Originally Published: January 7, 2019 6:20 p.m.
To our elected representatives,
We ask that you inform the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of your opposition to the closed-loop pumped storage hydro power storage plant proposed by ITC Holdings for a site near Seligman, Project 14859-000.
The project’s reservoirs would initially require nearly 9 billion gallons of water from the Big Chino aquifer and over 300,000,000 gallons annually to maintain water levels.
We understand the storage and power-balancing needs of the electric grid. We note, however, the many alternative technologies for those purposes and that no like facility has yet been approved in the U.S. that takes its water from an aquifer in an arid region with comparable human and environmental demands on it as does the Big Chino.
A compounding factor is Arizona’s 20-plus year drought that has significantly depleted our aquifer, which yet faces additional pressures from projected development, and many wells have already gone dry. In short, while the site is ideal for ITC’s purposes, it isn’t suitable for the reasons cited, and “mitigation” measures designed to make it otherwise could well be needed just to maintain the aquifer’s viability absent the project.
The push for alternative energy production is fueled by arguments surrounding so-called man-made climate change, a factor attributed to droughts. Ironically, as our drought is largely responsible for the aquifer’s diminution, those arguments should rightly be aimed against any project that requires such vast quantities of a vital yet limited and depleted resource.
The Central Highlands Natural Resources Preservation Group encourages all citizens and interested parties to join with us in this effort.
Central Highlands Natural Resources Preservation Group Paulden