Reclamation opens public comment on Lake Powell Pipeline Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement
For Release: June 08, 2020
Lake PowellPROVO, Utah - The Bureau of Reclamation, on behalf of the U.S. Department of the Interior, is seeking public comment on its environmental review of Utah’s proposed Lake Powell Pipeline project. The Department encourages robust public review and comment on its draft Environmental Impact Statement and draft Resource Management Plan Amendment for the project.
“The draft EIS and draft RMPA look at how the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline would affect 24 different aspects of the human and natural environment,” said Reclamation’s Project Manager, Rick Baxter. “We are grateful for the public input we received that helped us identify issues for analysis during the scoping period, and we encourage the public to provide comments on these draft documents.”
“A reliable water supply is essential to Utah’s rapidly growing population and economy,” said Utah Governor Gary Herbert. “We appreciate all those who have dedicated years to the Lake Powell Pipeline’s study and are pleased to see it reach this milestone. We encourage residents to read the draft Environmental Impact Statement and participate in the public comment process.”
The pipeline project, proposed by the Utah Board of Water Resources, would establish a second source of water for Washington County, Utah, through an approximately 140-mile-long water delivery pipeline from Lake Powell near Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Arizona, to Sand Hollow Reservoir near St. George, Utah. The State of Utah is developing the project to help meet future water demands and diversify and enhance the reliability of Washington County’s regional water supply portfolio.
The Department of the Interior designated Reclamation as the lead federal agency to coordinate the environmental compliance effort. Other cooperating agencies include the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased to be working with Reclamation, the State of Utah, and other federal, state and tribal partners to provide technical assistance in conservation of federally-listed species, including Colorado and Virgin River fishes, the southwestern willow flycatcher, and the Mojave desert tortoise, as Reclamation strives to meet the water needs of local communities,” said Noreen Walsh, Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “By working together, we can avoid and minimize the impacts to fish and wildlife as this project moves forward.”
Reclamation hosted public meetings in January 2020 in Kanab, St. George and Salt Lake City, Utah, to provide information about the project and solicit public comments to assist the agencies in understanding issues and concerns that should be included in the environmental review process. Substantive public comments were addressed and incorporated in the draft EIS.
“Working with the Bureau of Reclamation and other cooperating partners, the National Park Service has been providing information related to park resources that could be impacted by the proposed project, identifying ways that these impacts can be minimized, working to craft the best alternatives along with DOI partners, and by expeditiously reviewing draft documents to meet this project’s timelines,” said National Park Service Regional Director Michael Reynolds. “I look forward to our continued engagement on this complex and important project.”
The proposed action analyzed in the draft EIS includes construction, operation and maintenance of the pipeline and associated facilities, entering into a water exchange contract, and potentially amending the Bureau of Land Management’s Arizona Strip Field Office Resource Management Plan.
"The BLM is working closely with Reclamation and other cooperators to evaluate the Lake Powell Project," said BLM Utah Acting Deputy State Director for Lands and Minerals Christina Price. "Following completion of the environmental impact statement, the BLM will decide whether to issue rights-of-way on BLM-managed lands for the pipeline and supporting infrastructure, pursuant to related laws, regulations, and relevant resource management plans."
Reclamation will host two virtual, online public meetings on the evenings of July 8 and 9, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. MDT. The decision to hold virtual rather than in-person meetings was based on continuing public health concerns and a desire to facilitate maximum public participation without the need to limit attendees. Details regarding those meetings, including web login, conference line and registration information will be published on or before July 1. Anybody interested in the project may be added to the notification list by submitting their contact information and email address using any of the methods below.
Comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time on Sept. 8, 2020 through one of the methods below.
Standard Mail: Lake Powell Pipeline Project Bureau of Reclamation, Provo Area Office 302 East Lakeview Parkway Provo, Utah 84606
The Federal Register Notice regarding this proposed action is available for download at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/06/08/2020-12382/notice-of-availability-of-the-lake-powell-pipeline-project-draft-environmental-impact-statementdraft.
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The Bureau of Reclamation is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior and is the nation's largest wholesale water supplier and second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Our facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation opportunities, and environmental benefits. Visit our website at https://www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR; Facebook @bureau.of.reclamation; LinkedIn @Bureau of Reclamation; Instagram @bureau_of_reclamation; and YouTube @reclamation.