December 22, 2011
CWF, in conjunction with the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and Wyoming Wildlife Federation (WWF), filed a Motion to Intervene in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) proceeding in which Wyco Power and Water filed an application for a preliminary permit, proposing to study feasibility of the Regional Watershed Supply Project proposed by Ft. Collins businessman Aaron Million. CWF, NWF and WWY urge FERC to reject Wyco Power and Water's request for a preliminary permit.
According to a prior 2009 permit application to the Army Corps of Engineers, the proposed Regional Water Supply Project would withdraw approximately 81 billion gallons, or 250,000 acre-feet of water from the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir for transfer across approximately 550 miles of pipeline through Wyoming and Colorado. The application states that the intended use of this water includes municipal, agricultural and hydropower use. This week an article appeared in the Denver Post stating that Mr. Million also envisions use of the water for fracking.
The Green River and the Flaming Gorge Reservoir are important recreational destinations for boating, fishing, camping and other uses. The Green River also supports numerous threatened or endangered fish species, species of conservation concern, and wetland and riparian habitats. The public lands in the vicinity of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir also provide important wildlife habitat and recreational opportunity.
Based on the available information, it appears that the proposed Regional Water Supply Project would have significant adverse impacts to aquatic and terrestrial habitats and wildlife -- resulting not only from water diversion and storage, but also from road construction, powerline development and other associated habitat disturbance.
The Colorado River District also has filed a motion to intervene in the proceeding. Its motion states, " The volume of water at issue would adversely impact existing users of Colorado's entitlement to the waters of the Colorado River, and could usurp the remainder of the state's compact allocation."