In April of 1984, Plan 6 was approved with contracts for further studies on the Cliff Dam component. One year after approval, another lawsuit was filed in US District Court against the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation to halt construction of the Regulatory Storage Division of the CAP.
On September 19, 1985, several environmental groups, called the Environmental Coalition to Stop Cliff Dam, filed suit in US District Court against the Department of the Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation. The Coalition wanted to halt construction of the Regulatory Storage Division of the CAP because they believed that Cliff Dam would jeopardize endangered bald eagles nesting at the proposed site.
The plaintiffs' suit charged that Reclamation had issued the final EIS for the Regulatory Storage Division of CAP without first circulating a draft EIS that contained an adequate description of alternatives to Cliff Dam, Plan 6, and proposed plans for mitigating adverse environmental impacts. This violated Reclamation's obligation under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Additionally, the plaintiffs viewed Cliff Dam as the most environmentally destructive and controversial component of the proposed project and refuted governmental reports which suggested otherwise.
The suit against Plan 6 continued for two years until June of 1987, when an Arizona Congressional Delegation and the Environmental Coalition reached an agreement to eliminate Cliff Dam from Plan 6. The provisions of the agreement authorized the Secretary of the Interior to study alternatives to replace the flood control, water supply, and safety of dams benefits which Cliff Dam would have provided.
Despite the suit against Plan 6 and Cliff Dam, work began on other features of the Regulatory Storage Division. New Waddell Dam construction began in 1985, with excavation of the dam's foundation. And modifications to Roosevelt Dam were completed in 1996, raising the crest 77 feet to increase storage, providing the additional water conservation space that Orme Dam would have provided.
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