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Grand Canyon Pipeline Proposal

This fact sheet is excerpted directly from the Bureau of Reclamation’s Study of Pumping Water from the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park for the Black Mesa Coal Mine and Slurry Line

Purpose: mining and coal slurry for Peabody Western

“…to divert Colorado River surface water…to meet the current and future demands of the Peabody Western Coal Company’s Black Mesa Mine… This study concentrates on a mainstem Colorado River diversion within the lower Colorado River Basin, below Lee’s Ferry…” page 1

Where: within Grand Canyon National Park

“The conceptual pipeline alignment would extend east from the confluence of Badger Creek (Jackass Canyon, River Mile 8.0) and the mainstem of the Colorado River to Kaibito, Arizona. The diversion structure may be located within the boundary of the Grand Canyon National Park.” Page 2

[Although the boundary of the national park has been disputed by the Navajo Nation, there should be no confusion within the Interior Department; the Solicitor’s Office, Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service have all agreed that the park boundary is the east rim of the river canyon (700 feet above the river here), and the Navajo Reservation’s western boundary is ¼ mile from the Colorado River. Source: November 29, 1991 letter from BLM to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.]

Effect: wildlife disturbance

“The potential exists for condors to roost within the project area along the Colorado River… The potential exists for small numbers of Bald Eagles to perch and forage in the area along the Colorado River… [Golden Eagle] nesting occurs at nearly all elevations across the Navajo Nation and on nearly all cliff substrates…” Pages 27 and 29

Effect: recreation and scenery degradation

“Scenic slot canyons like Jackass Canyon are relatively few in number on the Colorado Plateau, and Jackass Canyon is singled out for description
in several hiking guides for the area… Tribal members also use the canyon to access the river for fishing. Rafters floating by would probably not notice the pumping plant, but rafters stopping to scout the rapid, and the hikers and fishermen that have descended Jackass Canyon, would likely find the pumping plant noticeable. Because of the noise of the rapid, rafters would not be expected to hear the pumping plant in operation. However, hikers, especially those desiring to camp in the area of the debris fan, would likely notice and be bothered by the noise.” Pages 36 and 37

Effect: loss of wilderness

“In the area for the proposed infiltration gallery and pumping plant, the river corridor and the canyon slopes from the river to the rim have been recommended by the National Park Service for management as ‘potential wilderness’. These areas are currently managed as wilderness by the NPS… Locating an infiltration gallery and pumping plant on the debris fan emanating from Jackass Canyon would be inconsistent with wilderness values. Designation of this area as ‘potential wilderness’ would have to be withdrawn.” Pages 37 and 38

Effect: loss of cultural resources

“Suffice it to say, the area through which the proposed pipeline may be constructed is rich in prehistoric and historic cultural resources going back perhaps as far as 10,000 years. A project of this magnitude will have an adverse affect on cultural resources.” Page 40

Our Position:

For the affects of the proposed project cited above, we urge leaders in Congress to continue to defend the Grand Canyon and its inherent natural values by opposing this water project.

Source: “Peabody Coal/Black Mesa Mine Water Supply Appraisal Study”, prepared by the Bureau of Reclamation, Phoenix, AZ, and Technical Service Center, Denver, CO Preliminary Team Draft, September 2002

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