Animas LaPlata "Ultra-Lite" Scoping Hearings Coming

by Jim Decker, Weminuche Group

If you missed the opportunity to comment on the Animas-LaPlata original E.I.S. in 1979, or the "Draft Final Supplement" in 1992, you may still have your chance. The Department of Interior, having rejected the proposal of project proponents, popularly known as ALP-Lite, is offering its own reduced version for comment now.

Interior’s version, now popularly known as "ALP Ultralite," is designed to include a minimal reservoir to satisfy Indian water claims at the Ridges Basin site near Durango. It would be limited to the 57,100 acre feet depletion allowed by the Squawfish jeopardy opinion. Proponent’s ALP Lite proposed a 260,000 acre feet reservoir.

A plan offered by opponents to satisfy Indian water claims out of existing federal facilities and to create a dedicated fund for tribal purchase of land and water rights has not been accepted by Interior. Environmental groups and Southern Ute opponents are expected to continue to support this non-structural alternative.

To voice your opinion, attend one of the following meetings:

• February 2: 6-9 p.m., DoubleTree Hotel, Main Ballroom, 501 Camino Del Rio, Durango

• February 3: 6-9 p.m., San Juan College, Henderson Fine Arts Center, Room 10, 4601 College Blvd, Farmington, New Mexico

• February 4: 6-9 p.m., Colorado Convention Center, Room A201, 700 14th Street, Denver