As you know we are working on an all-out effort to stop a water grab that jeopardizes our victory against SNWA and imperils the future of Utah’s West Desert. The Heart of the Great Basin would go rotten if the Central Iron County Water District gets its pipeline to fuel green lawns, water waste and sprawl growth in Cedar City. Springs will go dry. Dust will fly. Aquifers will sink. And living things will shrink? All for what? We’re not going to slow down anytime soon. But we want to make sure that you’re keeping up with all that we’re doing. Here are a few updates.
Utah Legislative Victory
Legislative sessions are not easy places to defend desert water. However, tireless work pays off. The Utah legislative session ended on Friday. We entered the session knowing our foes would be making multi-million dollar requests to help further their dangerous water exportation scheme. The odds didn’t look good in late January. But, thanks to a collaboration of communities and advocates, we squelched the efforts by CICWCD to get millions of dollars for their pipeline. GBWN’s Steve Erickson, as always, masterfully worked in unison with a cohort of counties, NGOs and concerned citizens. Our allies in Beaver County worked their tails off.
The legislative grind is not easy. Accountability doesn’t come without stress and sweat. Good governance is earned.
Three years ago, the Utah Legislature appropriated government funds for the project –– providing a stimulus to CICWCD to get its project moving faster. The denial of funds this year sends a key signal from state lawmakers that the project is not widely supported like it once was. Those undertones are just as powerful as CICWCD not having more taxpayer dollars in its coffers.
In this line of work, we have to cherish every small victory and be grateful for the sacrifice required for those wins. Raise a glass of whatever you prefer for Steve, GBWN, and our allies. This one is sweet.
The Associated Press’ Sam Metz provides a brief update on CICWCD and other water proposals from the Utah Legislature.
The New Gold Rush
The latest media hit on the West Desert Water Grab was in Deseret, which cast our battle with CICWCD as the New Gold Rush. It was a classic look into the project’s impacts on the agricultural way of life in the West Desert and also included comments from GBWN about the infeasible and wasteful nature of the effort. Please share on your social media feeds. And consider this when you do: CICWCD says it has done “everything right.” But that can only be said with fingers crossed and without a straight face. We still have not seen the basic hydrologic analysis that CICWCD uses to justify its boondoggle –– despite requesting the records from USGS and BLM. We have dug up data that shows CICWCD is cooking the books on population estimates to justify its tax-and-spend project. The federal government and CICWCD failed to consult and consider Indigenous Peoples, their communities, their rights, and their history in Pine Valley. CICWCD distracts and distorts its own data that show the water it wants is really, really expensive compared to cheaper options like conservation and waterwise development. If you say a lie enough times that doesn’t make it true. This gold rush is the same as the old one. Outsiders are coming in to take with disregard for all else. History can repeat itself. We’ll do our best to make sure that doesn’t happen.
The DEIS Comment Deadline is March 11
We have been working overtime with a team of legal and technical experts to ensure that every word of the federal environmental review of the project is scrutinized. Our comments will be substantial and in defense of the public interest, the environment, rural communities, and future generations of human, animal, and plant life. We have had overwhelming success in comment submissions. But we know that more folks can submit. The best way you can help us is by taking action today. Go to our one-stop shop and help protect desert water. From the Great Salt Lake to Great Basin National Park, we have a lot to lose if we don’t win.