GCPBA sent a May 25, 2021 letter reiterating our opposition to the Navajo Nation’s proposal to construct docks for commercial purposes on the South shore of the Colorado River, 1-2 miles downstream from Lee’s Ferry. The letter is posted on our webpage (http://gcpba.org
). Here’s a synopsis: By way of the Harbors Act, the US Army Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction over construction within navigable waters. Although the Navajo claim rights to the middle of the river, they have now recognized federal jurisdiction and applied for a permit, which was granted by way of a Letter of Permission in Oct. 2019.
An LOP is an abbreviated permitting process, which: 1) involves no public notice/participation, 2) assumes no “appreciable” public opposition, 3) requires that the Navajo demonstrate land ownership and, 4) requires the Corps to confer with other Federal entities. Because there were no public proceedings/notifications, GCPBA has sought documents and correspondence via FOIA.
We have helicopter/boat rides at both ends of the Park - Page/Lake Powell and Las Vegas/Quarter Master. The Navajo now want to have boat rides starting just downstream from Lee’s Ferry – no mention in their permit application of how they would get their clientele to the docks. From highway 89A, the precipitous 400 foot high escarpment to the river doesn’t lend itself to vehicular access.
We shared our findings/concerns with other stakeholder organizations and encouraged them to state their opposition. Per discussions with these groups, we know that the NPS is opposed to the docks. Therefore, petitioning the NPS serves no purpose – they know about it and have conferred with the USACE re their response to the Navajo.
The Navajo are required to give 10 notice prior to construction and can ask for an extension when the permit lapses on October 21, 2021. Federal regulation 33 CFR 325.7 is the mechanism by which the Corps can rescind the LOP. Hence, our letter invokes this regulation because the LOP was issued contrary to Corps’ guidelines, i.e. there is
public opposition, landownership has been in dispute for decades, and the Corps did not confer with NPS prior to issuing the LOP.
If you share our concerns, you are welcome to voice your opposition. Be polite! You can reference 33 CFR 325.7 and request the suspension and subsequent revocation of the Letter of Permission for SPL-2019-00602. Here’s contact info:
Col. Julie Balten
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Los Angeles District
915 Wilshire Blvd. Phoenix, AZ 85012
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Ms. Sallie Diebolt, Chief
Arizona Section Regulatory Branch
US Army Corps of Engineers
3636 North Central Avenue, Suite 900
Phoenix, AZ 85012