively shutting off the tap on other municipal water development projects on both sides of the Continental Divide…

> Missed opportunities. With their enormous economic and environmental costs, big dams and pipelines are water-supply solutions of the past. The West is entering a challenging new era of water scarcity and limits, one that requires a new spirit of cooperation, pragmatism and innovation. We have cost-effective and common-sense water solutions available to us, such as voluntary leasing arrangements with irrigators, aquifer recharge, water reuse and municipal conservation.

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.

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