Flaming Gorge pipeline: Add Utah’s Uintah County to the list of critics of the proposed project

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From the Deseret News (Amy Joi O’Donoghue):

“If this project moves forward, we’re afraid that whatever water rights we have left (on the Green River) will be a paper water right without any wet water,” said Uintah County Commissioner Mike McKee…

As planned, Million said the project would generate 70 megawatts of hydropower from in-line storage and another 500 to 1,000 megawatts from pumped storage — an energy source he says could shore up intermittent renewables such as wind and solar that are in demand to become a larger player in Colorado’s energy portfolio.

Million said he is framing the water-use requirements around a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation preliminary analysis that shows even when future Utah and Wyoming water depletions are factored in from the Green River, Flaming Gorge has an available surplus of 165,000 acre feet a year. Another 75,000 acre feet would be diverted per year from the Green River above Flaming Gorge…

Utah’s Uintah County joins another line of critics, who aside from other accusations, describe the proposal as an “if we build, it they will come” project because of questions about the financing and customer base.

Million says the viability of the project is backed by multiple water supply studies that show sharp contrasts between Colorado’s available water supply and demands in the decades to come. That is backed by letters of interest he says he has received that represent an annual need for 400,000 acre feet of water — nearly twice what the project would deliver.

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.

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