Description: Challenge to approvals for project facilitating diversion of water from Colorado River.
Save the Colorado v. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 10/26/2017 Petition for Review Download Petition for review of agency action filed. Environmental Groups Filed Lawsuit Challenging Colorado River Diversion Project and Alleging Insufficient Analysis of Climate Change Impact on Water Availability. Five environmental groups filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Colorado challenging federal approvals of a project facilitating the diversion of water from the Colorado River to fill a new 90,000 acre-foot reservoir on Colorado’s Front Range. The plaintiffs called the project “ill-conceived and unnecessary” and alleged that the federal government’s predisposition to pursue the project to fix a failed project exemplified “sunk cost bias” and improperly limited its consideration of alternatives. The plaintiffs contended that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) had failed to comply with NEPA and that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had violated the Clean Water Act. The plaintiffs claimed among other things that Reclamation had failed to fully analyze the potential impacts of climate change on water availability for the project; the complaint alleged that “[a]lthough Reclamation considered climate change in a limited fashion, Reclamation did not include its effects quantitatively, did not utilize current scientific findings about climate change, and did not provide a rational explanation of how climate change influenced its decisionmaking.”