Great News, Poudre River Lovers! NISP HAS BEEN DELAYED AGAIN! We recently found out that the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) has now been delayed until 2018. So, in 2018 that will be the FIFTEENTH YEAR we have been fighting and Stopping NISP. HOORAY! Thank you for all of the support for the last 14 years! Your support has made all of the difference, and we'd be grateful for your support again. Please click here to donate to Save The Poudre: http://savethepoudre.org/donate.html But the news isn't all good. Due to the Trump administration's lock on the federal government, we can almost guarantee that the permitting process for NISP will get fast-tracked in 2018. Further, it’s becoming increasing clear to us that the system is rigged. Over the 14 years of our fighting to stop NISP, we’ve been relentless in providing objective, scientific information to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. However, every time they come out with a new draft of the Environmental Impact Statement, they pretty much blow off our comments and agree with the NISP side of the story. More recently, we provided objective, scientific information to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission, but they also blew us off and supported the “mitigation plan” for NISP which is filled with loopholes in the even minimal mitigation it proposes. All of that means we are likely headed to court. When our forefathers and foremothers in Congress in the 1960s and 1970s passed laws to protect the environment, they included provisions that allowed for citizens and groups like Save The Poudre to enforce the law. If we feel that the federal and state govt have violated the law, then we can enforce that law by filing lawsuits against those governments. But we can’t be successful without your help. Your financial support has and will continue to make the difference. Every time a public comment period is open in the permitting process, we throw ourselves into it – hiring outside scientific consultants and spending hundreds of hours packing the legal record for the eventual lawsuit. Over the next 12 months, there will be more critical periods where we will once again throw ourselves into it. You have been a great member of the Save The Poudre team for 14 years! We greatly appreciate your support, but more importantly, you’ve allowed us to speak for the Cache la Poudre River in this long, crazy battle to stop NISP and Save The Poudre. Every $10 or $25 makes a real difference. If you can afford $50 or $100 or more, that’s great too! CLICK HERE TO DONATE: http://savethepoudre.org/donate.html Thank you for your support! Mark Easter, Chair of the Board; Gary Wockner, Executive Director
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.”