Jackson Hole Daily | Pipeline project denied
Pipeline project denied
By Benjamin Graham, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
May 18, 2012
A plan to divert water from the Green River to Colorado’s Front Range ran into a roadblock Thursday when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied the developer’s request for a preliminary permit.
The denial, the second for the proposal, ended the chance of the pipeline proceeding any time soon.
The denial was applauded by conservationists and river users.
“At this point the pipeline is dead in the water,” said Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist for the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, one of the opponents of the diversion plan.
The proposed 500-mile pipeline would divert billions of gallons of water from the Green River, which flows from near Pinedale and south to the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The Green and Flaming Gorge are frequented by Jackson anglers and boaters.
A previous application for the project, submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was denied because developer Aaron Million failed to provide requested information and meet filing deadlines. Million then tried to obtain a permit directly through FERC.
According to FERC’s ruling, Million “presented no information in [his] permit application or [his] request for rehearing to indicate that the planning, routing, or authorizations for the water conveyance pipeline are in progress or reasonably foreseeable.”
FERC went on to call the pipeline application “premature.”
Conservation groups across the West urged FERC to turn down the application.
“We are very pleased that FERC denied this permit,” said Duane Short, wild species program director at the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance. “Had this huge pipeline project been approved everything from endangered species to local livelihoods would have been devastated.”
The Green River was named to one conservation group’s list of most endangered rivers earlier this week because of the proposed pipeline. The group, American Rivers, was worried the pipeline would ravage fish and wildlife populations, rural agriculture and the robust recreation economy supported by the river.
Being denied hurts the project’s long-term chances, said one American Rivers employee.
“Rehearings are very difficult to get,” said Matt Rice, director of Colorado conservation efforts for the group. “We completely and entirely expected FERC to make this decision, and we couldn’t be more pleased.”