Six environmental groups sent a letter Monday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asking for a scoping meeting to talk about the proposed Lake Powell pipeline project.
"There is interest in this project statewide as drought and water issues are statewide concerns and, after all, all Utah taxpayers will participate (and already have participated) in the financing of the project if it goes forward," said the letter signed by members of Citizens For Dixie's Future, Sierra Club, Great Basin Water Network, Utah Rivers Council, Citizens Education Project and Southern Utah Wilderness Association.
FERC is involved in a four-year licensing, permitting and environmental clearance process for a project that calls for a 139-mile pipeline between Lake Powell and the Sand Hollow Reservoir near St. George. Water from the lake would travel another 30 miles to the Cedar City area to meet water needs there.
"The impacts are statewide as the lake water to be diverted into the pipeline is the state's allocation of the Colorado River water, not Washington or Kane or Iron counties' allocation of the river," the letter states. "Energy required to pump water from the lake to its destinations will be energy from the grid diverted from other purposes, not energy generated exclusively within the corridor counties or by the project itself."
Already the state has spent about $3.3 million with the firm MWH just for the engineering work on the project. Cost estimates for the entire project range from $500 million to as high as $2 billion, according to some who are opposed to the pipeline. A completed pipeline isn't expected until about 2020.