August 14, 2020 For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310 Citizen Groups Say Larimer County Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson Must Recuse From NISP Vote Fort Collins, CO: Today, citizens groups including Save The Poudre, No Pipe Dream, and Save Rural NoCo informed the Larimer County Commissioners that Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson must recuse themselves from the hearings for the 1041 permit for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). The hearings are set to commence on August 17th. The 1041 permit process is "quasi-judicial" and as such both the Larimer County land use code and the Colorado constitution prohibit sitting commissioners from taking a position on NISP prior to the hearings because they have to "judge" the permit application from an unbiased viewpoint. Both Donnelly and Johnson have supported NISP in public statements, attended NISP rallies, and endorsed the project for at least a decade. The citizens groups filed a "petition" with the commissioners that included a letter, a formal listing of the legal background including a lawsuit filed in Larimer County district court, and 26 exhibits where Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson made statements supporting NISP. One exhibit includes a post from Commissioner Donnelly's facebook page where he's speaking at a NISP rally and commenting in support of NISP (left). "Both the Larimer County land use code and the Colorado constitution require that county commissioners not have taken a position prior to a hearing and quasi-judicial 1041 permit," said Gary Wockner, director of Save The Poudre. "Both Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson have public supported, and been listed as endorsers for, NISP for at least a decade, and therefore are biased. As such, they must recuse themselves from the hearings." The citizen groups argue that when the hearings commence on August 17th at 6:30pm, the first order of business will be to address the petition that requires the recusal of both Donnelly and Johnson. The groups also argue that the County should delay the hearing process until after the 2020 election when two new commissioners on the 3-member board are seated replacing both Donnelly and Johnson who are term-limited. This press release is posted here. ***end***
For Immediate Release
May 14, 2018
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310
To Avoid Federal Permit, Thornton Continues to Drain the Poudre River and Proposes Massive Water Pipeline that would Wreak Havoc on NoCO Neighborhoods, Even Though “Poudre River Option” is $50 Million – $150 Million Cheaper
Fort Collins, CO: Through a Colorado Open Records Act, it has been revealed that the City of Thornton has long been analyzing the “Poudre River Option” (see map here) for their Thornton Water Supply Project. That analysis indicates that the Poudre River Option could be $50 million – $150 million cheaper than a “Pipeline Option”, but Thornton is almost solely choosing the Pipeline Option to avoid permitting processes, especially a federal permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The short summary presentation (posted here, dated June 3, 2014) was prepared by City of Thornton staff for the Thornton Planning Commission and the Thornton City Council back in June of 2014. The presentation contains several slides about the permitting process and the City’s discussions with the Army Corps of Engineers about how to avoid the Corps permit process.
The Cache la Poudre River through Fort Collins is already severely depleted, with 63% if its water drained out by farms and cities before the river reaches downtown Fort Collins. Thornton’s diversion already occurs, but the amount of water — up to 20,000 acre feet (over 6 billion gallons/year) — proposed for the Project could be sent down the Poudre River through Fort Collins and diverted into the Thornton Pipeline downstream near Windsor, thus vitally replenishing the Poudre River through Fort Collins. In addition, the water could be sent down the river during the peak flow months of June/July/August when the water would make the river healthier for people and the environment.
“Thornton has the opportunity to do the right thing. In fact, we’ve been talking to Thornton about this for nearly 10 years,” said Gary Wockner, Director of Save The Poudre. “Running this water through Fort Collins would not only save Thornton a lot of money, it would make the river cleaner and healthier for people who recreate in the river as well as support the wetlands and riparian forest through Fort Collins.”
Thornton has applied for a “1041 permit” from Larimer County to run the water through a proposed massive pipeline under and along Douglas Road north of Fort Collins, through other neighborhoods north and east of Fort Collins, and down through neighborhoods near Windsor. The Larimer County Planning Commission is considering the permit on Wednesday, May 16th. If the Planning Commission approves the pipeline, the final permit authority goes to the Larimer County Commissioners at a meeting currently scheduled for July 9th.
“Thornton should collaborate instead of continuing to drain the Poudre River through Fort Collins and wreaking havoc on neighborhoods,” said Wockner. “Why won’t Thornton collaborate? The people of Fort Collins would embrace Thornton as a good neighbor if Thornton did the right thing here.”
Over the last several years, Save The Poudre has told Thornton that Save The Poudre would support the federal permit and help shepherd the Project through the permitting process at the state and federal level if Thornton chose the “Poudre River Option”.