Flaming Gorge Pipeline
In terms of pipeline projects, most people have probably heard about the Keystone XL oil pipeline project proposed from Canada down to Texas. But another pipeline project caught my attention that may not be so well known and is of equal importance in environmental terms. The proposed Flaming Gorge Pipeline is a 500 mile proposal from the Green River in Wyoming all the way down to Front Range in Colorado. The interesting part of this proposed pipeline is that it’s for water…not oil or natural gas.
A man named “Mr. Aaron Million” backed by Wyco Power and Water Inc. has been requesting approval for the 500 mile water pipeline through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for some time. But as recently as two weeks ago, they have denied the request for a third time in a row over the span of the last year.
The Flaming Gorge pipeline is proposed to pump 81 billion gallons of water per year from Wyoming to Colorado via the 500 miles of pipeline at a projected cost of $9 billion dollars.
Reasons against the pipeline basically boil down to a myriad of environmental issues that stem from a reduction of the Green Rivers flow and the effects on it’s natural state. The Green River is the Colorado Rivers biggest tributary which could reduce flow by up to 25%. That reduced flow could potentially affect water users in the region that depend on that water source and some fear their only water source could dry up. Other reasons include reduced habitat for elk, trout, and 4 other endangered fish species, reduced recreational activities and potentially increased carbon emissions from the pumping required for the pipeline itself. Other water pipeline projects are opposed by tribal nation’s such as the Goshute Confederated Tribes due to water rights as shown via the tweet below.
Major opposition to the pipeline has stirred up a lot of emotional and passionate people to fight the proposal on every level. A group called Western Resources Advocates performed their own study citing all the reasons the pipeline is not a good idea for the region including economic and financial impacts.
Residents and opponents went as far as erecting billboard signs (main picture above) in opposition to any public funds going towards a feasibility study for the project with a url pointing to an online petition: Stopflaminggorgepipeline.org, which is now closed due to public funds being reduced by 1/3 towards the study, which is viewed as a victory according to the site.
Since water is the most precious resource humans need, when supplies begin to run low, we can only expect that projects like this pipeline will begin sprouting up all over the world in years to come. Fortunately, there are alternatives to expensive pipeline projects that steal water from other far away regions. Cities could impose urban water conservation programs, highly treated wastewater programs for industrial uses, water sharing programs with farmers, and incentives for small to medium scale storage of water via water tanks and cisterns.
For now, it seems that the project has met a strong enough opposition to be stopped in its track, but the private developer interested in pursuing the project may attempt to find another way around it.
What are your thoughts on expensive water pipeline projects in general? Would you be opposed to this project if it were in your state or country?
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