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PRESS RELEASE: Groups Eye Lawsuit To Overturn Permit For Tallest Dam In The History Of Colorado

For Immediate Release
July 8, 2017
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310

Groups Eye Lawsuit To Overturn Permit For Denver Water’s Proposed Tallest Dam In The History Of Colorado

Boulder County, CO: On Thursday, July 6, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave a permit for Denver Water’s proposed massive Gross Dam expansion in Boulder County which would further drain and deplete the Colorado River of nearly five billion gallons of water every year (15,000 acre feet).

The proposed dam would be the tallest in the history of Colorado, at 471 feet, and be the biggest construction project in Boulder County history. Regional environmental groups as well as hundreds of homeowners in the area of the proposed dam strongly oppose the project (which is formally called the “Moffat Collection System Project”) and are eyeing a lawsuit to overturn the Army Corps’ decision.

The groups claim that the Corps’ decision violates the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act because:

  1. Denver Water doesn’t need more water. In fact, Denver’s water use has gone down, not up (see graphic below) and is predicted to continue declining.
  2. The Colorado River and the streams in Grand County that feed it are already severely depleted and predicted to be further dried and drained due to climate change.
  3. The Corps’ decision completely failed to analyze any less environmentally damaging alternative that didn’t propose to expand the dam and further drain the river, including focusing more on water conservation.
  4. The construction project would have massive negative impacts in Boulder County including creating tens of thousands of semi-truck trips on the curvy mountain roads leading up to the dam, blowing up and pulverizing a nearby mountain for cement, clear-cutting 200,000 trees, horrendous noise echoing over the mountain valley, and many others for at least five years.

“We believe the Army Corps has violated the law,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Colorado who is leading a coalition of groups to fight the project. “Denver Water doesn’t need the water, the Colorado River is already severely drained and depleted, and the people of Boulder County don’t want the project. The courts need take a hard look at this decision.”

The Army Corps’ decision was made in the Omaha office which is the same office that recently made the permit decision for Standing Rock, a decision which was overturned by a federal court on June 14, 2017 because it also violated the National Environmental Policy Act.

“Every American river deserves its day in court and the Colorado River deserves the best legal defense we can give it,” continued Wockner

[Graphic about Denver Water’s water use below]

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