Company floats new proposal for hydropower on tribal land - Albuquerque Journal

Company floats new proposal for hydropower on tribal land

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A Phoenix-based company that was eyeing the Little Colorado River for power generation is floating a new proposal that would rely on groundwater rather than surface water to make electricity.

Pumped Hydro Storage LLC recently applied for a preliminary permit for a project adjacent to the river on the Navajo Nation. Manager Steve Irwin said the shift was in response to overwhelming criticism that building dams on the river would disrupt the habitat of the endangered humpback chub.

Approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would allow the company three years to study the site in Big Canyon west of Tuba City but doesn’t authorize land disturbance. The commission approved preliminary permits for the Little Colorado River sites east of Grand Canyon National Park last week.

But Irwin said he won’t pursue the dams on the river if the Big Canyon proposal moves forward. Documents filed with the federal government estimate the project will cost between $10 million and $20 million for studies, tests, surveys and maps, and to construct four earthen and concrete dams that would hold back groundwater.

The proposal to move water between upper and lower reservoirs to generate power when the demand is high would need the blessing of the Navajo Nation. Tribal President Jonathan Nez has said he would not support development without the approval of nearby Navajo communities, spokesman Jared Touchin said Tuesday.

Tribes, environmental groups, Grand Canyon National Park, state and federal agencies and others had asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to deny the preliminary permits for the Little Colorado River dams or impose requirements on the company. The commission said those requests were premature because the company isn’t in the licensing stage, which could be several years down the line.

Environmental groups said they’re concerned the new proposal could deplete natural springs and disturb the remote, pristine region.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would take public comment if it accepts the company’s request for a preliminary permit. The permits secure an applicant’s priority for hydropower development.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop

MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS

1
Man accused of shooting at law enforcement officers
Around the Region
An El Mirage man faces charges ... An El Mirage man faces charges accusing him of shooting at law enforcement officers on at least five different occasions in the Phoenix area. ...
2
Sheriff: Teen killed sister, 2nd teen and himself in ...
Around the Region
A 15-year-old boy fatally shot his ... A 15-year-old boy fatally shot his 17-year-old sister and another teenage girl at a home near Houston this week before killing himself, authorities said. ...
3
Snowboarder who died after crashing into tree identified
Around the Region
A snowboarder who died after crashing ... A snowboarder who died after crashing into a tree at Colorado's Aspen Highlands Ski Area has been identified as 42-year-old Trevor Crandall of Denver. ...
4
Denver-area grocery store strike ends with tentative deal
Around the Region
A union representing grocery store workers ... A union representing grocery store workers ended a strike against Denver-area supermarkets owned by Kroger Co. on Friday after reaching a tentative contract deal ...
5
Training trip brings Thunderbirds to the Southwest
ABQnews Seeker
Aerial demonstration squadron is training in ... Aerial demonstration squadron is training in NM before moving to Arizona
6
Central Texas wildfire still in check; no structures damaged
Around the Region
Firefighters were mopping up a Central ... Firefighters were mopping up a Central Texas wildfire Thursday after holding it in check for a day with no structures reported damaged or persons ...
7
Arizona bill would ban transgender girls, women from teams
Around the Region
Transgender girls and women would be ... Transgender girls and women would be barred from competing on the high school or college sports team that aligns with their gender identity under ...
8
Police: Missing Phoenix woman found dead in western Arizona
Around the Region
A Phoenix woman reported missing Sunday ... A Phoenix woman reported missing Sunday was found dead Thursday in a remote area of western Arizona, authorities said. Phoenix police said investigators discovered ...
9
NTSB releases preliminary report on fatal Marana plane crash
Around the Region
The National Transportation Safety Board on ... The National Transportation Safety Board on Thursday released its preliminary report on last month's fatal crash of a small plane in southern Arizona, but ...