Utah recently switched lead federal agencies for the Lake Powell Pipeline (LPP) project to the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), which in turn began a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. This process began with “scoping” by asking the public what key issues should be analysed in an proposed draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). See a summary of Key issues below.
On January 10, CSU submitted over 80 pages of scoping comments requesting topics to be analyzed in the Lake Powell Pipeline’s (LPP) Environmental Impact Statement, acting as the lead for 12 regional and national environmental/conservation groups. Take a look at the LPP Coalition Scoping Comments to see the depth of LPP issues and the effort CSU and our coalition partners put into this. Concurrently, over 1100 letters were submitted by members of the public, including many of you. Thank you!!!
The never-ending story of the LPP federal approval process has gone on for over 12 years. If federal approval is granted, the fate of the LPP will fall to the State legislature, which will need to approve the cost and the method of financing. We will learn a lot about the federal and state governments’ stewardship of our water, our lands, and our money in the coming months.
The next important step will be when the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is released for public comment, targeted for spring. CSU will carefully follow the process as it unfolds and let you know when you can comment.
A final decision on an EIS would be made by the Department of Interior early in 2021.
In the meantime, we encourage you to express your concerns about the LPP in a Letter to the Editor, or to your state legislators, the County Commissioners and officials in your city jurisdiction. These officials will have an influence on the state’s decision to commit over a $1.8 billion (not counting interest payments) in funds for an economically and environmentally risky water project
We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.
- Add a water conservation alternative to the EIS studies.
- Evaluate the costs and yields of major conservation methods.
- Determine the high-probability long-term local water supply, including culinary, secondary, agriculture, reuse and water rights held by private landowners of Kane and Washington Counties.
- Determine a reasonable and exemplary water use rate in comparison to other water-wise communities in other states.
- Determine the probability that the LPP’s water right is highly secure for a permanent water project.
- Determine the high-probability long-term Colorado River flow for the LPP under a range of future climate conditions.
- Determine how the specific LPP costs will be paid back to the state, including the tax burden on residents.
- Provide the missing data on water rights that verifies that Reclamation has physical water to sell to UBWR in its water exchange contract for the LPP. In addition, provide the water rights data that verifies UBWR has water in the Green River tributaries to exchange with Reclamation for the LPP.
- A study on costs over the long term risk of the possible infestation of quagga mussels into our regional pipeline from the LPP that is connected to many cities water infrastructure. The health hazard of putting chemicals in the water at every pump station along the pipeline. The concern that filters do not work as there is a very early life stage of mussels that is microscopic and can pass through current filters. In addition, the risk of infestation the Virgin River system.
- Update the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) studies to include the findings and recommendations from the current Reclamation studies on climate change, the Utah state audit on water projections, and the recent Division of Water Sources reports. It has been a decade or more since some of FERC studies were completed. This affects their reliability and the credibility to be used in the EIS. If the FERC studies are to be used in this EIS verify all previously submitted comments have been property dispositioned and that the FERC Study reports have been updated appropriately.
- Details on each bullet point