Flaming Gorge pipeline: FERC asks the Million Resources Group for more information, warns that there may be a need to involve other federal agencies


Bump and update:

More coverage from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued the notice this week on Aaron Million’s preliminary permit application for hydroelectric power along a proposed 500-mile pipeline from the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming to Colorado’s Front Range.

Western Resource Advocates seized upon the notice as an indication of reluctancy of federal agencies to take on a “hot potato” of a water project, saying the Bureau of Land Management or Bureau of Reclamation should be the lead agency in evaluating the proposal.

“This is yet another indication that the Flaming Gorge Pipeline is nothing more than an empty promise,” said Stacy Tellinghuisen, senior policy analyst for Western Resource Advocates. “We are over two years into the process of evaluating the project, yet fundamental questions are still unanswered.”[…]

“The notice has no impact, actually,” Million said. He characterized the notice as a standard request for more information about the project, a standard procedure in any federal process.

The notice cites two deficiencies in Million’s application:

Identifying owners of the reservoirs to be used in the project, which are the Bureau of Reclamation for Flaming Gorge and Lake Hattie in Wyoming.

Identifying the location of certain features of the project, including the Wild Horse Canyon pumped storage project, nine natural-gas powered pump stations, and four reservoirs that would be built as part of the project.

The notice also states Million would need additional permits from other federal agencies since FERC has jurisdiction over hydroelectric power generation only. FERC also asked for mapping details of elevation changes.

FERC also pointed out it could take up to five years to complete the process. Million was not fazed by any of the requests in the FERC notice, and said he thinks the Flaming Gorge pipeline will progress more quickly as an energy project. “FERC is the only federal agency with a maximum timeline,” Million said. “They get the information and then you move on.”

From the Associated Press (Catharine Tsai) via Forbes:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission requested more details Wednesday from a Colorado businessman on his permit application to build a 501-mile pipeline to divert water from Wyoming’s Flaming Gorge Reservoir to southeast Wyoming and Colorado.

The commission also told Aaron Million he may need permits from other agencies for his proposal, which involves hydropower and new reservoirs, because FERC has jurisdiction over only the hydroelectric component.

More coverage from the Colorado Independent (David O. Williams):

The Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) sent a letter to Fort Collins businessman Aaron Million requesting more information within a month, but FERC officials also appeared to have serious jurisdictional questions.

“Because the Commission would only have jurisdiction with regard to the proposed hydroelectric development, which is only one component of the proposed 501-mile-long water supply pipeline project, construction of substantial parts of the overall project may require permits from other federal agencies,” FERC officials wrote.

Million is on his second federal agency after having pulled his initial application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and resubmitted to FERC after adding the hydroelectric component.

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.

Castle Rock is moving to secure long-term renewable water supplies, receives bid from the South Metro Water Supply Authority


Castle Rock is on the hunt for a renewable supply and the South Metro Water Supply Authority wants to be the provider. Here’s a report from Rhonda Moore writing for the Castle Rock News Press. From the article:

Years after launching plans to invest in the South Metro Water Supply Authority, Denver and Aurora Water Infrastructure and Supply Efficiency project to meet its long-term water needs, the town opened the door for bids from providers vying for a chance at a piece of a pie valued at hundreds of millions of dollars.

The project will be the first investment to get Castle Rock to its goal of weaning itself from underground water and finding a source of long-term, renewable water. Town leaders aim to transform Castle Rock’s water consumption from 100 percent non-renewable, underground wells to getting 75 percent of its water from renewable sources, said Ron Redd, Castle Rock utilities director…

Castle Rock opened the process up for bids after hearing from other water providers interested in a chance to come before town council with a proposal. That process resulted in three bids presented Sept. 14 in a joint meeting with town council and the utilities commission. Each presenter was given 30 minutes at the podium as councilmembers heard from Renew Strategies, owned by a partnership that includes former Gov. Bill Owens, Stillwater Resources, which acts as a broker to match providers with municipalities like Castle Rock and United Water, which serves public water districts such as the East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District and the South Adams County Water District.

The Denver, Aurora and South Metro Water Supply Authority WISE project could not meet the mid-September deadline because the draft proposal had yet to gain approval from city councils at Denver and Aurora. WISE will get its 30 minutes at another joint meeting between Castle Rock Town Council and the utility commission. The meeting is open to the public and will be at 6 p.m., Oct. 11, in council chambers at Town Hall, 100 N. Wilcox St.

Here’s a list of the Castle Rock’s potential suppliers from OurColoradoNews.com:

Providers who submitted bids include:

Renew Strategies, owned by a partnership that includes former Gov. Bill Owens.

Stillwater Resources, which acts as a broker to match providers with municipalities like Castle Rock.

United Water, which serves public water districts such as the East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District and the South Adams County Water District.

The South Metro Water Supply Authority, a co-op of 15 south metro municipalities and metropolitan districts that includes the town of Castle Rock, Parker Water and Sanitation District, Castle Pines Metropolitan District, Castle Pines North Metropolitan District, Pinery Water and Wastewater District, Roxborough Water and Sanitation District and Stonegate Village Metropolitan District. The authority partnered with the Denver and Aurora water departments to draft the Water Infrastructure Supply Efficiency agreement.

More South Platte River basin coverage here.

The Fort Morgan Town Council approves $685,000 for treatment plant upgrades


From The Fort Morgan Times (Jenni Grubbs):

The new filter media and under-drain system at the water plant was the most expensive of the council’s votes, which allowed expenditures of up to $685,000 for material and installation. “It needed to be done,” Mayor Terry McAlister told the Times of the filter media system upgrade after the meeting.

The council members decided to go with plant Superintendent John Turner’s recommendation of upgrading the filter media system, rather than only fixing the old system repeatedly, which still would have cost several hundred thousand dollars over a number of years. The new system the council voted to get is one that has been proven to be “the gold standard” in such equipment and is used at water treatment plants around the state.

More South Platte River basin coverage here and here.

Republican River Water Conservancy District board meeting October 13


From The Yuma Pioneer (Tony Rayl):

It will be held Thursday, October 13, at the Wray Ambulance Facility, 304 W. Third St., beginning at 10 a.m. Public comment is scheduled for 1 p.m.

New terms will be appointed for the seats belonging to Kit Carson and Phillips counties, as well as the Marks Butte and Arikaree ground water management districts, followed by an election of officers and a review of committee assignments. The district’s Water Activity Enterprise budget for 2012 will be up for consideration and approval at the meeting…

For more information regarding the meeting, please contact RRWCD General Manager Deb Daniel at 332-3552, or email her at rrwcd@centurytel.net.

More Republican River basin coverage here and here.

Grand Junction: ‘Water Law in a Nutshell’ seminar October 14 at Colorado Mesa University’s University Center


From the Grand Junction Free Press (Tracy Dvorak):

“Water Law in a Nutshell,” an eight-hour seminar, will be offered Friday, Oct. 14, at Colorado Mesa University’s University Center.

If the course sounds kind of dry (no pun intended), it’s not. See if this list doesn’t beguile you:

• Did you know that priority of water rights is decided partly by who got to the courthouse first?

• Did you know that water rights can be lost if they are not used for a 10-year period?

• Did you know that every ditch, pipeline, and reservoir has an easement over the underlying ground?

• Did you know that a property owner cannot move a ditch without the permission of the ditch owner or a court?

• Did you know that there may not be a right to float a raft across private property?

[Speaker, Delta attorney Aaron Clay], a CU Boulder law grad, has practiced law since 1980. He was the Water Referee for Colorado Water Court, Division 4 (Gunnison, Uncompahgre, and San Miguel River Basins) from 1982 to 2008…

Register by emailing Hannah Holm at hholm@coloradomesa.edu or calling 970-683-1133.

More water law coverage here.