Hello Friends of the Colorado River!
We hope you had a good Thanksgiving holiday and are back in the saddle of saving the Colorado River and the planet!
In spirit of Thanksgiving (or maybe the anti-spirit) we give out a “Turkey Award” to the State of Utah which seems to be putting forward just about every conceivable bad idea to drain and destroy the Colorado River. This past week a judged in Utah ruled that a proposed nuclear power plant did indeed have a right to claim 53,000 acre feet of water out of the Colorado River. (Watch this TV news story here.) That’s right — further
draining the river for a proposed nuclear power plant. In addition, the water would come from the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline, a billion-dollar boondoggle of a project also intended to slather Southwest Utah in new water for new growth. The ruling from the judge elicited a scathing editorial response (read it here) from the Salt Lake Tribune which actually welcomed federal oversight of the whole project. To be sure, this whole scheme of proposing to build a massive water pipeline to further drain the river to subsidize and cool a proposed nuclear power plant should warrant federal oversight and we are happy that it will come. These projects will face scrutiny from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under federal laws including the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, and others. So stay tuned — this conflict will take years to play out. We thank our friends at Heal Utah and other groups in Utah for fighting this fight!
In the state of Colorado, a simmering water war is also escalating. Over the past few decades, a large portion of water out of the Colorado River has been piped, tunneled, pumped, and siphoned under, over, and across the Continental Divide to the fast-growing Denver metropolis from Pueblo to Fort Collins. These river-destroying projects have taken water away from Western Colorado where it provides a lifeline for fish, wildlife, and the recreational economy. And now, Western Colorado is putting its foot down against new water projects. In a recent meeting of the powerful “Colorado River District” agency in Western Colorado, one stakeholder said, “Don’t goddamn come here anymore” to get water (read the news story here). This response was caused by a similar group in the Denver area that is proposing even more dams and diversions of water out of the Colorado River as a part of the “State Water Plan,” an effort created by Governor Hickenlooper. As this State Water Plan plays out, it remains to be seen whether Western Colorado will continue to allow its river to get drained to slake housing growth in Denver, or how Governor Hickenlooper will respond to the fight. Stay tuned!
Finally, we leave you with this amazing photo of an inversion in the Grand Canyon that occurred last Saturday. A “River of Fog” rolled in, filling the Canyon with awe and wonder. See more photos of this inversion here.
Stay tuned for more news and thank you for your support!