Colorado River Update: What Would Edward Abbey Say?

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

The famous environmentalist, Edward Abbey, once said, “Sentiment without action is abbey-sentimentthe ruin of the soul.” We agree!

And that’s why we are doing our best to push both — sentiment and action — into the public debate about managing the Colorado River.

FIRST, HERE’S OUR SENTIMENT: Last week, Lake Mead fell to its lowest water level in history. That very same day, the main reporter who covers this story for the Las Vegas Review Journal, Henry Brean, called me to talk about it. I told him that the entire Screenshot (307)river is being managed very poorly — both for water supply and for river protection — and so this continued falling of Lake Mead is no surprise. In addition, while the agencies in Arizona, California, and Nevada are proposing to try and keep more water in the Lake, the agencies in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming are trying to further drain it!

He quotes me in his article: “At the same time the agencies in the lower basin are discussing cuts, the agencies in the upper basin are working to suck more water out of the river,” Wockner said. “It’s a zero-sum game.”

A few days later, the renowned environmental journalist, Abrahm Lustgarten, published a piece in the New York Times about the continued demise of both Lakes Mead and Screenshot (306)Powell in which he suggested it was time to consider draining Lake Powell and tearing down Glen Canyon Dam.

Abrahm reached out to me as well as our boardmember and former Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Dan Beard, who said:  ”‘The Colorado River system is changing rapidly. We have a responsibility to reassess the fundamental precepts of how we have managed the river.’ That reassessment, Mr. Beard and others said, demands that even as new projects are debated, it is time to decommission one of the grandest dams of them all, Glen Canyon.”

Around the same time, another of our boardmembers, the famous nature photographer John Fielder, has been giving presentations about protecting the Yampa River and other rivers in the state of Colorado. During his presentations, John makes it point-blank and 20160506_201324-fielder1loud and clear that new dams and diversions are not needed to meet future water needs, but rather that conservation and water-sharing with farmers is the best path forward.

In short, Save The Colorado is OUT THERE in the media and in the public making our sentiment known far and wide. We are THE leading voice in the media and in events speaking out for the protection and restoration of the river.

SECOND, HERE’S OUR ACTION: At the same crazy time that the river and reservoirs are being drained, four new dams and diversions are being proposed in the Colorado River system. We are deep in the fight to stop every project! We agree with the President of the Waterkeeper Alliance, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., when he told the Denver Post, “The idea of taking any more water out of the Colorado River or its

Screenshot (308)tributaries seems like a kind of insanity right now.”

In Colorado, we are facing off against the Moffat Collection System Project and the Windy Gap Firming Project; in Utah, we are helping to fight the Lake Powell Pipeline; in Wyoming, we are leading the charge against the proposed Fontenelle Dam re-engineering project. We’re leading, or joining, coalitions of groups fighting these projects, we’ve injected scientific comments into the permitting process, and we’ve argued that conservation and water-sharing are faster, easier, cheaper paths forward.

In addition, we’ve also set our eyes on Glen Canyon Dam. The National Park Service is currently re-examining how it manages the dam, and we’ve inserted intense comments into the EIS process to argue that NPS has not taken climate change seriously, and has failed to fully analyze alternatives to protect and restore the Grand Canyon including draining Lake Powell and decommissioning Glen Canyon Dam. In fact, so far NPS has failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. They have another chance to right this wrong during the permitting process before groups like ours spring into action.

In short, we are taking action on every possible front to protect and restore the Colorado River and its tributaries!

SENTIMENT PLUS ACTION! That’s what you get when you support Save The Colorado! Twice per year, we reach out to you to ask for support for our work. We cannot do this work without your support! Please donate to Save The Colorado to keep the SENTIMENT and the ACTION moving forward.

Please Click Through Here To Our Website To Donate!

Thank you for your support — Let’s Save The Colorado River!

The Upper Basin is Not Meeting the Demands on the Colorado River

The Upper Basin is Not Meeting the Demands on the Colorado River

On May 15th, 2016, the Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board, James Eklund, penned a column in the Grand Junction Sentinel that contains some false, misleading, and missing information regarding management of the Colorado River.

The Colorado River is being very poorly managed, resulting in massively depleted reservoirs as well as the ecological deterioration of the river’s fish species and habitat. 56f1f7b8091fa.imageFurther, what’s been called a “16-year drought” has set in over the Southwest U.S. and has co-mingled with this bad management to drain the river even more. Further yet, every scientific study of climate change paints a bullseye on the Southwest U.S. and the Colorado River system – all of the predictions indicate less flow in the river, and some of the predictions indicate much larger decreases in flow as climate change intensifies.

Eklund’s column appears to try to reassure the public that the Colorado State government, the state’s water users, and water users throughout the Upper Basin States are grappling with these challenges effectively and have a plan in place to ensure water supply security for the region. However, his column does not reassure readers who are closely engaged with the issue.

First, Eklund says that “…the Upper Basin states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming have been working on preparations to ensure the health of the Colorado River system in sustained dry conditions.” However, facts lead us to the opposite conclusion, that all four states are working to drain the river even more:

  • Wyoming is proposing a massive new diversion of 125,000 acre feet from the Green River at Fontanelle Dam,
  • Utah is planning a massive new diversion of 86,000 acre feet from the Colorado River called the Lake Powell Pipeline,
  • Colorado is planning for two new diversions from the Colorado River totaling 45,000 acre feet – the Windy Gap Firming Project and the Moffat Collection System Project,
  • And New Mexico is planning a new diversion from the Gila River of 12,000 acre feet.

In addition, WY, UT, and CO all think they have even more water rights and have discussed even more diversions than noted above. What’s really going on in the Upper Basin – and officials in Wyoming and Utah have said so publicly – is that the states want to get the last legally allowed drops of water out of the system before the federal government steps in and forces everyone to cut back diversions.

Second, Eklund says that “…many Upper Basin water users, including Coloradans, have answered the call to voluntarily explore ways in which we would be able to

Jim Creek in Grand County, Colorado, a tributary to the Colorado River that is often drained dry by Denver Water

Jim Creek in Grand County, Colorado, a tributary to the Colorado River that is often drained dry by Denver Water

manage our Colorado River…” Eklund provides no reference for the word “many,” but presentations and articles on the topic I have seen suggest that it’s more like a ‘few dozen water users,’ not “many,” and that these explorations have so far been unsuccessful. In fact, the word “miniscule” has been used to describe how much water has so far been saved by these voluntary explorations.

Third, Eklund says the Upper Basin states have “…focused our efforts on operating our reservoirs as effectively as possible…” He appears to be referring to what is sometimes called “reservoir re-operations” as a strategy to ensure that enough water flows downstream to Lake Powell.  When I contacted the Bureau of Reclamation recently, they said they have not yet re-operated any of the Upper Basin reservoirs – including Flaming Gorge, Blue Mesa, or Navajo – to try and prop up Lake Powell but may consider doing so in the future. However, it is very questionable if changing the operation of these reservoirs could make much of a difference – they are much smaller than Lake Powell and could only add a tiny amount of water to a problem that requires a very large course correction.

While I appreciate Eklund’s attempts to reach out to the public to try and provide reassurance, I conclude that his column is not accurate and that his plan would not mead12321even work. Management of the Colorado River system needs a major change, one that short-term elected officials and their appointed managers are unable to likely make. The needed change will require painful cuts to plans to divert more water, and cuts to current deliveries, as well as broad-scale agreements by all four Upper Basin states and thousands of individual water users, most of whom are farmers and are not likely to easily enter into discussions or agreements.

Here’s what needs to be done in order to face our future climate-changed world on the Colorado River:

  1. The Upper Basin states absolutely must stop all new proposed dams and diversions – there simply is not enough water in the system right now to support new diversions, and every climate change model indicates there will likely be less water in the future.
  2. A new and dramatic focus on water conservation in cities and farms must begin as soon as possible, and the water that is conserved must stay in the river and flow downstream instead of being diverted by a different user.
  3. The Upper Basin states will have to give up trying to stabilize or refill Lake Powell, and instead should let the Lake drain. With less and less snowpack and water now and in the future, the Lake was simply a mistake. Draining Lake Powell and storing the water in Lake Mead would save water, money, farms, and even electricity.

Each of these three changes will be very difficult to accept and implement – they are exactly the kind of change that our short-term political system won’t be able to implement until the water system nears collapse and no other choice is possible. And they are exactly the kind of change that needs to be pushed forward into the public discussion from the outside by people and groups who have a stake in the management of the Colorado River.

****
Gary Wockner, E.D., Save The Colorado River
May 16, 2016

Colorado Legislature’s Water Project Permit Streamlining Resolution is Reckless and Uninformed

For Immediate Release
April 26, 2016
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310

Colorado Legislature’s Water Project Permit Streamlining Resolution is Reckless and Uninformed

Denver, CO:  The Colorado State House of Representatives is scheduled to have a “floor vote” on “House Joint Resolution 1021″ on Monday, May 2nd. The Resolution (posted here) is titled, “Concerning the Necessity for Congress to Streamline Water Permitting Process.” The resolution has not had any review by a House committee, nor any vetting by the public, and may have been pushed forward by a water agency that is trying to build new dam and reservoir projects. Further, the resolution urges Colorado’s federal congressional delegation to “stay engaged” in the “LEAN process” and “support streamlining recommendations,” but almost no one — including members of the environmental community — know much about what the “LEAN process” is or what it may do to the state’s rivers. The resolution also has an incoherent reference to “streamlining the permitting process so that it concludes in 90 days.”

Buried very deep in the very long Colorado Water Plan is a very short description of something called the “LEAN” process (page 9-43). Rumors have circulated that the State Water Conservation Board and its Director James Eklund have had secret meetings about LEAN to which “invited” guests have attended, but those meetings have not been open to the public. Further, there is no record of meetings, notes, attendees, or anything related to LEAN on the Colorado Water Conservation Board’s website nor has CWCB sent any such documents to the public.

“This resolution is reckless and uninformed,” said Gary Wockner, Director the Colorado River protection group, Save The Colorado. “The public has no idea what the LEAN process is, it’s had no public vetting, and it appears to have been discussed during secret meetings of invited guests.”

“Water projects that would dam, drain, and divert our amazing Colorado rivers need all of the eyes, ears, and science we can muster to protect them for future generations,” continued Wockner. “Real science costs real money and takes real time — that’s what federal law requires and that’s what serves the public.”

–end–

Why The Lower Basin Water Cutbacks Won’t Fix The Problem on the Colorado River

Big News coming out of the Lower Colorado River Basin this week whereby Arizona, California, and Nevada are negotiating a deal to keep water in Lake Mead. This deal would pre-empt water shortage declarations and let all three ‘share the pain’ in a 56f1f7b8091fa.imagedifferent way than the official 2007 guidelines required.

  1. Tony Davis from the AZ Daily Star reports the repercussions for AZ: http://tucson.com/news/local/big-cap-cuts-coming-as–state-water-agreement-nears/article_876e3aa6-6cf0-53ec-bd0c-95be8c6468ae.html
  2. Ian James from The Desert Sun follows up with the CA angle: http://www.desertsun.com/story/news/environment/2016/04/26/california-weighs-sharing-pain-colorado-river-cuts/83510014/

Note from the AZ Star article:  “Arizona would lose 192,000 of its 1.5 million acre-foot Central Arizona Project supply starting next year.”

If we connect these dots back upstream to the Upper Basin — Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, where the water all comes from — there’s another angle on this story that has received less attention. At the same time that the Lower Basin is sharing the pain, the gross-1234Upper Basin is proposing to take more water out of the river that would overwhelm the cutbacks in AZ, CA, and NV.

  1. Alex Burness from the Boulder Daily Camera reports — Denver Water’s proposed “Moffat Collection System Project” would take around 15,000 acre feet out of the Colorado River. The Army Corps is expected to issue a final Record of Decision in the next 6 months: http://www.dailycamera.com/news/ci_29726160/activists-continue-effort-in-boulder-to-block-gross-reservoir-expansion
  2. Bruce Finley from the Denver Post reports — Northern Colorado Water’s Windy Gap Firming Project would take around 30,000 acre feet out of the Colorado River. The Army Corps is expected to issue a final Record of Decision in the next 6 months: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_29763004/hickenlooper-backs-windy-gap-water-orders-final-permit
  3. Kevin Fixler from the Summit Daily reports — The State of Utah initiated the permitting process for the Lake Powell pipeline in December 2015 with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which could take 2 years. The project proposes to take out 86,000 acre feet out of the Colorado River: http://www.summitdaily.com/news/21067181-113/despite-state-water-plan-local-headwaters-have-growing
  4. Eric Galatas from Public News Service reports — The State of Wyoming is proposing the Fontenelle Dam re-engineering with the Bureau of Reclamation that would take 125,000 acre feet out of the Green River which flows into the Colorado: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/2016-03-22/environment/wyoming-among-states-advancing-claims-on-colorado-river/a50955-1

Let’s do the math of the potential new diversion in the Upper Basin:

  • Moffat Collection System Project = 15,000 acre feet
  • Windy Gap Firming Project = 30,000 acre feet
  • Lake Powell Pipeline = 86,000 acre feet
  • Fontenelle Dam re-engineering = 125,000 acre feet
  • TOTAL: 256,000 acre feet

In short: the potential agreement for cutbacks in the first year in Arizona (192,000 acre feet) in the Lower Basin would be completely negated by the potential new diversions in the Upper Basin (256,000 acre feet).

Let’s ask this: Why in the world would the federal government (Army Corps, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Bureau of Reclamation) permit a new project in the Upper Basin when this Zero Sum Game is happening?

That’s why Save The Colorado’s policy is “No New Dams And Diversions.”

Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado

River Activists to Float New, Free-Flowing Section of Colorado River

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 22nd, 2016

CONTACT: Eric Balken (801) 631-2774  eric@glencanyon.org

River Activists to Float New, Free-Flowing Section of Colorado River through Glen Canyon Saturday

On Saturday, April 23rd, a group of 100 river restoration activists will float a new, free-flowing section of Colorado River from the boat ramp at Hite, UT to Farley Canyon on Screenshot (272)what was once inundated 50 feet under Lake Powell. The river float and party to take place after are a celebration of Glen Canyon Institute’s 20th Anniversary.

The celebration will include speakers such as environmental activist Ken Sleight, on whom the Character Seldom Seen Smith was based in Ed Abbey’s The Monkey Wrench Gang, as well as Save the Colorado’s Gary Wockner, and Glen Canyon Institute President Richard Ingebretsen.

“The thought of seeing the Colorado River flow through Glen Canyon again has been a dream for many, and today we’re seeing that dream come true”, says GCI’s Richard Ingebretsen. “Although it’s only a small portion of the canyon, we’re doing what was once considered impossible”.

“As water shortage and climate change continue to bring down Lake Powell, river runners everywhere are awaiting the day when they can float all of Glen Canyon”, says GCI Executive Director Eric Balken. “Climate models are showing that the reservoir will likely never fill again, and there’s a good chance we’ll get to float the entire river through Glen Canyon one day”.

More information on this event can be found on GCI’s website at www.glencanyon.org. The event is free and open to the public.

Visit the Glen Canyon Institute website for more information on the Fill Mead First plan.

* * *

Glen Canyon Institute is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring Glen Canyon, Grand Canyon, and a free-flowing Colorado River.

–END –

 

Let’s Go Rafting — Cataract Canyon on the Colorado River!

Hi Friends — Let’s Go Rafting!

Our great friends at O.A.R.S. Adventure Travel are offering an exclusive raft trip for Save The Colorado friends and supporters in Cataract Canyon on the oars-cataractColorado River in Utah!

This 6-day trip is a fundraiser for Save The Colorado and will support our work to protect and restore the Colorado River and its tributaries throughout the Southwest U.S.

Dates: July 31st - August 5th, 2016

Cost: $1,699 per adult, $1,599 per youth (17 & under)

The trip will feature amazing hiking at “The Dollhouse” in Canyonlands National Park, up close views of Anasazi ruins, and the extraordinary rapids in Cataract Canyon including “Big Drop.” Get ready for:

  • Towering red rock walls, seasonal waterfalls & otherworldly scenery
  • Sensational side hikes & stand up paddleboarding on the Colorado
  • Raft the legendary Class III – IV rapids of Cataract Canyon
  • Prehistoric ruins, rock art panels, and awesome beach camps
  • Scenic return flight over Canyonlands to Moab

Joining us on the trip will be special guests and environmental activists working to cataract1protect and restore the river from the source to the sea.

Gary Wockner (founder of Save the Colorado) will also be speaking on the trip which will directly benefit the Colorado River and its tributaries. By joining this trip you are joining the force to support the non-profit organization, Save the Colorado, and one of nature’s greatest rivers.

This trip has a limited number of seats available, so contact us soon! The trip is fully supported by OARS — great food, excellent guides, return flight back to Moab, and awesome fun!

Click here to see the full details of the trip including itinerary, gear, and travel arrangements: http://www.savethecolorado.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Colorado_River_through_Cataract_Canyon_6-Day_Itinerary-with-STC.pdf

Please contact Emily Kay, below, to book the trip!
Emily Kay, Reservations Specialist
The O.A.R.S. Family of Companies | PO Box 67, Angels Camp, CA 95222
Phone: 209-753-4790, Email: EmilyK@oars.com

Thank you for your support!

Take Action to Stop “Disaster Capitalism on the Colorado River!”

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

Here’s what’s new along the Colorado River this week! First, we asked you to send emails to the County Commissioners in Boulder, Colorado, asking them to help stop the proposed Colorado River-draining “Gross Dam Expansion” in Southwest Boulder Image1County. Over 700 of you sent emails! Thank you! And, can we get that to 1,000 emails? I bet we can! (click here to send an email to the Commissioners) These three commissioners — Deb Gardner, Elise Jones, and Cindy Domenico (L to R) — are some of the most progressive and environmental elected officials in the U.S., and, they’d love to hear from you if you have not already sent them an email.

Please click here to send them an email asking them to help stop the Gross Dam Expansion which would drain another five billion gallons of water out of the Colorado River every year. Further, the dam expansion would be the largest construction project in Boulder County history causing damage to roads, noise pollution, climate change emissions, and a significant impact on the quality of life of nearby residents. Click here to send an email to Commissioners Gardner, Jones, and Domenico — they need to hear from you today! We are having a meeting about this issue next week in Boulder and the Commissioners need 1,000 emails in their inboxes to help spur them to action. Thank you!

Second, check out our column in America’s largest-circulation newspaper, USA Today, that appeared online yesterday. The column, titled “Disaster Capitalism on the Screenshot (215)Colorado River” (click here to read it) asks the hard questions about what’s going on with the Obama administration and its new focus on water. Will it protect and restore our rivers? Or will it collude with the private sector to further privatize water supplies so “climate change investors” (a.k.a. “Disaster Capitalists”) can make billions in profit as the demand for water increases while climate change shrinks supply?

We are very concerned by some of the statements coming from Secretary Jewell about building new “storage, pipelines, and canals” and “advancing efficient permitting” that could further destroy the river. I end the column by saying that Obama should: “Focus on the protection and restoration of the Colorado River ecosystem, and make sure that the river’s amazing water resource is administered with equity and justice so that profiteering is minimized and the public good is maximized for all of the species — human and non-human alike — that depend on the river for survival.Take a read here!

Finally, mark your calendars for our 2016 raft trip! The amazing people at OARS Whitewater Rafting have again offered us a fundraising raft trip on the Colorado River in 2016. This year’s trip will be in Cataract Canyon from July 31 – August 5. The ride through Cataract is awesome and includes “Big Drop,” which is one of the biggest rapids on the Colorado River, as well as lots of amazing serene stretches of river to rest, relax, and be a “tube lizard” in the sun. The float includes day hikes in Canyonlands National Park and a visit to the historic confluence of Green and Colorado Rivers. See trip details here. You can contact Emily Kay at OARS for more information: Phone: 209-753-4790, Email: emilyk@oars.com You can be in this photo below this summer! Join us!
oars-cataract

 

Thank you for all of your support, and stay tuned fore MORE ACTION!

 

 

TAKE ACTION! Ask Boulder County Commissioners to Protect Colorado River!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

A few weeks ago we ask you to contact the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and tell them to STOP the Lake Powell Pipeline in Utah. Lots of you did it, and Thank You! In addition, we signed on with a large coalition of groups and sent FERC 78 pages of technical documents opposing the project!

Now it’s time to take action again! This month, we are reaching out to the County Commissioners in Boulder County, Colorado, (click here!) to ask them to help stop the proposed disastrous Moffat Collection System Project. This project is proposed by Denver Water — it would be the largest construction project in Boulder County history, grossdam1drain 5 billion more gallons of water out of the Colorado River each year, build a massive 131-foot height extension on the Gross Dam (yes, it’s really named “Gross” Dam) in Southwest Boulder County, and cause huge negative impacts to home values and quality of life for nearby residents.

You can click here to send an email to the Boulder County Commissioners asking them to help stop the massive dam/reservoir project.

If you are in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Denver, or in between, this river-draining project will impact your water supply — you have a right to ask the Boulder County Commissioners to help stop it.

Save The Colorado is digging in hard to fight this Denver Water project. What are we doing?

  • We are having a public meeting about the project on April 4th in Boulder — please attend if you are in town (link and details here):
  • We are working closely with TEG-Colorado — the local group around Gross Dam — with all of our legal, outreach, and engagement activities.
  • We have retained an attorney to represent our coalition.
  • We have put together a coalition of environmental groups who want to join the fight to stop the dam.
  • We have sent several new technical documents to the Army Corps of Engineers (which is one of the permitting agencies for the project) that solidify our “standing” and strongly pack the public record with arguments against the dam expansion.
  • We have prepared a solid technical argument refuting the “mitigation” plan that Denver Water is proposing.
  • We’ve retained two consultants to assist our broad range of efforts to fight the dam, including a fundraising consultant and a scientific consultant.
  • We’ve launched a campaign to reach out to the Boulder County Commissioners (CLICK HERE).
  • We are monitoring the State’s “water quality permit” for the project — which has not been finalized yet — and may engage as needed.
  • We’ve engaged with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (another permitting agency for the project), and will legally intervene when the public process for that stage of the permitting begins.
  • We are setting up a meeting with the public in Grand County, Colorado, to discuss our concerns near the headwaters of the Colorado River.
  • We continue to actively reach out to the Colorado and Western media about the threat of this project and others on the Colorado River. The most recent news story was in the Summit Daily News last Saturday.

How Can You Help? Yes, Again :-)! Please click here to send an email to the Boulder County Commissioners today! The Army Corps of Engineers says they will make a decision on this project in the summer of 2016, so we need to help the Boulder County Commissioners support our effort to Stop This Project! (CLICK HERE)

What else is new with Save The Colorado? We have two amazing new boardmembers! Sara Aminzadeh and John Fielder have joined our board!

sara-aminzedahSara Aminzadeh seizes every opportunity to paddle, float and otherwise spend time in and on the water. Sara is the Executive Director of California Coastkeeper Alliance (CCKA), a fifteen-year old network of Waterkeeper organizations fighting for clean water in California. Ms. Aminzadeh directs CCKA initiatives to protect and defend California’s ocean, bays, and rivers, including CCKA’s work to make permanent changes to the way water supplies are managed and to protect and restore instream flows for California rivers and fish. Ms. Aminzadeh has been working on climate change and human rights issues for more than fifteen years, including work at the Center for International Environmental Law and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. She received her JD from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

John_resized_3_John Fielder is a nationally renowned photographer, publisher, teacher, and environmentalist. He hikes and skis hundreds of miles in Colorado alone each year — and drives thousands — in order to record on film its most sublime natural places. For the last 40 years, no one has traveled Colorado like John Fielder, from its rolling plains to the soaring Rocky Mountains and the Western Slope’s remote plateaus and river canyons. John Fielder has also worked tirelessly to promote the protection of Colorado’s open space and wildlands. His photography has influenced people and legislation earning him recognition including the Sierra Club’s Ansel Adams Award in 1993, and in 2011 the Aldo Leopold Foundation’s first Achievement Award given to an individual. He was an original governor-appointed member of the lottery-related Board of Great Outdoors Colorado, and speaks to thousands of people each year to rally support for timely land use and environmental issues.

Sara and John join are committed to our mission and are fully on board with our policy of “No New Dams and Diversions on the Colorado River!” Welcome Sara and John!

 

FERC denial of Oregon Jordan Cove LNG plant may protect Colorado River water supplies

Hi Friends of the Colorado River!

Yesterday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “Denied” the application for a liquified natural gas plant (LNG) at Jordan Cove, Oregon.
See story: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-03-11/u-s-rejects-veresen-s-5-3-billion-jordan-cove-gas-export-plan
FERC document denial:  http://www.ferc.gov/CalendarFiles/20160311154932-CP13-483-000.pdf

The single biggest proposed threat to water supplies in the Southwest U.S. in the

Natural Gas Fields in Southwest Wyoming

Natural Gas Fields in Southwest Wyoming

Colorado River basin is a massive re-engineering project proposed for the Fontenelle Dam in Wyoming. The State wants to use the water — over 125,000 acre feet (40 billion gallons)/year — in part for “Energy Development” in the Southwest Wyoming oil/gas fields

“Additional Fontenelle water ‘most definitely’ could be used for an industrial complex that legislators and industrialists have dreamed of building in southwest Wyoming, water development director LaBonde said. Such a complex could use Green River water and southwest Wyoming’s other natural resources – trona, coal, helium, and natural gas — to add value to the state’s usual export of raw products.”
see High Country News story: https://www.hcn.org/articles/green-river-could-boost-industrial-complex-dream

Further, Senator Barrasso from Wyoming, had strongly urged FERC to approve the Jordan Cove LNG plant: http://www.barrasso.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2015/9/barrasso-final-jordan-cove-eis-great-news-for-rocky-mountain-natural-gas
And Senator Barrasso is the chief proponent and sponsor of a bill in the U.S. Senate to push forward the Fontenelle Dam expansion.

If the Jordan Cove LNG plant were built, it would have “cut nine days off of shipping time to Asian markets” for fracked gas in the massive gas fields of Southwestern Wyoming, as well as Western Colorado and Northeast Utah:

http://www.naturalgasintel.com/articles/103923-jordan-cove-lng-viewed-as-market-outlet-by-western-colorado-producers

Therefore, stopping and slowing fracking in the Upper Basin States of the Colorado River (Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado) — which FERC just did by denying this LNG export terminal — will better protect water supplies for the entire Southwest U.S. from Denver to Los Angeles and Phoenix and beyond.

Yes, it is all tied together

Colorado River Update: Take Action to STOP the Lake Powell Pipeline!

Hello Friends of the Colorado River!

Please take action to help STOP the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline. The public comment period is closing in on Saturday, Feb. 27th (tomorrow), and we need you to send an email lake-powell-pipeline-routeto the federal government today asking them to stop this disastrous project that would drain another 28 BILLION gallons of water out of the Colorado River every single year. The Colorado River is already stretched to the breaking point — taking more water out of the river to subsidize growth and waste in Utah’s desert is nonsensical.

You can click through here to the Federal Energy Regulator Commission’s (FERC) website to send them an email. After you register, FERC will send you back a link to click on to send in your comments. The Lake Powell Pipeline “Docket Number” is P-12966-000.

Suggested Comments (you can copy/paste this if you want, or put it in your own words, or give them your own opinion/facts about why the pipeline should be stopped):

**********
Despite the fact that the State of Utah has spent 8 years and $27 million of taxpayer money on these studies, there are significant concerns that are not being properly addressed in the latest study reports:
1. An audit on the Division of Water Resources shows that flawed data is being used to demonstrate the need for this project.
2. All the costs of the Pipeline, including financing, operations and maintenance should be clearly presented.
3. Less expensive alternatives to the Pipeline such as better water management, greater emphasis on conservation and more effective use of existing supplies must be included fairly and without bias when analyzing the pipeline project.
4.The studies do not sufficiently consider the impact of Climate Change on current and projected flows of the Colorado River and its ability to supply water for the pipeline.
5. The studies do not sufficiently consider the negative impact on the Grand Canyon ecosystem of draining 28 billion gallons of water out of the Colorado River each year.
***********
Thank you for taking action today to protect and restore the Colorado River!
Stay tuned for more ACTION! And Thank You for your support.