Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Feds Reject Flaming Gorge Pipeline Proposal

Center for Biological Diversity

On Feb. 23, The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected a preliminary permit application by Wyco Power and Water, Inc. to construct a 500-mile water pipeline that would pump more than 250,000 acre-feet of water annually from Flaming Gorge Reservoir to Colorado’s Front Range. 

“It’s hard to imagine a worse idea, in this era of global warming, than burning fossil fuels to pump already-imperiled rivers hundreds of miles across mountains to fuel sprawl,” said Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity, which along with coalition partners, intervened in the permitting process to challenge the pipeline proposal back in December. “Today’s decision is a victory for rivers, endangered fish and people—a victory we hope proves fatal for the pipeline proposal.”

The proposed pipeline would suck water out of rivers and have deleterious impacts on the already-imperiled Green and Colorado river ecosystems, four species of endangered fish (the Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, razorback sucker and bonytail chub) and human communities dependent on those rivers. Though already overallocated, both rivers provide habitat and recovery flows to endangered fish and are projected to dry in coming decades owing to global warming. 

In December the Center for Biological Diversity and other members of the Colorado River Protection Coalition filed a legal challenge to the pipeline proposal, saying the Flaming Gorge Pipeline was unlikely to be permitted because it would likely violate the Endangered Species Act and “adversely affect,” i.e. damage, four national wildlife refuges. The coalition also argued that the permit should be denied because the applicant, Wyco, failed to meet several requirements during a previous attempt at permitting a nearly identical project with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The coalition members were represented by McCrystie Adams, an attorney at Earthjustice.

The Commission also received more than 5,000 public comments in December opposing the pipeline, including broad opposition in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Arizona. The water would go to the Front Range of Colorado, which is projected to double in population in the next 50 years. Colorado is already a parched state with severely depleted rivers, while the majority of the water in Colorado’s cities is used to keep lawns green for three months in the hot, dry summer across sprawling suburban landscapes.

The coalition’s intervention comments can be downloaded here.

Today’s order rejecting the permit application can be downloaded here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A woman walks to her train in Grand Central Terminal as New York City attempts to slow down the spread of coronavirus through social distancing on March 27. John Lamparski / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

A council representing more than 800,000 doctors across the U.S. signed a letter Friday imploring President Donald Trump to reverse his call for businesses to reopen by April 12, warning that the president's flouting of the guidance of public health experts could jeopardize the health of millions of Americans and throw hospitals into even more chaos as they fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
polaristest / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pixabay

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Spinach is a true nutritional powerhouse, as it's rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Jeff Turrentine

From day to day, our public health infrastructure — the people and systems we've put in place to keep populations, as opposed to individuals, healthy — largely goes unnoticed. That's because when it's working well, its success takes the form of utter normalcy.

Read More Show Less
Spring Break vs. COVID19: The Real Impact of Ignoring Social Distancing

By Eoin Higgins

A viral video showing cell phone data collected by location accuracy company X-Mode from spring break partiers potentially spreading the coronavirus around the U.S. has brought up questions of digital privacy even as it shows convincingly the importance of staying home to defeat the disease.

Read More Show Less