Flaming Gorge Pipeline Rejected by FERC

Posted by: amy_rathke on 2/24/12 8:45 AM

NOLS courses floating and paddling the Green River need not worry about low river levels due to water diversion to the Denver Metro area. At least not for now.

No Problem
NOLS students navigate rapids on the Green River. Photo by Brad Christensen.

Yesterday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected a permit application from Wyco Power and Water, Inc. to study the feasibility of the “Regional Watershed Supply Project”--more commonly known as the Flaming Gorge Pipeline. The project, proposed by Colorado entrepreneur Aaron Million, would pump 81 billion gallons of water per year from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir and Green River in southwest Wyoming over the Continental Divide to the Front Range of Colorado and Southern Wyoming.

The word from FERC's Office of Energy Projects is that the application was premature and lacked specifics about how the building permits would be obtained and where the hydroelectric projects would be sited. The office released a statement saying, "Until some certainty regarding the authorization of the pipeline is presented, Wyco will not be able to gather and obtain the information required to prepare a license application for a proposed hydropower project… Therefore, there is no purpose under the [Federal Power Act] for issuing a permit to Wyco for its proposed hydropower project at this time."

Environmental conservation groups and those involved in the recreation industry have raised concerns about the proposed pipeline’s impacts on riparian habitats. Many consider the stretch of river below the Flaming Gorge Dam to be a world-class trout fishery. NOLS has filed comments outlining the detrimental impact of reduced flow rates and difficulty posed to the recreation economy of the Green River, if the project were approved.

Million has said that he will continue to work to get the project up and running.

Read more on the Flaming Gorge Pipeline at Western Resource Advocates.

by Dave Clark-Barol, NOLS Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Intern