While the environmental impact statement process is starting anew under the Bureau of Reclamation, which recently took over management of the project, it will also be building upon data and reports previously gathered by other agencies.
Reclamation will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP) Project as proposed by the Utah Board of Water Resources (UBWR). The LPP is a proposed 140-mile, 69-inch- diameter water delivery pipeline that begins at Lake Powell near Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Arizona, and ends at Sand Hollow Reservoir near St. George, Utah. UBWR previously proposed a pipeline project with an intake at Lake Powell that included a hydroelectric peaking station at Hurricane Cliffs, Utah. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) was the lead Federal agency for that project because it would have required a hydroelectric license issued by the FERC. The UBWR then dropped the Hurricane Pump Storage project and then they no longer needed a license from FERC. This was after 10 years of various phases of studies and $35 million later. The UBWR withdrew its application to the FERC on September 25, 2019, and the project was terminated effective October 10, 2019. The Trump administration then put Reclamation as the lead agency on the LPP.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and National Park Service (NPS) are cooperating agencies. Based on the changes to project design and the lead federal agency, Reclamation is initiating a new public scoping process, which will require interested parties to submit new comments on the current proposal.
Two pipeline alignments have been proposed to be studied in the EIS:
· The Southern Alternative that would travel south of the Kaibab Indian Reservation. It would cross land administered by the BLM in Utah and Arizona and would require multiple right-of-way (ROW) grants and an amendment to the Arizona Strip Resource Management Plan (RMP), because a small portion of the pipeline would go outside an approved utility corridor which, crosses the Kanab Creek Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC).
· The Highway Alternative would cross lands held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, following Arizona State Route 389. The Highway Alternative would cross BLM and Tribal trust lands, which would require the BLM and BIA to issue ROW grants and require a tribal resolution from the Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians. Both alternatives would cross lands administered by Reclamation and the NPS, requiring Reclamation to issue a license agreement and the NPS to issue a ROW permit under either alternative.
In addition, UBWR has requested a water exchange contract with Reclamation. Under a exchange contract, UBWR would forbear the diversion of a portion of the natural flows to which UBWR is entitled and allow these flows to contribute to meeting the Endangered Species Act Upper Colorado River Recovery Implementation Program requirements in the Green River. In exchange, UBWR would deplete an equal amount of water released from Flaming Gorge Dam throughout the year and to be available at Lake Powell.
Reclamation’s Public Disclosure: Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you may ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.