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…
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.”