Officials say more than 1,100 public comments were submitted for the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline designed to pump water to two southern Utah counties. Officials say the cost of the potentially $1-Billion project that would pump water to Utah’s Washington and Kane counties would be repaid over 50 years.
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation officials will consider all the comments before releasing a draft environmental impact statement. Officials say the draft is the first step in the year-long National Environmental Policy Act.
About 85% of the comments were in the form of letters usually written by a larger organization and signed by individuals.
Critics call the pipeline an unnecessary use of funds and encourage better water use. Opponents of the project say water rights for the Colorado River are up in the air with climate change affecting the river’s flow.
Officials say the public comment period for the proposal opened at the same time comments were submitted for a proposal to build a highway through a protected desert tortoise habitat in a nearby region.
That proposal has received more than 16,000 comments.
Another public comment period will be announced before a decision is made on the road project sometime next year.