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Ten Groups Call for Flaming Gorge Pipeline Intervention

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Monday, December 19, 2011   

LARAMIE, Wyo. - A plan to get much-needed water to Colorado's Front Range has come back to life, although a coalition of 10 conservation groups is hoping it is short-lived. The Flaming Gorge Pipeline proposal is sitting before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, after being dropped by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers earlier this year. It proposes piping billions of gallons of water from Wyoming's Green River to Colorado.

Duane Short, wild species program director with the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Laramie, is a spokesman for the coalition that has filed to intervene.

"Probably the most local concern is the impact that this pipeline, which would consume some 81-billion gallons of water a year, would have on the Green River area water-sport and recreation industries."

The list of objections is long, Short says. It includes violations of the Endangered Species Act, landscape destruction to build the pipeline, and downstream effects of removing so much water from the Green River, which connects to the Colorado River in Utah.

The company proposing the pipeline, Wyco Power and Water Inc., has touted its job-creation benefits and the fact that it includes hydropower construction plans. Short claims the hydropower was only added so FERC would look at the permit. He says the project will use much more power than it generates, because the water has to be pumped uphill across Wyoming and over the Continental Divide. The developer also recently announced that some of the water would be used for hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

"With that type of history, and with all these other concerns that have been expressed in Wyoming, Colorado and even in Utah, to make this water available for fracking is sort of an 'insult to injury' type of proposal."

The Colorado River Keeper's Coalition intervention is one of several being filed. A complete list of coalition members and project objections is available at http://ht.ly/83e2A.




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