Upcoming Events

CITIZENS AND GROUPS CONDEMN APPROVAL OF GREEN RIVER NUCLEAR REACTORS’ WATER RIGHTS

HEAL Utah

 PRESS RELEASE *** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CITIZENS AND GROUPS CONDEMN APPROVAL OF GREEN RIVER NUCLEAR REACTORS’ WATER RIGHTS

PLEDGE TO CONTINUE TO FIGHT COSTLY AND RISKY PROPOSAL

Utahns in and around Green River and beyond expressed serious disappointment today after State Engineer Kent Jones approved the transfer of a massive amount of river water to Blue Castle Holdings, the company that hopes to build nuclear reactors on the Green River.

“This was the only opportunity for a Utah official to reject this terrible plan,” says Matt Pacenza, policy director of HEAL Utah, which has led the fight against the reactors. “Now all that stands between us and reactors at the gateway to southern Utah is a federal agency notorious for cozying up to the nuclear industry.”

“Pretending there is enough water in the Green River for the power plant is a mistake,” says Bob Quist, the owner of Moki Mac River Expeditions, which leads rafting trips on the Green River. “It’s bad for my business and bad for everyone that depends on this river.

Blue Castle has already begun the process of applying to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for an “early site permit” and then a “construction and operation license,” which would allow them to begin building their proposed 3,000-megawatt reactors on a site about five miles northwest of the town of Green River.

Residents and business people in Green River also condemned the State Engineer’s decision. “This is going to make it harder for farmers to get the water they need out of the river,” says Tim Vetere, owner of Vetere Farms in Green River, which raises melons, sweet corn, field corn, hay and more. “Also, I’m worried that if a nuclear power plant goes in, people won’t want to buy my melons.”

More than 200 groups and individuals from across Utah and beyond filed official comments to the State Engineer over the past few years urging him to reject Blue Castle’s bid to draw more than 53,000 acre-feet of water from the Green River. That’s as much water as a city of 200,000 people uses in an entire year for all their uses.

Protesters argued that removing that massive amount of water for nuclear reactors would interfere with the rights of other water users, would harm recreational use of the Green River (including its world-renowned rafting industry), and would pose a threat to endangered fish species in the river, among a wide range of concerns.

“The Green and Colorado Rivers are critical for the survival of the Colorado pikeminnow, humpback chub, bonytail and razorback sucker, all listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act – the highest level of imperilment,” said Rob Mrowka, an ecologist and conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity.  “Adding this massive water withdrawal atop climate change and regional drying will result in severe impairment of the rivers’ abilities to sustain their part of Utah’s natural heritage.”

“It’s disappointing this unpopular and unsustainable project was approved by the State Engineer,” adds Zach Frankel, the founding executive director of Utah Rivers Council. “Very few Utahns want to see these reactors built in their backyard, especially so a few East Coast businessmen can sell power to California.”

The individuals and groups who had protested Blue Castle’s water rights application are now considering a formal legal appeal, which would first go to the State Engineer and then to a District Court judge.

“By no means are we done fighting this fight,” said Pacenza. “Nuclear power is a terrible fit for Utah’s energy future. It costs too much, uses way too much water, produces dangerous nuclear waste and poses unacceptable risks.”

For more information about nuclear power, see the attached fact sheet [will forward shortly.]

To schedule an interview with people in Green River and beyond to get reaction to the State Engineer’s decision, please call:

Matt Pacenza
HEAL Utah
801-864-0264 or 801-355-5055

Bob Quist
Moki Mac River Expeditions
435-749-1135

Tim Vitere 
Owner of Vetere Farms Green River, UT
435-210-4447

Rob Mrowka
Conservation Advocate
Center for Biological Diversity
702-249-5821

Zach Frankel
Utah Rivers Council
801-699-1856

<!--EndFragment-->

healutah.org