President George Bush said Friday that "no final decision" has been made by the administration on a construction permit for the $500 million Two Forks dam in Colorado.
Bush met Friday morning at the White House with Sen. William Armstrong, R-Colo., who is trying to persuade the administration to allow the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to grant the Denver Water Board a permit to build the 550-foot dam on the South Platte River.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William Reilly, who announced a week ago that the EPA will begin a new review of the dam, also attended the meeting.
Bush told reporters at a luncheon later in the day that despite Armstrong's pleadings the decision remains in Reilly's hands. "It's a matter that is decided by the (EPA) administrator," Bush said.
"I've heard from Bill Armstrong a very strong presentation representing the need to go forward with the dam," Bush said. "I was given a lot more detail on it than I had had before, but there's no final decision on that."
Reilly's decision was hailed as a major victory by environmentalists, who had pictured construction of the dam as an early test of the Bush administration's commitment to environmental protection.
The decision angered Denver and suburban water providers who have been counting on the dam to provide water for metropolitian growth into the next century.