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…
Hi Poudre River Lovers!
2020 is the year that it all comes to a head, and Save The Poudre is in the fight!
First, last week the State of Colorado gave a “401 Water Quality Certification” (401 Cert) to the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). We have unleashed our scientists and attorneys on the documents and are preparing for legal battle. The 401 Cert for NISP is one of the worst we’ve ever seen, with almost no actual safeguards or conditions that ensure the protection of the river’s health. We have now asked the State Water Quality Control Commission for a time extension to review it — they initially gave us only 30 days — because the documents are over 1,000 pages of technical and legal details that our team is digging through. This permitting fight will be a legal and scientific battle that is not open to the public, but it is YOUR SUPPORT that has given us the financial ability to hire attorneys and scientists. We are digging in for the fight.
Second, Larimer County will soon start its permitting process for NISP. As of this writing, NISP has not yet submitted their application to the County, but it is expected in the next few weeks. As soon as the application is submitted, we will dig into that document — also likely to be 1,000 pages — and engage in that permitting process. This permitting process WILL BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. We will be getting back in contact with you to let you know when you can submit comments to the County Planning Commission as well as atttend hearings of the Larimer County Commissioners.
Finally, NISP continues to be a “Half-Baked Boondoggle”. In 2019, NISP was unable to reach an agreement with farmers to secure more than half the water for the project, and so now NISP has started buying farms in Weld County to get the water from those farms. That farm-buying process is not working out — so far, NISP has only been able to buy three farms, totaling ~160 acres (and ~160 acre-feet of water). NISP needs to buy 22,000 acre-feet of water, which will require them to buy several hundred farms. Not only will NISP further drain and destroy the Poudre River through Fort Collins, it now proposes to be the biggest farm-buying scheme in the history of northern Colorado. Already proposed to cost $1.1 billion, NISP’s farm-buying scheme — if it is successful, which is highly speculative — will drive the cost nearer to $1.5 billion!
It’s patently ridiculous — and we believe, illegal — that the State of Colorado, as well as Larimer County, are both considering permits for a project that doesn’t even have the water rights to allow it to operate. Rest assured, we will be communicating with the State and the County about this ridiculous half-baked process.
Our mission is to protect and restore the Cache la Poudre River! We’ve been at it for 17 years, and it’s your support that keeps us in the fight.
Please consider donating to keep us working hard through the next months of this battle. You can donate online by clicking here: http://www.savethepoudre.org/take-action/donate/
Thank you, and stay tuned for more action!
Gary Wockner, Director, Save The Poudre