The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today issued a preliminary permit for a pumped hydropower storage project that would use Lake Powell Reservoir and a newly constructed hydropower station above the dam to pump and release water to generate electricity along the Utah-Arizona state line. The proposal by Navajo Energy Storage Station, LLC would cost $3.6 billion and anticipates using the transmission lines and other infrastructure from the now shuttered Navajo Generating Station coal-fired power plant to distribute the power.
“It’s deeply disappointing that FERC did not take advantage of this opportunity to acknowledge the severe impacts of climate change on the Colorado River and scrutinize the feasibility of this project,” said Samantha Ruscavage-Barz, Legal Director at WildEarth Guardians. “Basic climate science reveals that Lake Powell is not a reliable water source for this ill-conceived project.”
Notice of the application was first published in the Federal Register in January, 2020. WildEarth Guardians and Save the Colorado jointly intervened in the preliminary permit process. The groups highlighted their concerns over the feasibility of the project given the already acute crisis of increasing demands and dwindling supply on the Colorado River and the downward spiral of the river flows due to climate change.
This is another example of how federal agencies continue to exhibit climate denial that threatens the sustainability of the Colorado River Basin. Save the Colorado will continue our fight to stop this project from coming to fruition.
Other parties that participated in or intervened in the preliminary permit process included the U.S. […]