Hi Poudre River Lovers! Thank you for your support!! It's your support that keeps us working hard. Please donate online by clicking here. Good News First! In February, State District Court in Larimer County ruled in support of our fight to stop the Thornton Pipeline. The court ruled that the Larimer County Commissioners were legally justified to deny Thornton’s permit, a denial we intervened to support in the lawsuit. Thornton has now appealed that decision, and we are counting on this new Larimer County Commission to defend itself in the State Court of Appeals. If Thornton would simply do the right thing – which is run the water down the Poudre River through Fort Collins – they wouldn’t even need a permit at all! Thornton would have saved millions of dollars in court costs, planning, and permitting by simply taking Save The Poudre’s advice TEN YEARS AGO and keeping the water in the Poudre. We will remain vigilant and engaged in this battle – stay tuned for the action! Second, our ongoing battle to stop the Northern Integrated Supply Project continues to work its way through the court system. We now have two lawsuits against the FORMER Larimer County Commissioners, Steve Johnson and Tom Donnelly, for their illegal decision to support NISP. First we argue that Johnson and Donnelly were biased due to their decades of support for NISP. Second, we argue that Johnson and Donnelly’s decision violated the Larimer County land use code in multiple ways. NISP would have dramatic negative impacts on the Poudre River, on neighbors around the proposed reservoir, and on neighbors along the pipeline route. We have worked in close coalition with two local neighborhood groups – “Save Rural NoCo” and “No Pipe Dream” – to fight the project and influence the court’s and the County’s decision. The NISP battle now turns to the City of Fort Collins! NISP has applied for a “Site Plan Advisory Review” for the project, including for the massive environmentally destructive pipeline through the City’s Natural Areas on the east side of Fort Collins. The City has scheduled a “neighborhood meeting” on April 21st at 6:00pm, and ALL SAVE THE POUDRE MEMBERS are invited as neighbors! We are encouraging all of you to sign up for this “Zoom” neighborhood meeting – let’s show the City how much we care about the Poudre River and its Natural Areas, and how much we OPPOSE NISP. We’ll keep you posted on how to zoom attend the neighborhood meeting – make sure and sign up for our newsletter on SaveThePoudre.org. Finally, Save The Poudre is awaiting the final “Record of Decision” from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is expected to be released this year. Our legal and scientific team is ready for battle when this permit is released. We have a great attorney lined up to fight this permit if needed, and we are prepared to do everything we can to stop NISP. In other Big News, we’re excited to have launched a new “Rights of Nature” program for the Poudre River. The “Rights of Nature”…
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.”