Hello Poudre River Lovers! THIS IS IT! Today is Giving Tuesday -- Thank you for your support! Please donate on our website at: http://www.savethepoudre.org/take-action/donate/ In the next few months, we will make our final decisions about challenging the permits for NISP at the local, state, and federal level, and YOUR financial support will make those decisions for us. For 18 years, we’ve been fighting to stop the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) because it would further dam/drain/divert the Poudre River through Fort Collins. Here’s an update on where the battle is right now. First, 2 of 3 Larimer County Commissioners voted to approve NISP, a decision that was finalized in early November 2020. We’ve pulled out all the stops in our effort to reverse this decision. So far, we’ve: Filed a lawsuit arguing that two of the County Commissioners are biased due to their decades of support for NISP. Will be filing another lawsuit against Larimer County specifically for the NISP decision. Worked in close coalition with two local neighborhood groups – “Save Rural NoCo” and “No Pipe Dream” – to fight the project and influence the County’s decision. Continued to make news arguing that NISP should use the river as a conveyance. The Denver Post (above left) highlighted our work to fight both NISP and the Thornton Pipeline on Sunday, Nov. 15th. And, the Fort Collins Coloradoan (right) accurately covered the Larimer County hearing process extensively. The County permit process completely ignored many issues, and completely ignored 95% of all public comment opposing NISP. The outrageous decision to support NISP by two term-limited Commissioners can and must be overturned. We have a strong case in the courts to overturn this decision and we are aggressively pursuing it. We are fighting every step of the way in this County permit debacle. It ain’t over yet! Second, our legal action against the State of Colorado is moving forward with a final decision occurring while this letter goes to press. The state gave a “401 water quality permit” to NISP. Save The Poudre's appeal alleges thirteen violations of State regulations when the State gave its permit. The Top Five violations are: No water rights – the plan to fill Glade Reservoir requires buying hundreds of farms in Weld County, whereas only two farms have been bought. Fails to take into account climate change and its reduction in streamflow in the Poudre River. Mitigation won’t occur until full build-out, maybe 30 years in the future. Mitigation doesn’t allow for peak flows to clean out the river and restore the riparian forest through Fort Collins. Fails to quantify any requirements to meet state water quality standards and relies on nebulous "adaptive management". The State permit was given by the staff at the Water Quality Control Division. The appeal is to the "Water Quality Control Commission" appointed by Governor Polis. If the “Commission” votes against the Poudre River, we can file a lawsuit in Larimer County District Court. Finally, Save The Poudre is awaiting the…
For Immediate Release
March 6, 2019
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310
Dam To Nowhere? Massive Northern Colorado Dam Project Must Now Buy “100 Or More Farms”
Fort Collins, CO: Last week, the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District (Northern Water) revealed that they would have to buy “100 or more farms” containing 25,000 acre feet of water to supply the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) and its huge proposed Glade Reservoir. For sixteen years, and through three iterations of federally required Environmental Impact Statements, Northern Water has claimed that farmers in Larimer and Weld County would willingly “exchange” 25,000 acre feet of water for NISP. But on Thursday, Northern Water completely changed their story, announcing that it bought its first farm, and proclaiming in the Loveland Reporter Herald:
- “We need to tie up 25,000 acre-feet of water however we can do it,” Warner said, adding, “We’re not using eminent domain or anything.” To obtain the 25,000 acre-feet, he estimated it would take about a decade and 100 or more farms, depending on their size.
The massive farm-buying scheme continues to reveal the highly speculative and completely unpredictable nature of the NISP, as well as the continued escalation of cost. In the first Environmental Impact Statement in 2008, NISP was estimated to cost $350 million; in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) in 2018, NISP was estimated to cost $1.1 billion. Further, in the FEIS, NISP said the cost to buy water for their proposed alternative was “0” (zero). Now, NISP proposes to buy 25,000 acre feet of water with an estimated cost of at least $275 million or more just to have the water to make the project feasible. As of last week, NISP announced that it had so-far bought one 28-acre farm yielding “30 acre feet of water” for $330,000, at the same time that the price of farmland and water continues to skyrocket across northern Colorado over the last decade.
“Everything we said over a decade ago was correct and true,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. “We said NISP was a billion-dollar boondoggle that would drain the Poudre River and require massive purchases of farm water to fill Glade Reservoir, and to a point, NISP is now well over a billion dollars, would further drain the Poudre River, and is now trying to buy 100 or more farms to fill Glade Reservoir.”
The new farm-buying scheme raises huge legal issues for the permits NISP needs from the Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Colorado, and Larimer County, all of which were predicated on the farmers “willingly exchanging” their water instead of NISP having to buy it.
“This new scheme completely changes the permitting requirements,” said Wockner. “In the coming weeks, we will be communicating with Army Corps about the necessity of a ‘Supplemental EIS’ that examines the new impacts of this scheme on flows in the Poudre River, the cost of the project, and the impact on northern Colorado farms and open space.”
The speculative nature of NISP continues to rapidly escalate. Two years ago, NISP announced that it was going to convey some of its water to Weld County towns by building a huge new pipeline across northern Larimer County. But last month, the Larimer County Commissioners unanimously denied a massive pipeline, proposed by the City of Thornton, along the exact same route as proposed by NISP.
“We are a law enforcement organization,” continued Wockner, “It’s our job to protect the Poudre River and make sure all federal, state, and local laws are followed to protect the environment and ensure sound decision-making.”