FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          AT
TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 1996                             (202) 616-2771
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888

                                 
    JUDGE SIDES WITH U.S. IN CONTROVERSIAL DENVER DAM PROJECT


     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Reaffirming the Environmental Protection
Agency's and the Justice Department's ability to enforce the
Clean Water Act, a federal judge has upheld an EPA decision
blocking a controversial dam project at the Two Forks site near
Denver, Colorado.  Several metro area water districts sought to
have EPA's decision overruled so the proposed dam could be built.

     The June 5 opinion upholds EPA's determination that the
South Platte River Corridor is a unique and irreplaceable
resource and that other alternatives to the Two Forks dam exist
for future water distribution that would be far less damaging to
the environment.  The dam would have flooded more than 30 miles
of free-flowing river, including some of the best trout fisheries
in the country.
          
     Under the Clean Water Act, the construction of a dam on a
navigable river such as the South Platte River, requires a
permit.  In November of 1990, after a 14 month review, the EPA
rejected the Two Forks dam proposals.  EPA concluded that each of
the Two Forks dam proposals would significantly damage fishery
and recreational areas, and that this loss was avoidable because
there were less environmentally damaging alternatives to Two
Forks.  EPA also found that even if no feasible alternative were
to be found, the resources that would be lost as a result of a
dam at Two Forks were too valuable to compromise.

     "The court's ruling in this case preserves the great natural
resources of the South Platte River as well as the federal
government's ability to protect our nation's waterways for years
to come," said Lois J. Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General in
charge of the Justice Department's Environment and 
Natural Resources Division.

                              (MORE)


     The site of the proposed Two Forks dam is approximately one
mile downstream from the confluence of the North Fork of the 
South Platte River and the mainstream of the South Platte in one
of the most highly prized and used trout fisheries in the nation. 
The proposed Two Forks dam would have stood 615 feet high and
spanned some 1700 feet.  It would have required approximately
1,330,000 cubic yards of concrete to construct.  The reservoir
created by the dam would have had a surface area of 7,300 acres,
or 11.4 square miles, and flooded approximately 30.1 miles of the
river.
                                 
     In addition, the dam would have affected whooping crane
habitat hundreds of miles away in the plains of Nebraska where
the South Platte River drains, and posed a peril to endangered
and threatened species both on and off site.

                               ###
96-271

Reporters may obtain a copy of the opinion through the U.S.
Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs at (202) 514-2008.