Lawsuit challenges Utah’s new Green River water contract

Living Rivers: Trump administration failed to consider deals, climate change

Conservation groups sued the Trump administration March 21 to challenge the Interior Department’s decision allowing additional water to be taken from the Green River below Utah’s Flaming Gorge Dam. “The decision was made without a full accounting of reduced Colorado River basin flows or how the region’s persistent drought and climate change could harm endangered species and recreation,” said a press release from the environmental group Living Rivers.

BuRec finalizes Green River water exchange with Utah

The Bureau of Reclamation and State of Utah held a ceremony Wednesday, March 20 to sign the Green River Water Rights Exchange contract. Under the terms of the arrangement, the state agrees to forbear its right to deplete water from the Green River and its tributaries, enabling the bureau to meet Endangered Species Act flow requirements. In exchange, the State of Utah will receive an equal amount of water released from Flaming Gorge Dam. “The contract provides assistance in meeting flow and temperature requirements for the recovery of endangered fish, and allows Reclamation to continue operations in compliance with the 2006 Record of Decision,” said a press release from the bureau. Federal and state officials completed negotiations on the proposed agreement last year, and Reclamation recently completed a subsequent National Environmental Policy Act review, which resulted in a Finding of No Significant Impact. This agreement is specific to the Green River Block of the state’s previously assigned Central Utah Project Ultimate Phase water right. It is not related to the state’s proposed Lake Powell Pipeline project, the press release noted.

Huge shale oil project prompts lawsuit

Conservation groups claim 100 billion gallons of water will be drained from Green River

Several conservation groups on Tuesday, Feb. 26, issued a notice of intent to sue the Trump administration for approving rights-of-way for pipelines and power lines that pave the way for the nation’s first commercial oil shale development. The massive Enefit project in Utah’s Uintah Basin would drain billions of gallons of water from the Green River, threaten endangered species and generate enormous amounts of greenhouse gas pollution, said the groups in a joint statement.