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US Army Corps extends pipeline comment deadline

US Army Corps extends pipeline comment deadline



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GREEN RIVER, Wyo. (AP) -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has extended the deadline for commenting on a proposed pipeline that would carry water from southwestern Wyoming to the Front Range in Colorado.

Colorado entrepreneur Aaron Million proposes to build the $3 billion pipeline to carry water more than 500 miles, from the Green River in Wyoming as far south as Pueblo, Colo.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is preparing an environmental study of the project. The agency is seeking public comments on what issues the study should address.

Rena Brand, pipeline project manager for the corps in Littleton, Colo., announced Tuesday that comments are due Sept. 28. The agency had earlier set the deadline for comments for late July.

Brand said extending the comment period will give her agency more time to respond to more than 40 requests from agencies and organizations that have asked to serve as cooperating agencies on the study. Among those making such requests are the town of Green River and Sweetwater County.

"The corps intends to communicate with some entities on consolidating participation by appointing a single point of contact to represent multiple entities," Brand said.

Million has applied for a corps permit to divert water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Sweetwater County. The pipeline could deliver about 250,000 acre feet of water each year.

Although the water would be pumped out of the river in Wyoming, it would come from Colorado's share of water under the Colorado River compacts. The compacts are long-standing agreements among western states on the division of water.

Million, of Fort Collins, Colo., has said he has lined up customers for the water in both Colorado and Wyoming, including municipalities and agricultural users. However, he has declined to name them.

The corps announced last month that Million will have to release the identities and locations of the entities that would use water from the project within six months.

There has been strong local opposition to the pipeline proposal in southeastern Wyoming. Many critics say the project could hurt local businesses as well as fish and wildlife.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has said the analysis needs to address the project's likely effect on several wildlife species. Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal has come out against the project.

Million has said the project is necessary to help meet the water shortfall facing the Front Range. He has said that if the environmental review finds the project would hurt the river or communities along the pipeline, that he would cancel his plans.

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Information from: Casper Star-Tribune - Casper

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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