"Green With Envy" Roadshow is about the conservation of the Green River
March 30, 2012
Walt Gasson’s family has lived on the banks of the Green River in Southwestern Wyoming for four generations.
He loves the area, the environment and the wildlife. He loves fishing on the Green and loves the recreation opportunities offered at Flaming Gorge Reservoir.
That’s why Gasson is coming to Park City with the "Green With Envy" Roadshow on Thursday, April 5, at the Hotel Park City.
Gasson, who is the director of Trout Unlimited’s endorsed business division that works with people and businesses involved in fishing outfitters, said the roadshow, which features a short film about the Green River, is a way to educate the public about the Million Pipeline project proposed by Wyco Power and Water, which is owned by Aaron Million,
"The proposal is to take 250,000 acre-feet of water a year from the Green River from two places – at the Flaming Gorge Reservoir and from just above the reservoir – and pipe it 560 miles to the Front Range of Colorado," Gasson said during an interview with The Park Record. "That’s about 81½-billion gallons of water a year. And we think that’s just a bad idea, because it will be devastating to a variety of wildlife species, fisheries and to the economy of Southwestern Wyoming and Northeastern Utah."
The water would service Colorado’s Front Range, which runs north from Pueblo to Fort Collins, Gasson said.
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"The Front Range has been growing uncontrollably for more than a decade, and water is an issue," he explained. "More than 85 percent of the population of Colorado lives on the east side of the Rocky Mountains and 80 percent of the water is on the west side of the mountains."
The cost just to build the pipeline is $7 billion and more than $100 annually to run.
"It’s a huge project that has no investors, and because of that, there are no municipalities signed up to construct it, but Wyco Power and Water just reapplied to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for a permit to go ahead with it," Gasson said.
One of the things that will probably happen if the pipeline is constructed is the level of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir will drop.
"They will also have to reduce the flows coming out of the reservoir," Gasson said. "Either way, it will damage a world-class fishery, a world-class river and affect the lives and economic well-being of a lot of people who rely on the tourism that comes through the area annually."
Two of the counties that will be most affected are Daggett County in Utah and Sweetwater County in Colorado.
"Together, those counties have a $118 million sustainable economy, that includes ranches, farms and fisheries, based on recreation," Gasson explained. "That recreation is based around Flaming Gorge and the Green. This proposal would devastate the people who live there."
Gasson, who worked for Wyoming Game and Fish department for 31 years and has been involved in wildlife conservation for nearly 40 years, said the pipeline is the worst project he has ever seen.
"We want to provide some information to people who care about the Green River and other rivers, fish and wildlife and wild things and wild places," Gasson said. "Park City is a great place to do that, because there are a lot of people who care about these issues, and we would be remiss in our responsibilities if we didn’t come to Park City."
The "Green With Envy" Roadshow will provide information about water conservation or other alternatives for areas such as the Front Range, Gasson said.
"Very little has been discussed when it comes to the notion of water conservation or the expansion of existing water sources, but we see this as very logical alternatives to building that expensive pipeline," he said.
The evening will feature a 10- to 15-minute introduction by Gasson and a screening of the "Green With Envy" film.
"It’s a Trout Unlimited production made by Tight Line Media from Idaho Falls, Idaho," Gasson said. "It’s a fabulous film and a great wake-up call to those who love the Green. If you love the Green and other wild rivers in Northeastern Utah and Southwestern Wyoming, you have to see the film."
After the screening, refreshments will be provided.
"We’ll be able to talk informally about the proposal with each other," Gasson said.
Also, during the evening, Trout Unlimited will pass around a petition.
"Our goal is to get 20,000 folks and 5,000 businesses to sign," he said. "When they do, they will be automatically eligible for an opportunity drawing for free guided tours on the Green River."
The "Green with Envy" Roadshow, will stop in Park City on Thursday, April 5, at 7 p.m. at Hotel Park City, 2001 Park Ave., Admission is free. For more information, visit ourdamwater.org/green-with-envy-roadshow/