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

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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.

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