A speculative water project could take 81 billion gallons a year out of the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
The Green River below Flaming Gorge Reservoir offers some of the best fishing in the West. But despite the importance of the Green River to anglers and the local economy, a speculative water project proposed by developer Aaron Million could take 81 billion gallons a year out of the Green River and Flaming Gorge, and pump it 560 miles to the Front Range of Colorado.
Initial construction costs for this project will exceed $7 billion, with annual operating costs totaling over $123 million. Yet that’s not the worst part. The Million Pipeline is a potential economic and environmental boondoggle that could unleash a host of destructive impacts on local communities, fish and game habitats, and taxpayers in three states. A pipeline project of this magnitude has the potential to:
- Ruin world class kokanee salmon and lake trout populations by increasing water temperatures and raising salinity levels.
- Destroy the Blue-ribbon fishery for trophy rainbow and brown trout in the Green River.
- Harm critical mule deer and pronghorn habitat and hunting opportunity.
- De-water wetlands in the basin and impede waterfowl hunting.
- Impact Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, Browns Park
- National Wildlife Refuge, Dinosaur National Monument, as well as Ouray National Wildlife Refuge.
- Lower water levels significantly, making it virtually impossible to access the reservoir for recreation.
- Further the spread of cheat grass, tamarisk and quagga mussels, which will harm hunting and fishing in the area.
- Force the government to spend millions of dollars in taxpayer money to reconstruct boat launches, campgrounds, marinas, fishing piers and other access points.
- Destroy a $118 million recreation-based economy the communities in the region depend on for their survival.
- Slow the recovery of endangered native fish like the razorback sucker, Colorado pikeminnow, and bonytail chub. Until these fish are recovered and removed from listing under the Endangered Species Act, the area’s recreation-based economy will continue to operate with restrictions required under federal law.
Make Your Voice Heard
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reviews federal permits for hydropower projects, and is taking comments on Million's application for a preliminary permit through December 16. While this is only the first step of many that would be required for the proposed pipeline, it gives us the chance to stop Million's dangerous proposal now, before it can get started. FERC needs to hear from you about the importance of the Green River and your concerns about the impacts of this project.
To submit your comments by the December 16th deadline, please follow these instructions:
1. Go to www.ferc.gov 2. Click on the 'Documents and Filings' menu tab on the homepage 3. Click on the eComments tab 4. Fill in the required information and you will receive an official form to file your comments 5. Include on the docket # P-14263 for the Flaming Gorge Pipeline project. 6. Submit your comment before the December 16th deadline
Note: If you have personal experiences on the Green, be sure to mention those in your comments.
Suggested Talking Points
In addition to the points listed above, it's important to stress the following in your comments:
- The Million project will be bad for the Green River and its world-class trout fishery and the regional tourism economy that fishery supports, as well as harming critical native fish habitat downstream where the Green is a centerpiece of endangered fish recovery.
- This project already failed to pass muster with another federal agency that reviewed it. After scoping, the Army Corps of Engineers pulled the plug on the environmental analysis process that it had begun on this pipeline because Million didn't have the threshold information available to even allow them to analyze the project. Nothing has changed - and FERC shouldn't allow an applicant to "game" its system this way to create phony credibility with investors.
- Having struck out with the Corps, Million is now trying to sell this as a hydropower project - but it can't be justified based on its claimed hydropower benefits. It would actually interfere with hydropower generation at Flaming Gorge by reducing the water available to go through the existing hydroelectric facilities. The project isn't good for fish or for hydropower.
Continue the Fight
To stay up to date on this issue and learn about more opportunities to get involved, please sign up to on our campaign website 'Sportsmen for the Green' and 'like' us on Facebook.
Questions? Contact Charlie Card, NE Utah Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org