Fed drop Flaming Gorge Pipeline application again

Feb 23, 2012

A federal agency has dismissed a permit application for a proposed project that sought to divert water from Western Wyoming to the southeastern portion of the stat and Colorado’s Front Range through a 500-mile pipeline.

Aaron Million is president of Wyco Power and Water, the Fort Collins, CO company behind the pipeline. He initially proposed the pipeline in 2009 to the Army Corps of Engineers, but details were murky as to what the 81-billion gallons of water, per year, would be used for. The Corps terminated their review of the project in 2011 because the project’s purpose was uncertain.

Million, then submitted an application to the Federal Energy Regulation Commission, or FERC, shortly after the Corps review termination, this time including plans for hydropower projects along the pipeline.

However, FERC'S Energy Projects Director Jeffrey Wright said today that Million failed to produce the necessary maps, plans, and evidence of compliance with state laws to reserve the project sites for research.

“What we, basically, received was an application with a line drawn from the water withdrawal locations to where he planned to terminate the pipeline. And so we did not get the information that we really sought to justify issuing him a preliminary permit.” Million says Wyoming and Colorado have rights to the water, and should use it before it gets to southwestern states.

But Stacy Tellinghuisen of Western Resource Advocates says such a huge diversion of water could have negative consequences.

"It would have tremendous impacts on the environment, and on the communities that rely on healthy flows in the green river. This project would have diverted about a quarter of the flows from the Green River, which is one of the biggest rivers in the West."

Tellinghuisen says she was pleased the Federal Energy Regulation Commission  and the Army Corps of Engineers both dropped review of permit applications for lack of data and planning.

Million says he will reapply and is confident the project will move forward.