Deadline for Comments on Flaming Gorge Pipeline Closes with One Positive Note out of More Than 5,000 Objections

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Here’s the release from Western Resource Advocates (Jason Bane):

If official public support for the ‘Flaming Gorge Pipeline’ (FGP) is any indication of its future potential, the project to pump water from Wyoming to Colorado won’t become a reality any time soon. Public comments and objections regarding the FGP were due to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) by Monday, Dec. 19, and out of more than 5,000 submissions, only 1 (one) was supportive of the idea.

“The question here is obvious: If virtually nobody took the time to argue here that the pipeline is a good idea, why is any federal agency even considering a permit for this proposal?” said Western Resource Advocates Water Attorney Robert Harris. “Finding a supporter in the FERC filings is about as difficult as getting a perfect score on your SATs.”

Aaron Million, President of Wyco Power and Water, Inc., is seeking a federal permit from FERC to review his FGP proposal to pump water more than five hundred (500) miles from the Green River in Wyoming to the Front Range of Colorado. More than 5,000 comments from citizens, governments and non-profit organizations were formally submitted to FERC by Dec. 19, and only 1 comment – from a private citizen in Casper, WY – was supportive of the proposal. That comment represents roughly the same odds (.0002%) as an American high school student getting a perfect score on the SAT test.

Western Resource Advocates (WRA) submitted formal objections last week along with the Colorado Environmental Coalition and the National Parks Conservation Association. Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead formally objected to the proposal, saying: “This project would cut a vast swath across southern Wyoming, with the potential for huge impacts in many significant sectors of our economy and aspects of critical resources to Wyoming and Colorado.”

Additional objections included those from:

- City of Rock Springs, WY
- City of Green River, WY
- Sweetwater County, WY
- Wyoming Game and Fish Department
- Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District, CO
- City of Colorado Springs, CO
- City of Ft. Collins, CO
- Daggett County, UT
- Utah Rivers Council
- Colorado River District
- Colorado River Outfitters Association

Public comments and ‘Motions to Intervene’ can be found at: http://elibrary.ferc.gov (docket # P-14263).

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
On September 1, 2011, Mr. Aaron Million of Wyco Power and Water, Inc. applied to FERC for a permit application for the Regional Watershed Supply Project proposal (generally referred to as the Flaming Gorge Pipeline, or FGP). Two months earlier, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers terminated its review of the project, citing Million’s failure to meet required deadlines to provide information. Wyco applied to FERC under the premise of reclassifying the FGP as a hydropower project, but because it is primarily a water-delivery system, FERC only has limited jurisdiction and cannot approve the entire project.

The FERC deadline for public comments and ‘Motions to Intervene’ is December 19, 2011. If FERC eventually decides to consider permitting for the FGP, it would begin a 3-year study period of the project. Before the FGP could begin to be constructed, Wyco would almost certainly need a permit from multiple additional federal agencies, such as the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. At some point, Wyco would also likely need to resubmit an application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

For More Information on the Flaming Gorge Pipeline, go to:
http://www.westernresourceadvocates.org/water/pipeline/million.php

To access FERC Submissions/Filings directly, go to:
http://elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/file_list.asp?accession_num=20111013-5035

A footnote from the release reads: “The Center for Biological Diversity submitted 3,388 individual public comments, and Earthjustice submitted 1,706 public comments”

More Flaming Gorge pipeline coverage here and here.

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