Flaming Gorge pipeline: FERC accepts the Million Resource Group’s application which opens a sixty day comment period

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From the Associated Press (Ben Neary) via The Columbus Republic:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Tuesday notified Fort Collins businessman Aaron Million that it had accepted his preliminary permit application — a decision that opens a 60-day public comment period…

If FERC issues Million a preliminary permit, it would allow him to apply to build the hydroelectric facilities for his project. FERC specified in its notice to Million that it only has jurisdiction over the proposed hydroelectric development elements of the pipeline project. It said construction of other substantial portions of the pipeline would require permits from other federal agencies…

One proposed “pump storage” project associated with the pipeline calls for building a new reservoir on the side of Sheep Mountain, west of Laramie. Million said Thursday that water could drain from the proposed reservoir on Sheep Mountain down to nearby Lake Hattie to generate power while possibly using wind power to pump the water back uphill.

The pipeline would have to move water over the Continental Divide on its way to Colorado. Although Million said the project couldn’t produce more energy than it uses, he said the hydropower could provide a valuable offset to its operating costs. “The hydropower has the potential to be a net benefit of the project. Not zeroing out the energy, that’s not realistic in any scenario,” Million said. But he said the hydropower would be consistent, and could provide a valuable addition to wind energy that’s increasingly under development in southeastern Wyoming…

Several environmental groups have come out against Million’s project. Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead also recently said he opposes it. “It makes perfect sense to me that so many people in Wyoming oppose this project,” Mead said in a written statement released by his office. “Water is the state’s most valuable natural resource and everyone wants to ensure it is used wisely. I generally oppose trans-basin diversion projects and in particular I believe Aaron Million’s project is not well thought out.”

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.

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