WASHINGTON, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- U.S. Interior Department officials brushed off evidence of environmental harm when they moved to reduce water flows in the Grand Canyon, a park official says.
The federal government last year reduced the flow of water from Glen Canyon Dam at night, when consumer demand for electricity is low, to optimize power generation. But a Jan. 15 memo written by Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Steve Martin suggests the department produced a flawed environmental assessment to defend its actions in court, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Citing a leaked copy of the memo, the Post said Martin refuted the Interior Department's claims that curtailing water flow at night -- and occasionally allowing short bursts of massive water flow in the Grand Canyon -- wouldn't hurt imperiled fish species such as the endangered humpback chub or erode the canyon's beaches.
"The government's brief as presented continues to misinterpret key scientific findings related to the humpback chub, status of downstream resources in Grand Canyon, and the need for the Secretary to acknowledge (National Park Service) authorities and responsibilities to protect resources under (Park Service) administration," Martin wrote in the memo, which was obtained by environmentalists suing the Interior Department.