Southern Delivery System: Sierra club official pans environmental protections in proposed SDS contract with Reclamation

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

“They appear to me to be very weak,” said Ross Vincent, president of the local Sierra Club chapter. “My impression is that they fall far short of the protection that is needed. The language is fuzzy and does not require much of anything.” The Sierra Club and the Rocky Mountain Environmental Labor Coalition have continued to question the Bureau of Reclamation’s environmental impact statement’s adequacy and to raise questions about the impact SDS will have on Fountain Creek…

The problem, as Vincent sees it, is that water-quality conditions spelled out in Reclamation’s proposed contract require a determination by the Colorado Department of Public HealthandEnvironment that SDS is causing “significant adverse effects” before any action is taken. The requirements talk about “elevated concentrations” of selenium, E. coli and sulfates attributed to SDS. “What triggers it?” Vincent said. “We all know there are elevated concentrations now, so any increase at all would be a violation. My guess is the CDPHE would not reach a formal determination, so in effect there is no procedure.”

Vincent disagrees with Reclamation’s adaptive management plan as the way to handle unexpected changes in water quality or quantity due to SDS. “The Bureau of Reclamation is passing the buck to other agencies for its responsibility to protect water quality,” Vincent said.

More Southern Delivery System coverage here and here.

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