2/14/2024 For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The World's Rivers, 970-218-8310 Battle Escalates in…
Hello Friends of the Colorado River!
We’re 3 months into Donald Trump’s presidency, and the attacks on the rivers of the American West are escalating.
We are taking action to stop these attacks, and we need your help to do that!
Please click here to donate to help us stop new dams and protect the Colorado River and its tributaries.
Here’s what’s going on, and what we’re doing about it:
ONE: In the next few months, we expect the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue their “Records of Decision” for the two proposed new dam projects in Colorado – the Moffat Project and the Windy Gap Project. Combined they would drain and divert another ~15 billion gallons of water out of the Upper Colorado River every year and pipe it over to the sprawling Denver megalopolis in Colorado. The projects are unnecessary and would further destroy the ecology and environment of the Colorado River. Our team of lawyers and scientists will pore over the Decisions, and we are poised to take action in court to stop the projects.
TWO: A few weeks ago, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would partially gut the federal laws that require strong permitting processes for new dams. The bill – sponsored by Members of Congress from California and Colorado – would dramatically shorten the timeframe needed for scientific analysis of dams and their impacts on rivers. The bill would also turn many permitting processes over to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, instead of other federal agencies, and the Bureau is not very friendly to our river-protection concerns. We are fighting this bill in the court of public opinion and the media, and we will reach out to Congress at the appropriate time.
THREE: Several more dam proposals are either in the permitting process, or being considered, around the Colorado River watershed in the
Southwest U.S. including:
- The Lake Powell Pipeline in Utah.
- The Fontenelle Dam Re-engineering in Wyoming.
- A proposed dam on the White River in Western Colorado.
- Two proposed dams on creeks near Aspen, Colorado.
- The Gila River Diversion in New Mexico.
- The Green River Nuclear Powerplant diversion in Utah.
- A “10 dams in 10 years” proposal in Wyoming.
We are keeping close track of all of these projects. We are reaching out to the public, media, and decision-makers urging them to change course and focus on alternatives that don’t further drain rivers. We are prepared to fight every project in court.
FOUR: I’m sure you’ve been reading about how Donald Trump is gutting federal regulations to deal with the study and impacts of climate change. The Colorado River is probably one of the top five areas of the U.S. that are already feeling the impacts of climate change – drought has hammered the West, and river flows, on average, are 15% lower than they were 20 years ago. Further, all of the climate change scientists in the Colorado River basin are predicting even more heat and drought, including “MEGADROUGHT” if climate change is not averted. We are fighting against Trump’s radical earth-scorching agenda in our outreach to the media, the public, and potentially in court.
FINALLY: The Grand Canyon has been severely degraded by the massive dam that is plugging its entrance at Glen Canyon. The operations of Glen Canyon Dam have caused irreversible damage to the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon’s ecology, fish, and habitat. We may have a historic opportunity to create a new plan that protects and restores the Colorado River, Grand Canyon, and Glen Canyon. We are closely analyzing the recent Dept. of Interior decision about how Glen Canyon Dam is managed. We know the decision did not take climate change seriously and it did not consider alternatives including dam decommissioning and removal. We are looking at legal options to further protect and restore the Grand Canyon to create a free-flowing river through the amazing national parks and wilderness areas of Utah and Arizona.
Through all of this we depend on your support to make it happen. We get a portion of our funding from companies and foundations, but it is support from individual people like you that makes a big difference on our ability to fight these new dam and diversion projects. Further, we are a small, grassroots, aggressive organization, and it is support from individual people that really tells our story and the story of the Colorado River.
The next year is going to be a pivotal moment in the future of dams in the Colorado River system – we are working hard to stop new dams and remove old ones wherever possible.
THANK YOU for your support!
Gary Wockner, PhD, Executive Director, Save The Colorado