Governor Matt Mead sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today. That letter expresses the Governor's deep concern about the proposed water pipeline from the Green River in Wyoming to Colorado's Front Range. Governor Mead's comments are meant to protect Wyoming's economy and resources and show the project is not feasible.
"This project would cut a vast swath across southern Wyoming, with the potential for huge impacts in many significant sectors of our economy and aspects of critical resources to Wyoming and Colorado," Governor Mead wrote. He added, "The proponent has stated this project will cost $3 billion to construct but little is known about the future cost to consumers or others from such a massive project."
FERC is considering a preliminary permit for this project, which is now billed as a hydroelectric endeavor. It had been before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers until the Corps withdrew the application earlier this year. The project applicant then took it to FERC. Governor Mead expressed concern that FERC is not the correct entity to review this proposal, "The proponent has, by all appearances, shifted federal permitting venues to short-circuit the regulatory process and/or sidestep fundamental issues. I do not believe FERC should be the lead or initial permitting agency for this project."
In terms of Wyoming's water rights, Governor Mead wrote that the Upper Colorado River Basin Compact must be given full consideration because no project can disrupt Wyoming's potential to develop its remaining appropriation under that Compact. While most of the water for this project would supposedly come from whatever Colorado's unused portion of the compact is Governor Mead noted, "The applicant is proposing use of 25,000 acre feet of water per year from Wyoming's undeveloped allocation under the Compact, and Wyoming has not agreed to this allocation."
Governor Mead also raised concerns about the impact on recreation opportunities in the Flaming Gorge and the Green River as well as impacts on endangered species recovery programs in the Green and Colorado Rivers.
Wyoming Game and Fish Department has also filed a notice of intervention with FERC.