Flaming Gorge pipeline update: The Corps of Engineers has suspended their EIS efforts for 60 days

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From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Ben Neary):

Rena Brand, project manager for the Corps of Engineers in Littleton, said Wednesday that Million wrote to her agency last month asking it to suspend its environmental review of his pipeline proposal. She says Million wants to consider whether his project could generate electricity and, if so, whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should be leading the review. “The alternative energy produced from the project may become a major focus and benefit,” Million wrote in an email to the Corps of Engineers last month. “Discussions with other federal agencies indicate that there may need to be a realignment of the lead federal agency.” The Corps of Engineers responded to Million early this month and agreed to stop work on the study for 60 days. Brand said that, if her agency doesn’t hear back from Million in that time, it will have to decide whether to drop the study entirely…

[Mike Purcell, director of the Wyoming Water Development Commission] said that the longstanding conceptual design of the pipeline project has called for installing small turbines to generate electricity in locations where the water would flow downhill to help defray pumping costs. “That has been a concept for I believe quite a while,” Purcell said. “But if he’s now saying it would generate power over and above the demands of the project, I would find that unlikely.”

More coverage from Cathy Proctor writing for the Denver Business Journal. From the article:

“Mr. Million asked us on April 27 to stop work on the EIS for 60 days, because he’s trying to figure out whether his project may take on a hydropower focus,” [Rena Brand, a project manager with the corps’ local office in Jefferson County] said…

Another group representing water providers in Colorado and Wyoming announced in March 2010 they, too, were interested in studying the proposal. The group included public agencies that serve more than 500,000 in Denver’s southern suburbs and El Paso County, as well as towns and counties in eastern Wyoming, Frank Jaeger, manager of the Parker Water and Sanitation District, said in 2010.

That group hasn’t contacted the corps to request an environmental study, Brand said.

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.

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