September 09, 2011

What the Flaming Gorge Pipeline Would Wreck

Durango writer Dave Petersen lays it out. The proposed pipeline to bring water from the Green River in Wyoming to Colorado's Front Range would be devastating to northeast Utah's fish and wildlife:

We are lucky to have a world-class fishery in our own extended backyard, on the Green River below Flaming Gorge Reservoir. Unfortunately, this great run of river is now threatened by a monumental boondoggle that could destroy one of the finest fishing destinations on the planet. Aaron Million's proposed water pipeline would stretch from Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming and Utah, some 560 miles to the massive population centers of Colorado's Front Range. After all, why should we worry about preserving what little is left in America of wild nature when water board members believe the river's flows would be better used to maintain wasteful blue-grass lawns, golf courses, swimming pools and car washes around the Denver area?

In addition to the obvious self-centeredness and amorality of Million's outrageous proposal, consider the construction cost, currently estimated by state agencies to run as high as $9 billion, with another $123 million per year, in perpetuity, required to operate and maintain the pipeline. Just what we need in a strapped economy! Nor would it be a bargain for Front Range residents, requiring farmers and homeowners to pay the highest fees ever for water.
Read the rest.

1 comment:

Peculiar said...

I agree with Petersen here entirely, but with one big caveat: if the pipeline is how Colorado wants to use its last claims under the Compact and headwaters diversion projects from the Yampa are thereby abandoned, I'd take that trade. The ecological value of healthy Yampa flows way outweighs any from poor, dammed, impacted Flaming Gorge, which only releases a relative trickle most of the time anyway. Whatever remains of healthy riparian environments on the Green is due to Yampa runoff. That said, the pipeline definitely seems like a stupid project. It would likely complicate dam operations throughout the basin, especially in dry years, and if the whole oil shale boom comes to fruition, Colorado will wish they'd left that water on the West Slope.