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Colorado River Update: President Jimmy Carter Calls Colorado Governor Dick Lamm A ‘River Destroyer’?

Hi Friends of the Colorado River,

Last week, the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) published a podcast featuring former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm. In the podcast, Governor Lamm told a story about how President Jimmy Carter faulted Lamm for supporting new dams in Colorado during Lamm’s governorship. Lamm said, “Jimmy Carter killed a bunch of water projects in Colorado, an issue he was right on”. Lamm went on to say that Carter disliked Lamm because Lamm played politics supporting the dams instead of being true to his environmental convictions. Carter was right, Lamm was wrong, Lamm says, but Lamm states “No Colorado Governor could ever oppose a water project”. You can listen to the Lamm podcast by clicking here to Save The Colorado’s twitter page.

Save The Colorado was recently delighted to endorse the petition supporting a “Steady State Economy” on CASSE’s website. All of the environmental problems facing the Colorado River basin — including the proposals for a large number of new dams — are directly caused by, or made much worse by, economic and population growth. The Steady State Economy calls for the stabilization of both so that our economy and environment can be sustainable.

Also last week, the State of Colorado actually fought FOR Save The Colorado rather than AGAINST us. The State is opposing a large new dam project on the White River in Rio Blanco County. The State argues — as we have — that the Rio Blanco Water Conservancy District does not have any “purpose and need” for the water out of the White River. Aspen Journalism reports on the story here. The State is forcing the Water District through water court, a process that may likely kill the proposed dam project. One version of the project would build a dam 110-feet tall and 3,800 feet long to further drain the White River. The District claims it needs the water for farming and other needs, but the State Water Engineer says, “The engineers continue to contend there is no evidence to suggest that there is a future water need for this purpose.”

This ridiculous project is one of the dam projects supported by the Colorado River District which is trying to raise property taxes across Western Colorado in part to help fund this dam. Save The Colorado has taken a strong stance against the proposed dam, as well as the proposed property tax (see our press release here). The tax increase is a question on the November ballot for voters living inside the Colorado River District.

Finally, also last week, the fight is on in Boulder County, Colorado, over the Gross Dam expansion! Denver Water has applied for a “1041 permit” to build the tallest dam in the history of Colorado, and the biggest construction project in the history of Boulder County, to further drain the Colorado River. Working with local groups and citizens, Save The Colorado has dug in its heels against this project for the last 10 years — we have already sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stop the project, and we are also committed to fighting in the Boulder County permit process as hard and as long as it takes.

The Gross Dam expansion would further drain 3.5 billion gallons of water per year out of small streams in Grand County that feed the Fraser and Colorado Rivers downstream. Some of those streams would be drained bone dry, and others contain Green Lineage Cutthroat Trout — an endangered species — that would be further imperiled by the new diversion. Our attorneys and scientists have already dug into the County 1041 permit process, and we are facing a hard fight that could go on for months.

Our work is solely made possible by YOUR SUPPORT! Thank you for your support, and please consider donating to Save The Colorado by clicking through to our website here. Any amount of money makes a difference — large or small. Save The Colorado is a lean, mean, river-saving machine!

Stay tuned for more updates!

Gary Wockner, Director, Save The Colorado


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