The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it terminated its review of an ambitious Front Range water pipeline project before the Colorado businessman behind the plan could do so himself.
Aaron Million had said Friday he was asking federal energy regulators, rather than the Corps of Engineers, to review his proposal to divert water from Wyoming’s Flaming Gorge Reservoir to southeast Wyoming and Colorado.
Million said he wanted the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to review his proposal instead because it involves hydropower — and not simply water delivery, which the Army Corps had been studying.
Million said the energy commission should be able to piggyback on what the Army Corps has already done.
But the Army Corps canceled the $3 million review itself on Thursday after Million changed the project’s purpose, Rena Brand, the Army Corps’ official overseeing the review, told The Fort Collins Coloradoan.
The Corps spent two years on the Million-financed environmental impact study of the 550-mile pipeline, which would take about 250,000 acre-feet of water annually from the Green River at Flaming Gorge Reservoir, pump it over the Continental Divide and deliver it via Fort Collins to Colorado’s Front Range.
An acre-foot of water can serve two households annually.
Million said he believed having the pipeline reviewed by FERC would reduce the permitting time from more than seven years to about two and a half years. The project now calls for producing more than 1,000 megawatts of electricity as it delivers water from Laramie, Wyo., to Fort Collins.
Million had asked the Army Corps in April to suspend the environmental review for 60 days to give him time to decide the project’s future. Brand said Million did not respond “in an appropriate manner” by his July 5 deadline.
“We had a phone call from one of his team members the day before the deadline asking for more time,” Brand said.
Without a response, Brand said, the Army Corps told Million on Thursday it had terminated the study because the project’s purpose is “uncertain.”