Opposition to Forest Service Homestake Valley decision growing | VailDaily.com

Opposition to Forest Service Homestake Valley decision growing

The U.S. Forest Service on Monday approved an application from the cities of Aurora and Colorado Springs for geotechnical drilling in the Homestake Valley. The approval is one step closer to a new dam and reservoir.
Chris Dillmann, cdillmann@vaildaily.com

On Thursday, Wilderness Workshop announced that over 500 people had signed its “No new Dams in the Homestake Valley” petition. Launched less than a week ago, on the same day the U.S. Forest Service approved the drilling of test wells in the Homestake Valley, public opposition is quickly mounting.

“Since the Forest Service’s announcement on Monday, Coloradans have been asking Wilderness Workshop what they can do to help stop this drilling project and potential dam and reservoir that could inundate portions of the Holy Cross Wilderness,” said Will Roush, executive director of Wilderness Workshop, the a news release. “Right now, signing our petition is the first step in what will be a long fight to ensure this project is never built.”

Wilderness Workshop is calling for a comprehensive environmental review of the Whitney Creek Geotechnical Investigation under the National Environmental Policy Act, noting that drilling test wells will have significant impacts on wetlands, wildlife and roadless forests.

During the month-long comment period for the project, 775 letters were submitted by individuals, organizations and government entities or agencies, overwhelmingly in opposition. In the coming weeks, Wilderness Workshop will continue to share information about how individuals can help stop this misguided proposal.

“The dam — and the drilling — would drain, drown or otherwise impair fens, a special kind of wetland, which has taken around 10,000 years to form and performs important purification functions in watersheds,” the Wilderness Workshop news release said. “The Fish and Wildlife Service calls the fens ’irreplaceable.’”

Wilderness Workshop is a nonprofit advocacy organization based in Carbondale that engages in research, education, legal advocacy and grassroots organizing to protect the ecological integrity of nearly 4 million acres of public land in Western Colorado.

For more information, visit WildernessWorkshop.org.

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