Letter: Public meeting in Boulder revealed flaws of Moffat-Gross FEIS
Ryan Summerlin July 1, 2014
To the Editor:
An Open Letter to the Boulder County Commissioners RE: Moffat-Gross FEIS.
Thank you for your public hearing June 16, 2014. It was great to hear Front Range citizens share concerns for the disastrous Moffat-Gross Final EIS. The three-hour meeting was standing-room only, with 23 speakers against the Denver Water proposal and only one (Denver Water’s David Little) cautiously pro Moffat.
We heard strong consensus that the Final EIS is just as bad as the Draft and that fatal flaws in Denver’s PACSM hydrologic model, upon which all findings are based, puts the entire project into question including all related agreements. Ecological assumptions are skewed, the NEPA process and mitigations are not legally defensible and, quite plainly, Denver Water is not a trustworthy project partner.
Many voiced concerns for Gross Reservoir expansion, which would be the biggest construction project in Boulder County history and located in an area zoned for no industrial operations per your County Master Plan. We heard about narrow winding road access virtually impossible for large trucks, and impacts upon small mountain communities for what may be 5-10 years of construction. We can only imagine similar impacts here in Grand County if Northern decided to drain Lake Granby for five years and raise the dam 135 feet using a road equivalent to Cottonwood Pass.
Deeply troubling were reports of collusion between Denver Water and their FEIS contractor URS. The Corps should have chosen a neutral third party contractor emphasizing good science and transparent public involvement to prepare the EIS. Instead the Corps let Denver choose their own engineering contractor to prepare the dam-friendly EIS. Too bad URS knows nothing about conservation, which could have given Denver Water more water security at a fraction of the cost while leaving our meager West Slope stream flows alone.
On a positive note, I was deeply moved to hear sincere concern for our Fraser River watershed. Over and over we heard people demand Denver stop at, if not roll back, the present 70-80 percent trans-mountain diversions (USGS Data, not skewed FEIS data) and that no way should Denver be allowed to use the shoddy FEIS to support taking up to 90 percent of stream flows during our irrigation season.
Thank you for taking a regional perspective on Denver Water’s trans-mountain Moffat-Gross boondoggle. You are taking time to do the math, read details, and listening to your constituents. It’s refreshing.