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For Immediate Release
October 12, 2018
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Colorado, 970-218-8310
Colorado River ‘Schizophrenia’ Escalates As Fontenelle Dam Bill Awaits Trump’s Signature
Colorado River, USA: Less than 48 hours after the federal government announced a plan to address the looming drought and inevitable shortage of water in the Colorado River basin, a bill has moved to President Trump’s desk to further drain the Colorado River of “100,000 – 200,000 acre feet” of water every year by expanding the Fontenelle Dam/Reservoir in Wyoming. The Fontenelle Dam provision is in “America’s Water Infrastructure Act” which yesterday passed the U.S. Senate by a vote of 99-1.
Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming got the Fontenelle Dam provision inserted into the bill and bragged in a press release about how “it could allow from 100,000 to 200,000 acre-feet of usable storage in the water-short Colorado River Basin…” (see Gillette News Record story here). Save The Colorado has repeatedly noted in past posts and media outreach (see here) that Wyoming is proposing to drain a new 80,000 – 150,000 acre feet of water out of the Green River at Fontenelle Dam, a tributary to the Colorado River. Wyoming has said the water would be used for agriculture and fracking to create an energy “Industrialist’s Dream” as reported by Wyofile (see post here).
“It’s really hard to believe a word the federal government or the state’s say about their plans to protect water supplies and river health in the Colorado River basin,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Colorado. “On Tuesday, they say they are planning to cut back on water use, but on Thursday Congress authorizes the biggest new proposed diversion of water in the entire basin.”
The language in the bill still requires that the Fontenelle Dam project goes through a federal permitting process to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. Save The Colorado’s policy is “No New Dams and Diversions”, and has vowed to fight the project through the permitting process.
“Further damming and draining the Colorado River and its tributaries is insanity,” said Wockner. “We have our eyes on every proposed new project, and we will do what we can to keep the river flowing downstream.”
A list of all of the proposed new dams and diversions is on Save The Colorado’s website here.