One-hundred years is a long time and it seems as though there are many changes on
the horizon, to ensure the Grand Canyon continues to supply adventure, beauty, and
excitement to the thousands of annual visitors.
Earlier this month, another change was proposed to by a hydro company, to dam Little
Colorado River for power generation. This has created quite the controversy. The
reason, primarily that the construction and the resulting dam would disrupt the solitude
of the area and possibly encroach on the Navajo Nation that inhabits the area. The
Little Colorado River runs through a small sliver of Arizona, cutting off the northeast
corner of the state. The water that flows down the small hydration vein empties into the
massive Colorado River. Despite the minimal amount that it flows through Arizona, the
water has a total journey of three-hundred and thirty miles to reach the Colorado River.
The counter argument is that there are not many people who visit that region. This
corner of Arizona is remote, even for the desert. The only traffic that could possibly be
bothered by the project are river rafters, tribal members, and a small number of hikers.
Nevertheless, the people who do enjoy this remote area are justified in not wanting to
lose it. It is difficult to find a sense of solace and oasis in nature. Everything is being
built up or otherwise corrupted by innovation. Whether it is more people, a dam, or
another gimmick, it is still going to hurt the otherwise serene atmosphere that the people
who appreciate it find here.
Pumped Hydro Storage LLC is seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission for preliminary permits. These permits would enable the company to study
sites east of Grand Canyon National Park over a period of three years.
Yet, nothing is going to happen with that land if the Navajo Nation is not in agreement.
Currently, the Navajo President, Jonathan Nez, has admitted that he was briefed by
tribal economic development officials about the proposal. However, Nez has yet to
speak with anyone from Pumped Hydro Storage LLC. He did present this comment,
“With any project or proposal that is presented to the Navajo Nation, we weigh the pros
and cons in terms of employment opportunities, economic development, water
resources, environmental impact and other factors,” Nez said. “We are ever mindful that
we must respect our environment. The local Navajo communities must be informed, and
their voices must be heard.”
If the project did go through, however, a representative from Pumped Hydro Storage
LLC explained that construction would not start for about a decade. That kind of
negates any immediate benefits from the increase in energy the company proposes
could be produced and stored as a result of the dam.
A public commenting period on the permit applications and overall project will run
through November 22, 2019. Hopefully, everyone represented will be able to have a
voice throughout these proceedings.