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Colorado Lawmakers Continue Advocacy for Arkansas Valley Conduit

Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013

Colorado U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, along with Representatives Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner urged the Bureau of Reclamation to quickly approve the Arkansas Valley Conduit's Environmental Impact Study (EIS), in order to expedite the project's completion. The EIS was issued last month.

In a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the Reclamation Bureau's Commissioner, Michael Connor, the lawmakers said that a quick approval of the environmental analysis, also called a Record of Decision, "will signal to the public that the project is ready to proceed and that the requisite funding should be included in the Administration's FY 2015 budget."

It would also "demonstrate the Bureau's continued commitment to the project," the lawmakers wrote.

Last month, Senators Udall and Bennet and Representatives Gardner and Tipton wrote a letter to the Department of Interior urging the Administration to provide adequate resources for the Conduit in future federal budgets.

The Arkansas Valley Conduit is the final component of the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, a water diversion and storage project in the lower Arkansas Valley. Once constructed, the Conduit will deliver clean drinking water to families, producers and municipalities throughout Southeastern Colorado.

Full text of the letter follows

September 4, 2013

Honorable Michael L. Connor
Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240-0001

Dear Commissioner Connor:

We write to ask for a prompt issuance of the Bureau of Reclamation's Record of Decision pertaining to the environmental analysis for the Arkansas Valley Conduit in Colorado.  We were pleased by the recent timely issuance of the final draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project.

As you know, the Arkansas Valley Conduit is critical to our state.  We have long awaited the construction of this project in light of the urgent need to meet federal water quality standards, and deliver a safe and healthy water supply to Coloradans in the Lower Arkansas River Valley. The conduit, once completed, will help meet that vital need.

Following the required comment period on the final draft EIS, we encourage a prompt issuance of a Record of Decision (ROD).  Ensuring that the project continues without further administrative delays is critical in order to keep the project on schedule. The issuance of a ROD by the Bureau soon after the 30 day comment period expires will signal that the project is ready to proceed, and that the requisite funding should be included in the Administration's FY 2015 budget. An ROD will also further demonstrate the Bureau's continued commitment to the project.

Both we, and the Southeastern Coloradans we represent, greatly appreciate the many years of hard work and close collaboration between the Bureau and local planners as we move forward with the design and construction of this historic conduit. Thank you for your consideration,

Sincerely,

By: James Dakin Owens
 
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