Hello TEG Friends and Supporters!
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has released a Supplemental Environmental Assessment to respond to the Pubic Comments entered last year regarding Denver Water’s application to increase the size of Gross Dam. Public Comments on this new document are being accepted until April 9th. We need to flood the government with comments from individuals. The process for submitting comments is below, along with a summary of our comments for your reference.
To submit your comments by April 9th, follow this process:
- Commentators can submit brief comments up to 6,000 characters without prior registration by using the eComment system at https://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ecomment.asp. Directions for filing out the form can be found at https://www.ferc.gov/resources/guides/how-to/ecomment.asp. Use Docket number P-2035-099 when you submit your comments.
- Please also send a copy of any comments you make to the Boulder County Commissioners. It is always good to keep them informed of any actions county constituents take. Note that you should use Internet Explorer to submit comments to the county or their application doesn’t work right.
You can access pertinent documents here:
Here are some summary comments from our document for you to use in preparing your input:
The Denver Water plan for the Moffat Expansion, aka Gross Dam Project (GDP), is not compliant with the Clean Water Act (CWA) or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which require the project implement the Least Environmentally Damaging Practicable Alternative (LEDPA).
- All comments should start with “We believe FERC should choose the No-Action Alternative as the LEDPA compliant solution to meet the purpose of this project.”
- FERC asserts in their Supplemental Environmental Analysis (EA) that a supplemental Environmental Impact Study (EIS) is not needed. The scope of the changes identified in the Supplementary EA, along with the incomplete plans referenced in the document, make it impossible to adequately assess the environmental impact of the project. Therefore, a supplemental EIS is necessary and should be required by FERC.
- Changes described in the Supplemental EA include:
- Relocation of (or addition of) a new quarry site (Osprey Point)
- Addition of a quarry conveyor from Osprey Point to the dam construction site
- Addition of “temporary spoil areas” and “temporary staging areas”
- Potential elimination of auxiliary spillway and replacement with a saddle dam
- Different approaches for tree removal from those described in original EIS
- Changes in project operation (including ramping rates)
- Modifications to recreation facilities
- Modifications to the project boundary
- Effects of DW’s proposed environmental mitigation measures
- Effects of DWs compliance with statutory requirements
- Incomplete plans (“to be developed”) referenced in the Supplemental EA include:
- Fugitive Dust Control Plan
- Stormwater Management Plan
- Erosion Control and Reclamation Plans
- Quarry Operation and Reclamation Plans
- Tree Removal Plan
- Recreational Plan
- Areas / Issues that are inadequately addressed or addressed with very questionable studies include:
- Dam Safety: dismissed as not an issue. Remember 2013?
- Noise Pollution: Sound Survey is deeply flawed
- Roller-compacted Concrete Construction: new plan not completely described or analyzed
- Effects on Wildlife, Air Pollution, Recreation are all assumed to be no differently impacted from the original plan despite major changes in Denver Water’s approach to building the dam.
In summary, FERC has assessed these changes as “No Impact” and has refused to require a new EIS, citing that the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) does not want to re-open the EIS process. There is consensus from experts that the “Final EIS” as filed with the Corps application for construction is flawed and incomplete, but it has been used as the basis for the Corps to issue their Record of Decision (ROD) to issue the 404-dam construction permit. Now it is again being used to prevent further environmental impact studies from being conducted for this project. We do not agree with FERC’s assessment that the Supplemental EA is sufficient and demand that another EIS be conducted.