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Old 11-19-2003   #1
kayaker's Avatar
in a van down by the river, California
Paddling Since: 1974
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Blasting bombing and River Closures on the Animas

The Animas River, once beautiful, plentiful and pristine, is now home to the bulldozer, the dynamite rounds and the greedy pull of political influence and the improbable physics that pump water uphill for hundreds of feet.
While most US citizens remain near comotose from the rising death tolls in yet another imperialist empire building excercise for corporate global domination, the Bush/Enron/Cheney/Haliburton/Gale'rape-n-pillage'Norton/Monsanto regime is laying waste to our nation by gutting the Clean Waters Act, the Clean Air Act and rolling back environmental pollution regulations.

After we realize what they are up to, it may be too late.

Case in point: the Animas River
Specifically: the Animas LaPlata River Project
Status: Blasting the former wildlife refuge of the Ridges Basin

Animas La-Plata, the THREE time Environmental Impact Study looser, the highly unpopular decision with the people of Durango, is and has been diverting and fouling the Animas River and removing a former wildlife refuge to make way for more concrete, more power plants (to generate power to pump water over 800 feet uphilll!) and to fucking RUIN an already tapped out river.
With more pollution from mining and from big industry dumping into the headwaters regions of streams, our water sources (like the Animas River) are becoming more and more essential to our survival.
When you change the way of the river, your change will always be temporary, to resist the way of the river is true folly. Just look at the track record of the BLM! With failing dams and shoddy maintenance schedules fueled by political pressure to move water where it just should not go, the BLM is in for a major surprise in the next 20 years.
You tell me who wins when water wears on concrete for a century?
Water does! Every time.
We need to rethink the entire idea of meddling with rivers.
Rivers deserve 100% total protection. Return rivers to their natural paths and respecting the rules of the river would be a good start.
But the madness going on in Colorado with the Animas LaPlata Project is a Serious Alert for Colorado boaters and for Colorado Citizens.
The people of Durango resisted, the EIS and EIR reports proved that the ALP project was a porkbarrell hoax purporting the good it would do to repay Indians their water. Give me a break!
Even though this assinine project is in progress, we MUST not let ALP set a precendent. We must fight the hand of globalisation and growth without questions. We each need to first consider our impacts, then attack with pen and with paper, to fight the wrongs being wrought on the rivers.

the blasting goes on... updates at: [][/url]

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Old 11-19-2003   #2
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we can thank our notorious Sen. Ben Twoface Campbell for that one. I wonder how much he personally profits from A-LP.

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Old 11-26-2003   #3
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kayaker you make some valid points, but unfortunately your highly charged rhetoric fails to mention that ALP is being built to satisfy the Southern Utes water rights. That's what its about period. I for one think this country has screwed Indians enough, and to not build ALP would being doing just that again. There are plenty of very great injustices in the world, even right here in Colorado; ALP ranks pretty low in my book of concerns.
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Old 11-26-2003   #4
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in a van down by the river, California
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ALP buries hundreds of Pueblo Indian burial sites

While we agree that the natives of this continent have definitely been handed a raw deal for the past two centuries, if ALP is all about restoring Ute tribe water, then I've got some swamp land for sale for you in Texas buddy!

If you think that the Animas La-Plata project is about one thing, then that means that you actually BOUGHT was NightHorse Campbell was selling WITHOUT doing your homework on the subject.
Come on! This is the Animas River we're talking about, not just water for the tribes.
And if you believe that this Pork-laden water project was just for restoring water to Indians, then you really DO trust a government without oversight. Think of all the businesses and developers foaming at the mouth to get paid to develop more land and build more houses with all that additionally stored water. (more stored water means more people can move to the desert... right?....) Nevermind the carrying capacity of the land, eh?

ALP proponents claim it will settle water-rights claims for two Indian tribes.
Yet, more than 40% of the water from ALP would go to local municipalities and will feed future sprawl development in the area, while burying hundreds of Pueblo Indian burial sites.
The $450 million project has never had a benefit-cost analysis, and the Bureau of Reclamation claims that ALP does not require one because it is a tribal water rights settlement -– but an analysis for a previous version of ALP found that the project would return just 36 cents for every dollar spent.

Don't forget the convoluted phases to ALP, because the water does not just simply get delivered to the Ute tribes. Phase I of A-LP, which is mostly federally funded, would divert and store, but not deliver, long-overdue water for Colorado’s two Ute tribes.
A-LP Phase II would deliver water to the reservations. But Phase II requires state funding, and Colorado voters would have to approve a bond issue ensuring financing.
So ALP does not do what you think it does. There are more votes and bonds to be approved.

Now, Check THIS out:

Addition offenses against the Southern Ute imposed by the ALP project:

* the dams associated with ALP would englulf hundreds of Pueblo Indian burial sites

* Significant reduction of river flows directly above critical habitat for endangered fish species

* Inundation of 2,000 acres of habitat for elk and deer

* Devastation of the only gold medal trout fishery in the area

* Create air and water pollution from the coal-fired power plant needed to pump water uphill (great idea, never mind the laws of physics and common sense)

* Impact a thriving whitewater industry and bankrupt commercial river outfitters (ouch! these are big dollar winners for Colorado's economy)

* Dams and construction would engulf hundreds of Pueblo Indian burial sites (in case you didn't read that the first time)

* Elimination of the Ridges Basin Wildlife Sanctuary - replacing the former Wildlife Sanctuary with concrete dams, blasting, water pipes and power plants.

* ALP’s reservoir would gut the Bodo State Wildlife Area, (which is prime low-elevation meadow and mixed forest habitat)

So do you still think that ALP is all about giving water to the indians?

Bottom line: the Animas La-Plata project is the death of one of the last free flowing rivers in the West, and has more to do with lining the pockets of the developers in the area than it does with "indian water".
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Old 11-26-2003   #5
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First, let me say that I totally respect where you're coming from. I certainly believe that the we've done a crappy job taking care of Mother Earth's gifts for the last couple of centuries and have done an especially poor job with the rivers of this nation. We need to do better in the future, and I think voicing our opposition, as you did, is a step in the right direction.

That said, I have to respectfully disagree with you on the specific case of ALP. Along with our crappy job taking care of the environment, we've done a crappy job of fulfilling our promises to the first people of this nation. We took this land from them using less than ethical means in most cases. For most tribes, the only thing they had left were the promises contained in treaties the United States entered into with them.

The federal government promised to provide water for reservations in those treaties. The Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe initiated litigation, sometime in the 70s, seeking to assert their reserved water rights. Rather than pursue litigation (which in addition to being expensive and time-consuming for both sides, would have been extremely divisive), the Tribes agreed to negotiate with the US, Colorado and other major water users in the area. The result of these negotiations was the 1988 Settlement Act, authorizing ALP. Looking at the legislative history, it is clear that Congress passed this Act to settle the Tribes' claims, while recognizing ALP would also provide water for municipal uses in NM and Colorado.

ALP has been through several rounds of environmental review, spanning several decades. With the recent amendments, ALP is a substantially smaller project, designed in accordance with prior ESA consultations, which reduces the Tribes' water supply. The Department of the Interior has called this so-called "ALP-Lite" the "most environmentally responsible" way to meet the obligations on the part of the United States to the two Ute Tribes.

The Southern Utes and the Ute Mountain Utes have driven this project from the beginning and have held the coalition together through various challenges. The Tribes' support of the project is unquestionable. Additionally, the two other tribes affected by the project, the Navajo Nation and the Jicarilla Apache Nation, both support the project. Although I could be wrong here, I don't believe any tribe has come out against ALP.

If you look at the history of the federal-tribal relations, white people have historically assumed that they know what's best for the Indians (usually based on their own agenda). In this case, the Tribes say that ALP is their best shot at obtaining their reserved water rights, and I take them at their word on this.

Overall, I think it's unfortunate that ALP has to be built. I believe that dams' time and place has generally passed. Certainly, it would have been preferable for the Tribes to have obtained their water when the Reservations were created. Yet, given the practicalities and limitations of the real world, I believe that to argue against ALP is to argue against the Ute Tribes getting their water rights. That's something I cannot do.

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Old 11-27-2003   #6
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I like water a lot. It makes me happy. You should be happy too. Relax. Smoke a fatty.

Stop pissing & moaning so much Kayaker. I could point out about 50 injustices that occur every time we wake up & make coffee in the morning (b/c some underpaid slave in some 3rd world country probably picked the goddam beans for one). Do I? No. Because I'd be pissing in the wind.
Bottom line is we've been screwing the Native Americans since the beginning of recorded American History and it's good to see something finally being done to properly make ammends for at least one of those injustices. If it means that some white man (like me) has to loose his commercial outfitter, so be it. That's why they're called 'native' americans, because they were here before commercial rafting. Besides, we've got a ton of outfitters.
You're looking out for the concerns of some crunchy nederland fools who live to disagree with the "establishment". News flash pal, you're a product of that establishment who's pissed off because he doesn't fit into it. (don't worry, neither do I) It doesn't give you the right to play god and demand that others agree with your opinion just because your gal (or guy pal) aint putting out.
Your first post was very informative and obviously you're quite educated on the matter. I appreciate you bringing it to light. However, there are others just as educated & informed out there, and obviously they can speak their peace without you chiming in that their wrong, wrong, wrong.

By the way, how do you feel about damming the Arkansas river?
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Old 11-29-2003   #7
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ALP-Lite, less filling and half the pork?

thanks for you education on the subject.
For all of the adults who have been following the discussion on the changes being made to the Animas River, what you had to offer was exactly what I had intended by opening up the subject in the Alerts section of the buzz.
Interesting that none of the tribes have come up against ALP.
This may be a factor that reflects the lack of overall GOOD options that have been presented to the native people of America in sum.
One solution is to present the question of how to solve water issues to the Utes, work with their proposals in conjuctions with sound phyics and engineering, and develop a long-term sustainable agreement for everyone.

Having compared the various versions of ALP to what is in implementation right now is the best settlement that could be drawn out with the limited visions presented.

The intention of discussion is to peel the layers off of a subject like the skin of an onion.
We know that the rivers need our defense, and we must take heed from the decisions being made that forecast the future of the rivers in our part of the world.

We are in firm agreement that the tribes need to get their water.

I was hoping to see some creative solutions, like:
give the Southern Ute tribes the best land on the river
Work with conservation easements and private land owners to purchase working plots of western slope arable lands which the Southern Ute could use to do sustainable agriculture.
find a way to provide a sure agreement that would be written purely for the benefit of the tribes (with no big land deals in the works)

Be sure that when one river falls, the others nearby will be changed as a result.
Thank you to the adults who joined in the discussion in creative and educative ways.
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Old 12-01-2003   #8
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Thanks for starting this debate. These are important discussions and I wish there were more like it on this site.

So in over 30 years of litigation and negotiations, no one has come up with a "GOOD" option to settle the Tribes water rights other than ALP? You may be right, but I find it hard to believe.

Finally, if you are really against this project, you could start by telling that group of psuedo-intellectual hippies down in Durango that masquarade under the banner of environmentalists protecting all of us from ourselves to get some GOOD legal help.

Their lawyer (and I am not making this up, check the court briefings yourself) actually petitioned the court to be excused for missing a pleading deadline, b/c her cat was sick . . . thus she needed more time! Not only is using this excuse once absolutely pathethic, she filed a second request for time extension. This time she said her cat was being uncooperative with her while she was trying to help it get better, so again she needed even more time. She actually said that to the court in public record! True.
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Old 12-01-2003   #9
Loveland, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 510
A-LP Info

I'm stepping a little outside of my bounds here--ALP is in the Upper Colorado Region for the Bureau of Reclamation and I'm in the Great Plains Region. But, I wanted to provide another source of info on this subject. We do have a website chronicling the government's involvement:

If clicking on or cutting and pasting that link doesn't work, visit and do a search (top right corner) for Animas La Plata.

On this website you can read the contract negotiation history, read about the background that led to the authorization of the project, even read about the ten different alternatives reviewed under the National Environmental Policy Act. And, there is also a contact page if you have questions or concerns you'd like to send us.

I hope you'll find this info useful.
Kara Lamb
Public Information
Eastern Colorado Office
Bureau of Reclamation
(970) 962-4326
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Old 02-12-2004   #10
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sad sad sad

well.... my 2 cents is share and share alike. We've screwed up the ecology of the planet to the point it will never be the same. change to that said ecology comes nonetheless, be it man-made or mutha nature. The Utes need the water, the whites can take their lilly white tails to Albertson's and City Market in their Hummer H2's and GMC Envoys to buy pristine bottled water at a buck ninety-nine.

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