The Trump administration is fast-tracking analysis of a proposal to build the massive Lake Powell Pipeline.
The 140-mile-long Lake Powell Pipeline would pump 86,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water each year to Utah’s Washington County. Not only would the project be enormously expensive, it poses an unnecessary risk to native communities and public lands along the proposed pipeline route, and the health of the entire Colorado River.
Western Resource Advocates has a long history of advocating along with several other partners for smarter alternatives. WRA’s analysis has shown that Utah can choose a more sustainable path AND save its taxpayers money. Local water supply solutions, such as water conservation, water reuse, and agricultural water transfers, offer the best opportunity to ensure a sustainable water supply for Utah’s Washington County.
In fact, just last year, the Army Corps of Engineers told the state of Utah that it should consider WRA’s Local Waters Alternative. But the state has continued to seek a permit for the pipeline. Facing dim prospects for a permit with one federal agency (FERC), it re-started its application with another (the Bureau of Reclamation). And in early 2020, the Trump administration said it would fast-track this misguided proposal.
The proposal is now at a critical step in that process. A draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released in June failed to take sustainable local alternatives into account.
Rather than exploring a suite of options to meet local water needs, the draft EIS only considered alternative routes for the pipeline – all of which would have significant environmental and cultural impacts. The proposed routes would pass through lands that are culturally significant or sacred to the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, potentially disturbing or impeding access to these areas. Each of these impacts deserves close scrutiny. After receiving extensive public comment, the Bureau of Reclamation will need to review and respond to any substantive questions or concerns. While the Bureau of Reclamation plans to release the final EIS in November 2020, we still need to make sure this proposal isn’t pushed through without the evaluation it requires.
Federal law requires Congress to approve pipelines that would pump water from the Upper Colorado River Basin to the Lower Colorado River Basin. We need to let the administration and the state of Utah know that they must consider local sustainable alternatives to the pipeline, and that they can’t push their proposal through and bypass Congress’s important oversight role.
We’ve drafted a letter below for you to send to your congressional representatives telling them they can’t let the administration and the state of Utah fast-track the Lake Powell Pipeline. You can simply enter your information and hit send. Or use the text box to personalize your letter, add to it, or start from scratch to tell them why you oppose the Lake Powell Pipeline!