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Flaming Gorge Pipeline Moves Forward with FERC Application

Posted: 09/08/2011
By: Nathan Fey

Proponents of the 501-mile long "Flaming Gorge pipeline" that will send water from the Green River in Wyoming to Colorado's Front Range, have submitted an Application for a Preliminary Permit with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The project, known as the Regional Watershed Supply Project had been under consideration by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for more than two years until the agency canceled it's environmental review this year. Revised plans for the pipeline now include hydropower production, requiring FERC to issue the permit.

The Project's proponent, Aaron Million, filed revised plans for the pipeline with FERC (P-14263) on Aug. 31 as president of a new company formed on Aug. 25, Wyco Power and Water, Inc. (download preliminary permit application). As a private water and power development entity, Wyco P&W intends to sell and deliver water from the Green River to Colorado's Front Range communities, while producing about 550 megawatts of hydroeletic power. The plans include using nine natural gas-powered pump stations to lift the water up and over the Continental Divide through a 120 inch pipeline.

If the pipeline is built, it will also require construction of the proposed 185,000-acre-foot Cactus Hill Reservoir near Fort Collins, Colorado.

Though the final figure is not specified in the FERC application, Million previously planned to divert about 250,000 acre feet of water from the Green River annually - water that currently flows through spectacular Ladore Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument, Split Mountain Canyon, and downstream to Desolation and Gray Canyons.

In the application, Million said studies required for the permit would cost up to $4 million, but doesn't estimate the final cost of construction. Estimates of completing the Flaming Gorge pipeline range between $7 billion and $9 billion - a cost that could be the highest price of any water project in Colorado's history.

For more information in the Regional Watershed Suppy Project, or to get involved, visit American Whitewater's RWSP Project Page.

Colorado Stewardship Director

Nathan Fey

1601 Longs Peak Ave.

Longmont, CO 80501

Phone: 303-859-8601
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Green River (WY/UT/CO)

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