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Save The Colorado River Coronavirus Update: We are still working hard!

Hi Amazing Friends of the Colorado River!

We know that many of you may be struggling with various aspects of this global coronavirus pandemic, and we want to assure you that we are still working hard to protect the Colorado River.

If there’s two things this pandemic may teach us it’s that 1) nature plays a bigger role in our lives than we often realize, and 2) protecting healthy ecosystems also protects human lives and livelihoods. Our job is to work hard to protect wild nature and keep the Colorado River flowing. To that end:

First, I had a column syndicated in Writers on the Range that appeared in dozens of newspapers around the West, titled, “The Dam Truth About The Colorado River”. The piece argues that water managers are failing to protect the ecological health of the river, failing to take climate science seriously, and ignoring 24 proposals for new dams and diversions on the river.

You can read it in the Salt Lake Tribune by clicking here.

As water managers convene in 2020 and 2021 to renegotiate how the river is managed, they are going to have to make much harder decisions than they’ve ever made in the past. Further, new proposals to dam and drain the river are simply insane and that’s why we are fighting those proposals tooth and nail throughout the Colorado River basin.

Second, just yesterday we dug in our heels against yet another proposed water project along the Colorado River. This one is called the “Navajo Pumped Storage Hydropower Project” on Lake Powell in Arizona. The Project proposes to build a $3.6 billion hydropower station above Lake Powell that pumps water up from the Lake and then runs it back down into the Lake through hydropower turbines to generate electricity. The massively expensive Project would rely on the future stability of Lake Powell and the Colorado River at the exact time that climate scientists predict that the Colorado River’s flows will continue to decrease, and the exact time that water managers struggle to implement a highly speculative and expensive “drought contingency plan” to stabilize Lake Powell.

We motioned to intervene in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) permitting process, and we sent out a press release (see it here) titled, “Colorado River Groups Call ‘Climate Denial’ On Pumped Hydro Project“. We are joined in this intervention by our colleagues at Wildearth Guardians, a west-wide conservation group that shares our passion for stopping proposed water projects and protecting the river.

I told the media, “We believe in climate change and climate science. FERC should deny this application because Lake Powell is doomed – it’s nonsensical to build a $3.6 billion straw into the Lake that will likely end up sucking air.”

Third and finally, we continue to work hard to stop the proposed expansion of Gross Dam in Boulder County, Colorado. Denver Water, the applicant, lost its court case against Boulder County, but now Denver Water has appealed its case to the Colorado State Court of Appeals. Save The Colorado is an intervenor in this court case and will continue to engage in the legal battle to force Denver Water to follow the law, and continue to make the argument that the Colorado River-destroying Gross Dam expansion should be stopped, once and for all.

See the story in the Boulder Daily Camera here, where I said, “Denver Water continues its antics as an aggressive, bully agency trying to ram this massive dam down the throats of Boulder County citizens. We will continue to defend Boulder County against this river-destroying project and fight Denver Water as long as it takes.”

It is YOUR support over the last year that keeps us working hard. Rest assured while your family grapples with the health and economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, we will remain on the job protecting the Colorado River.

Stay well and healthy,

Gary Wockner
Director, Save The Colorado.

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