Green Groups Drop Nuclear Plant Appeals

Aug 10, 2016

Environmental groups fighting what would be Utah’s first nuclear power plant are dropping their lawsuit over water rights. But they say they’re not abandoning the cause.

“What we are doing is essentially moving from fighting this in the courts to fighting it in the marketplace,” says Matt Pacenza, director of HEAL Utah.

Last month a state appeals court upheld a lower court’s ruling that there is enough water for the proposed Blue Castle nuclear power plant. The court also affirmed that Utah’s top water official has the authority to transfer water rights from two downstate water districts to the reactors planned for Green River.

But environmentalists contend that the Blue Castle Project is already starved for cash -- and it won’t be able to raise $100 million it needs for a federal license application or more than $10 billion it will cost to actually build the plant

“This would affect the Canyonlands and our community for generations,” says Sarah Fields, director of Moab-based Uranium Watch. “So, we’re opposed to it, and we’ll continue to be opposed to it.”

Critics like Fields also doubt that federal regulators will sign off on Blue Castle because it depends on untapped water from the Colorado Basin.

Meanwhile, Blue Castle CEO Aaron Tilton insists the appeals court ruling actually clears the way for new investors to step up.