Town Hall Meeting on the
Flaming Gorge/ "Million" Pipeline
on the web:
- Sportsmen for the Green
- US Army Corps of Engineers Million Pipeline EIS page
- Ft. Collins Coloradoan "Pipeline Study Defunct"
- New West "Aaron Million's Dream: A Pipeline Too Far"
- Westword "There's a water war on the Colorado-Wyoming border" article
- Billings Gazzette "Diminishing Returns" article
- High Country News "Wild Turkey, gunfire and big pipelines" article
- Salt Lake Tribune "Pipeline controversy: Tapping the Green River" article
- New York Times Editorial "De-Watering Wyoming"
- High Country News "Sometimes water can cost way too much" article
Over 7,000 participate in Flaming Gorge Forum
Residents of the West don't want their rivers dried-up, their recreation ruined, and special places destroyed. They especially don't want their taxpayer dollars to support irresponsible projects. That was the feedback received through a telephone town hall meeting that provided 7,400 members of the public the opportunity to learn and ask questions about the proposed Flaming Gorge pipeline.
The controversial pipeline is a 560 mile-long project that would remove a massive amount of water from both the Green and Colorado Rivers. The water would be used for future growth along Colorado's Front Range. The audience uniformly expressed concern and consternation about this proposed pipeline that would from stretch from Flaming Gorge Reservoir in southwestern Wyoming to cities in the South Denver Metro region.
A panel of experts, including WRA Water Program director Bart Miller, laid-out what's behind the proposal and what it means to residents in a three-state region. Callers lit-up switchboards to ask questions about how much the project would cost, who would benefit, and remark how little information has been publicly available up until now.
Participants sent a clear message: they are not convinced that the pipeline should be built at all. It would transport the most expensive water Colorado has ever seen, use a huge amount of energy, and have severe negative economic impacts to the region around Flaming Gorge Reservoir. The proposal also ignores less expensive and less controversial solutions for meeting water needs, such as conservation, efficiency, reuse, and other smaller projects.
In mid-September, the Colorado Water Conservation Board will determine whether they will continue to use taxpayer dollars to fund a task force looking into the viability of the Flaming Gorge pipeline. Upon gathering feedback from the public at the town hall forum, this appears to be a very unpopular idea.
This video by Pete McBride illustrates vividly the problems with this pipeline.
The Town Hall Meeting
A telephone town hall meeting was held on Wednesday night, July 27th, and was attended by 7,400 members of the public. They came bearing questions and concerns about this controversial project.
Bart Miller of Western Resource Advocates, Bill Dvorak, owner of Dvorak Expeditions, and Elise Jones of the Colorado Environmental Coalition discussed the cost, impacts, and alternatives to the proposal to pipe water from the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir to Colorado's Front Range.
Click the links below to listen a few audio segments from the meeting to hear what was on the public's mind:
- Project cost
- Who will pay?
- Project impacts on fish
- Concern about project, appreciation for townhall forum
You can still voice your opinion: To sign our online petition, click here.
What's Wrong with this Pipeline Project?
If built, the Flaming Gorge/ "Million" pipeline project would move 81 billion gallons of water each year from the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming up to 560 miles away to Colorado's Front Range.(Click here to see a map of the proposed pipeline.)
- The pipeline is an enormous financial risk. The pipeline is estimated to cost up to $9 billion, and would require large amounts of energy and money to keep water flowing. It would produce the most expensive water ever seen in the state of Colorado, ten times as expensive as several other new water projects being planned.
- Moving vast amounts of water around the dry West always comes at the expense of others. A Flaming Gorge pipeline would harm the recreation economy in a part of the rural West where it is a foundation of the region's economic base.
- The environmental costs of the project would be felt across three states -- Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. Removing such a large volume of water would impact everything from aquatic species, to local and migratory bird species, to large terrestrial animals.
- The pipeline carries huge risks for water users throughout Colorado. If Colorado over-develops its share of Colorado River water, a very real possibility, cities and farmers across the state would be required to substantially cut back how much they use in a time of drought. This could have tremendous financial impacts, particularly in agricultural communities.
- Does this water even exist? It is uncertain how much, if any, of the water pipeline proponents want to claim is actually there for the taking. A number of factors, including steadily diminishing water supplies caused by the West's changing climate and interstate agreements on water management, point toward a very uncertain water yield from this proposed project.
- More reasonable, less damaging, and less expensive options are already in the works and are being discussed by state water planners, negating the need for this pipeline project.
Pictures Tell the Story of the Flaming Gorge Proposal
What You Can Do:
Share your comments and concerns about the Flaming Gorge pipeline proposal with those making decisions on the whether this process moves forward.
The Colorado Water Conservation Board is the state agency charged with overseeing state water policy. Their contact information is:
Colorado Water Conservation Board
1313 Sherman St., Room 721
Denver, CO 80203
Email the CWCB
Each river basin in the state of Colorado is represented by a roundtable group charged with negotiating water solutions with other areas of the state. Let the representatives from your river basin know how you feel about this project:
More information about the pipeline project:
For a more in-depth assessment of the Flaming Gorge pipeline's impacts, costs, and alternatives, visit this page on the WRA website.
On July 14, 2011, The US Army Corps of Engineers ceased their EIS study of Aaron Million's pipeline proposal. Read their notice of Permit Application Withdrawal.