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License Agency Pauses Pipeline Review To Decide on Jurisdiction

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The Virgin River, show here flowing past The Watchman, is the main water source for much of Washington County, and proponents say the Lake Powell Pipeline is essential for accomodating future growth. Opponents say conservation would get the job done.

A federal agency has pressed the “pause” button on the license for the Lake Powell Pipeline.

The Utah Division of Water Resources asked for the delay, after becoming concerned that other agencies might be drawn into the approval process.

Now, also at the state’s request, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is taking some time to decide on its jurisdiction. So, how much of a delay will that mean for the multi-billion-dollar water project? 

Joel Williams of Utah's Division of Water Resources says that’s something no one knows yet.“We don’t," he says. "That’s the big unknown right now is the timeline for when FERC will issue a decision.”

The state’s been working on the pipeline with the Washington County Water Conservancy District for over a dozen years. And the in-depth environmental review hasn’t even begun for a pipeline that runs roughly half the width of the state.

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