Hello Poudre River Lovers! We Are Deep Into The Fight And Need Your Support! Please make your tax-deductible donation today by clicking here. First, we had a HUGE VICTORY against the Thornton Pipeline! In February, the Larimer County Commissioners voted unanimously to “deny” the Thornton Pipeline, in part thanks to your support! You sent the Commissioners about 1,000 emails and many of you showed up to provide comment during the six public hearings over the last year. We also participated in the “Larimer Water Projects Working Group” for several months, all the while arguing that Thornton should send their water down the Poudre River! What’s next for the Thornton Pipeline and the “Poudre River Option”? It’s up to Thornton – they’ve publicly stated that they might file a lawsuit against the Larimer County Commissioners, and if they do, we will stand behind the Commissioners’ decision and support them in court. If you see the Commissioners, please THANK THEM for standing up for the Poudre River throughout the permitting process. Second, the permitting process for Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) is all coming to a head at the County, State, and Federal Level in the next few months: 1. NISP has applied for a permit from the State of Colorado Dept of Public Health and Environment for a “401 water quality certification”. Their application is 1,247 pages of extremely technical analyses that we have to digest and respond to in 60 days! We have a team of scientists and attorneys digging into the application. Your support is what makes the difference in our ability to hire professional experts to respond to this permit. 2. NISP is in the process of developing a “1041 permit” and “Intergovernmental Agreement” application to the Larimer County Commissioners to build Glade Reservoir, move Highway 287, and build two large pipelines north and east of Fort Collins. As soon as the drafts of these permits are public, in the next month or two, our team will dig into them – again, we expect them to be hundreds of pages of technical information. Your support is what makes the difference in our ability to hire professional experts to respond to this permit. 3. Last week, our attorneys sent the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a legal letter demanding that the Corps prepare a “Supplemental Environmental Impact Analysis” for NISP. This demand is a response to the new revelation that NISP now expects to buy over 100 farms in Larimer and Weld County to obtain 25,000 acre feet of water to make NISP and Glade Reservoir feasible. This farm-buying scheme is a dramatic new twist in the now 16-year NISP debacle that changes everything about how the project would work and what its impact would be on northern Colorado. Again, your support is what makes the difference in our ability to hire professional experts to respond to this permit. For 16 years, Save The Poudre has been the voice for the Poudre River, and YOU are the megaphone that…
For Immediate Release
October 4, 2018
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310
The Northern Integrated Supply Project Would Help Kill The Poudre River, Violate Clean Water Act
“Diverting what’s left of the peak flows of water would increasingly turn the river — which is greatly loved by the people of Fort Collins — into a muddy, stinking, lifeless ditch.” — Gary Wockner
Fort Collins: Today, Oct 4th, was the close of the public comment period for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP), a massive, billion-dollar, proposed dam and diversion that would further drain the Cache la Poudre River through Fort Collins. Save The Poudre and other Conservation Groups inserted a 36-page document into the comment period (along with 282 pages of technical attachments) — prepared by the Washington D.C.-based law firm, “Meyer, Glitzenstein & Eubanks LLP” — arguing that the Army Corps would be violating the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act if they give a permit to NISP.
Save The Poudre and the Conservation Groups argue that the impacts of NISP on the Cache la Poudre River would be devastatingly negative to the health of the river and the wetlands along the river as it flows through Fort Collins. Building NISP, the Groups argue, would not be the “Least Environmentally Damaging Practical Alternative” (LEDPA) which the Clean Water Act requires. In fact, about 63% of the river’s water is already diverted by farms and cities before the river reaches downtown Fort Collins, and NISP proposes to cause massively more environmental damage by diverting about 40% of what’s left of the peak flows in the months of May and June, on average.
“NISP would cost over a billion dollars and basically kill the Poudre River through Fort Collins,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. “Diverting what’s left of the peak flows of water would increasingly turn the river — which is greatly loved by the people of Fort Collins — into a muddy, stinking, lifeless ditch.”
Save The Poudre and the Conservation Groups factually argue that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ FEIS violates the Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act because the Corps:
- Failed to implement and analyze a proper “alternatives analysis” that would cause less damage on the environment, including alternatives that use more water conservation and buy water from farmers.
- Failed to adequately analyze the negative impacts to water quality in the river.
- Failed to adequately analyze negative impacts to sensitive wetlands and the forest along the Poudre River corridor in Fort Collins.
- Failed to adequately analyze the negative impacts to the Whitewater Park currently being built in downtown Fort Collins.
- Failed to provide adequate mitigation caused by the devastating negative impacts of NISP.
“The FEIS violates federal law,” said Gary Wockner. “The Corps has one more chance to correct these fatal errors when they create the ‘Record of Decision’ in the coming months. We’ve had an eagle-eye on NISP and the Corps for 15 years and we are dug in to protect the beautiful Cache la Poudre River through the end of this process.”
The Conservation Groups include Save The Poudre, Sierra Club, Waterkeeper Alliance, Wildearth Guardians, Save The Colorado, and Fort Collins Audubon Society.
On Tuesday, Nov. 2nd, the Fort Collins City Council also responded to the FEIS by voting to send comments to the Corps about the negative impacts on the river and to “Not Support NISP”. The City focuses on the project’s negative impacts of how “the declined flows, and only three days of peak days, would hurt the surrounding environment, flood plains and overall river health.” (as reported by the Fort Collins Coloradoan — see article here)
This press release is posted here.