This Thanksgiving - be thankful that Gross Reservoir expansion can still be stopped!
Nov 28, 2019
By Beverly Kurtz
On November 22, the Daily Camera published an article about Gross Reservoir entitled "Denver Water exec optimistic expansion will begin by 2021." Today, Nov 28, 2019, the following was published as a Letter to the Editor:
The Gross Reservoir expansion project is far from certain. Denver Water’s assertion that the project will go forward simply flies in the face of facts. Locally, Denver Water has arrogantly sued Boulder County, claiming they are exempt from the state 1041 permitting process, which allows local governments to “identify, designate, and regulate areas and activities of state interest” to control local development projects. The 1041 process was established exactly to address this type of project. We expect that Boulder will win this lawsuit and this environmentally destructive project will absolutely be subjected to a rigorous local review.
On the federal level, a coalition of organizations is suing the Army Corps of Engineers for issuing a permit for the project — the EIS application for the permit was woefully inadequate, using data from 2002 that predates concerns about climate change.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has not issued their permit for the project — and Denver Water submitted their final application for that three years ago this month. Project total capital construction costs continue to climb. Estimates in 2017 range as high as $537 million, not the $460 million cited by Denver Water.
As this fight drags on, the stark realities of climate change and ongoing aridification completely change the plausibility of this proposed expansion. The Colorado River Risk Study states that the Front Range could lose up to 97% of its Colorado River water in the next 25 years, as more water must be sent downstream. Denver Water is putting the whole Colorado River Compact at risk by planning to divert more water from the Western Slopes to an expanded Gross Reservoir. This makes no sense.
Conserve, reuse and recycle — that is the sustainable plan moving forward. Gross Reservoir expansion is not a done deal.
TEG is grateful on the Thanksgiving Day for the many individuals and organizations that are fighting with us to stop this environmentally devastating project. THANK YOU!