Developer makes switch on Flaming Gorge review

Written by Bobby Magill

Fort Collins entrepreneur Aaron Million said Friday he is terminating the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ environmental review of the Regional Watershed Supply Project and transferring that review to another federal agency that regulates hydropower projects.

The agency switch could reduce the completion time for the project’s environmental impact statement, or EIS, and permitting from more than seven years to about 2½ years, he said.

“I think it’s a joke,” said Drew Peternell, Colorado director for Trout Unlimited, a sportsmen’s group that vehemently opposes the pipeline project. “He’s venue shopping. He’s looking for a better venue, one that will be faster. He’s going to run into a brick wall either way. The EIS conducted by FERC is going to be just as rigorous as the one the Army Corps would have conducted.”

Peternell said the pipeline would be the most expensive and one of the most environmentally damaging water projects ever built in Colorado, adding that the energy requirements for pumping the water over the Continental Divide will be greater than the hydropower the water will generate as it tumbles to the Front Range urban corridor.

“It’s going to have huge impacts on the Green River, which is a world-class trout fishery,” Peternell said. “Those impacts are of real concern to sportsmen — impacts we don’t think can be mitigated.”

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