Dec. 30, 2019
For Immediate Release
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310
Colorado River District GM Proposes Raising Electric Rates Across Southwest U.S. To Try And Save Glen Canyon Dam
“Trying to save Glen Canyon Dam is climate denial.” — Gary Wockner
Colorado River: Today, Aspen Journalism reported that the General Manager of the Colorado River District proposed to raise electric rates across the Southwest U.S. to try and save Glen Canyon Dam (the story is posted here). A “surcharge” would be placed on all electric users in the “Western Area Power Administration” (map here), including the entire Southwest U.S. and Southern California.
The money raised by the “surcharge” on electricity users would be used to temporarily lease water from farmers in Colorado, and then run that water down to Lake Powell to try and save the hydroelectric function at Glen Canyon Dam. A total of 500,000 acre feet of water is proposed to be leased once, at a cost of $80 million/year.
“Trying to save Glen Canyon Dam is climate denial,” said Gary Wockner, Director of Save The Colorado. “500,000 acre feet only buys enough water to save the dam for 22 days — has any scientist ever said climate change would only last 22 days?”
In fact, Glen Canyon Dam is currently required to release an average of 8.23 million acre feet of water/year, which is 22,548 acre feet per day. This release of water complies with the “Law of the River” requirement to send water to the lower basin states of California, Nevada, and Arizona. Five hundred thousand acre feet of water would only last 22 days at that rate of release of water out of the dam. (Do the math: 8,230,000af/365days = 22,548af/day. 500,000af/22,548af/day = 22.17days)
“Climate change is serious and permanent,” said Wockner. “They’re proposing a solution that would last 22 days.”
“Further,” said Wockner, “Charging electric ratepayers — the public — to pay for the damage caused by climate change is an extreme violation of climate justice. The fossil fuel corporations are causing climate change and they are the wealthiest industry in the history of humanity.”
Save The Colorado is leading the fight to force water managers in the Colorado River basin to take climate science seriously. In October of 2019, Save The Colorado and other co-plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Dept of Interior because the Dept. failed to use climate science when it gave Glen Canyon Dam a new 20-year operating permit (see press release here).