Wyco Water and Power’s proposal to supply water for hydraulic fracturing is an insult to injury proposal for conservationists

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Aaron Million has a history of trying to be all things to all people. At various times he’s said the Flaming Gorge pipeline will save agriculture in northeast Colorado, be environmentally friendly by using existing utility corridors, use natural gas for pumping instead of coal-generated power, etc. Last week he suggested that the project could supply the needed water for hydraulic fracturing. At least the oil companies could afford to pay the water haulers just about any price that he needs to charge to make a profit on his speculative venture. However, water providers in Weld County might object. The City of Greeley will sell about $1.4 million worth of water to oil companies this year, helping to keep rates down, according to their water manager, Jon Monson.

Last week ten conservation organizations filed the paperwork to intervene in the permit process now that the project has morphed into a hydroelectric generation project. Here’s a report from Deb Courson Smith writing for the Public News Service – Wyoming. From the article:

Duane Short, wild species program director with the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Laramie, is a spokesman for the coalition that has filed to intervene. “Probably the most local concern is the impact that this pipeline, which would consume some 81-billion gallons of water a year, would have on the Green River area water-sport and recreation industries.”

The list of objections is long, Short says. It includes violations of the Endangered Species Act, landscape destruction to build the pipeline, and downstream effects of removing so much water from the Green River, which connects to the Colorado River in Utah.

The company proposing the pipeline, Wyco Power and Water Inc., has touted its job-creation benefits and the fact that it includes hydropower construction plans. Short claims the hydropower was only added so FERC would look at the permit. He says the project will use much more power than it generates, because the water has to be pumped uphill across Wyoming and over the Continental Divide. The developer also recently announced that some of the water would be used for hydraulic fracturing (fracking). “With that type of history, and with all these other concerns that have been expressed in Wyoming, Colorado and even in Utah, to make this water available for fracking is sort of an ‘insult to injury’ type of proposal.”

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.

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