Wasatch Environmental Update for December 13, 2015
By John Worlock, Member of Board of Directors, Save Our Canyons
Utah’s Budget: Water and Land
Item One in today’s Update is the Billion Dollar Pipeline proposed to carry water from Lake Powell up and across the desert to Washington County. Perhaps it’s not fair to call it a billion dollar pipeline, as no one knows how much it will cost. On the other hand, it won’t be cheap, and the important point is this: if the water it delivers is priced so as to pay the costs, that water will be so expensive that the residents of Washington County won’t want it. In spite of this known fact, since the state has already squandered many millions of dollars just thinking about a new pipeline, Governor Herbert’s administration and the Washington County Water District just recently submitted their federal licensing proposal. One wonders what mirage the state is chasing.
A contrary note, and a comforting one, is that Governor Herbert’s proposed budget contains no billions of dollars for that pipeline. There is money for data collection and planning and some for conservation, but nothing for infrastructure.
Governor Herbert has seen clearly that with this project quote “the state of Utah’s General fund would never be repaid and the ongoing allocation of tax revenues would create a permanent sizable state taxpayer subsidy for water development.”
We hope that this closes the book on that billion dollar pipeline.
Item Two is another mirage. It is the vision that those acres of the state of Utah that are owned and controlled by the federal government of the United States of America are illegally occupied. Following this mirage, the Legislature of Utah has just committed some 14 million dollars for the preparation of their case against federal control. In spite of plenty of legal testimony that they haven’t a chance, and other evidence that even if they win they can’t afford the upkeep of the public lands, they press on.
It is clear that the leaders in this charge are so filled with anti-federal fervor that they can’t think about what would actually be best for the state of Utah and its citizens.