September 2, 2020 For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310 Save The Poudre Will Sue To Overturn Illegal Larimer County Permit For NISP Fort Collins, CO: Tonight after 17 years, the Larimer County Commissioners voted 2 - 1 to "approve" the 1041 application for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). The Commissioners' vote defies over 95% of public comments opposing NISP and requesting a denial, and defies all the science and scientists engaged around the Poudre River weighing in against NISP. Further and most importantly, the vote occurred under clear and compelling evidence that the application violated the Larimer County Land Use Code. Further yet, the two Commissioners who voted for the project -- Johnson and Donnelly -- had already been asked to recuse themselves, and were sued when they refused to recuse themselves, because they had publicly and loudly supported the project for at least a decade while sitting as elected Larimer County Commissioners. (The court ruled that the lawsuit should take place after tonight's vote.) Both the Larimer County Land Use Code and the Colorado Constitution require that County Commissioners sit in a "quasi-judicial" position (as judges) during 1041 permit process and are thus not allowed to publicly take a position about a project. Commissioner John Kefalas voted to deny the permit. "The Poudre River will be irrevocably damaged if NISP is built," said Gary Wockner. "In addition, the Commissioners were given clear evidence that the NISP application violates the land use code, including several of the 12 criteria, and as such this application absolutely should have been denied." "Further," continued Wockner, "it's also clear that Commissioners Johnson and Donnelly should not have voted at all, because doing so violated the Colorado Constitution as well as the Larimer County Land Use Code, given their prejudice and bias in favor of the project over the past decade." "Finally, because it violates the land use code, this decision to throw the public, the science, and the Poudre River under the bus is subject to 'judicial review'," said Wockner, "and as such, we fully expect to challenge this illegal decision in state district court as soon as possible." This press release is posted here. ***end*** -- Gary Wockner, PhD, Director Save The Poudre: Poudre Waterkeeper Author: "River Warrior: Fighting to Protect the World's Rivers" (2016) PO Box 20, Fort Collins, CO 80522 http://savethepoudre.org http://www.facebook.com/SaveThePoudre https://twitter.com/savethepoudre 970-218-8310
Hi Poudre River Lovers!
This Fort Collins City Council will make “legacy” decisions about the future of the Poudre River.
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The Save The Poudre Team
August 14, 2020 For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310 Citizen Groups Say Larimer County Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson Must Recuse From NISP Vote Fort Collins, CO: Today, citizens groups including Save The Poudre, No Pipe Dream, and Save Rural NoCo informed the Larimer County Commissioners that Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson must recuse themselves from the hearings for the 1041 permit for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). The hearings are set to commence on August 17th. The 1041 permit process is "quasi-judicial" and as such both the Larimer County land use code and the Colorado constitution prohibit sitting commissioners from taking a position on NISP prior to the hearings because they have to "judge" the permit application from an unbiased viewpoint. Both Donnelly and Johnson have supported NISP in public statements, attended NISP rallies, and endorsed the project for at least a decade. The citizens groups filed a "petition" with the commissioners that included a letter, a formal listing of the legal background including a lawsuit filed in Larimer County district court, and 26 exhibits where Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson made statements supporting NISP. One exhibit includes a post from Commissioner Donnelly's facebook page where he's speaking at a NISP rally and commenting in support of NISP (left). "Both the Larimer County land use code and the Colorado constitution require that county commissioners not have taken a position prior to a hearing and quasi-judicial 1041 permit," said Gary Wockner, director of Save The Poudre. "Both Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson have public supported, and been listed as endorsers for, NISP for at least a decade, and therefore are biased. As such, they must recuse themselves from the hearings." The citizen groups argue that when the hearings commence on August 17th at 6:30pm, the first order of business will be to address the petition that requires the recusal of both Donnelly and Johnson. The groups also argue that the County should delay the hearing process until after the 2020 election when two new commissioners on the 3-member board are seated replacing both Donnelly and Johnson who are term-limited. This press release is posted here. ***end***
June 11, 2020 For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310 Fort Collins: Last night, the City of Fort Collins "Land Conservation and Stewardship Board" (LCSB), which advises the City Council on the management of the City's thousands of acres of protected Open Space and Natural Areas, sent a tersely worded memo (link here) to the City Council advising the Council take urgent action to oppose the massive proposed dam called the Northern Integrated Supply Project ("NISP"). The memo describes staggering negative impacts that NISP would cause to the Natural Areas along the Poudre River including: "NISP’s removal of water from the river will, quite simply, dehydrate our Natural Areas’ ecological resources and degrade them; hundred-year-old trees will die, understory plants will shift to more drought tolerant species, biodiversity will decrease, and forest- and wetland-dependent animals will disappear." The memo reminds the City Council that the citizens of Fort Collins tax themselves to buy these Natural Areas, most recently by a city-wide vote in 2014 with 82% supporting the taxation. The memo further states: "The citizens of Fort Collins, as they have invested in Natural Areas, have believed that those areas and their ecological resources and recreational opportunities would be protected in perpetuity. In the opinion of this Board, perpetuity ends on the day that NISP bulldozers arrive to divert water from the Poudre River." Finally, the memo calls for "urgent" action by the City Council to "actively oppose NISP": "Active opposition, led by City Council, is urgently needed. If there is no change in position, and if NISP is implemented, then ecological and recreational treasures will be injured beyond repair. Fort Collins can join other entities in opposing NISP under Federal and State permitting processes, and this Board urges Council to do so without delay." "The Land Conservation and Stewardship Board is entrusted to manage and watchdog these great resources for the future of all citizens," said Gary Wockner, Director of Save The Poudre. "Active opposition to NISP is needed right now -- through the County, State, and Federal permitting processes -- and we strongly urge the Fort Collins City Council to take the Board's advice." Permit Status Update: The Colorado State permit was given to NISP in January 2020. Save The Poudre has appealed that decision to the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission. The final hearing is scheduled for November. Larimer County has begun its permit process with hearings in June, July, and August (see hearing schedule here). The Record of Decision from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permitting process is expected in later 2020. "We've been fighting to stop NISP for 17 years and we're going to sprint through the finish line with enormous support from the people of Fort Collins and Larimer County, with a great team of scientists and attorneys, and with the vision for protecting the river in perpetuity for the entire community to enjoy," said Wockner ***end***