July 30, 2020 For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310 NATURE UNDER ATTACK? State of Colorado Argues That "Cache la Poudre River" Doesn't Legally Exist Cache la Poudre River, CO: Today, our local river-protection organization, Save The Poudre, which has about 1,000 members in and around Fort Collins, filed a stinging legal brief against the Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) after CDPHE filed a brief two weeks ago trying to kick the "Cache la Poudre River" out of a legal challenge against a huge environmentally destructive dam project. The Cache la Poudre River begins in the pristine mountain peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park and flows down an 80-mile canyon before it reaches the town of Fort Collins in Colorado. The Cache la Poudre is the only "National Wild and Scenic River" in Colorado as designated by an Act of Congress. Just west of Fort Collins, a regional government dam-building agency has been trying to build a huge dam for the last 20 years that would further drain and deplete the river through Fort Collins. Our organization, Save The Poudre, has been in a bitter and long-term fight against the proposed dam -- called the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) -- as we try to protect the river's flow of water for the benefit of people and environment. Earlier in 2020, the CDPHE -- whose director is appointed by Governor Jared Polis -- gave a "401 water quality certification" to NISP arguing that the massive dam-and-diversion project would not impair the water quality in the Poudre River. We are challenging that permit through the legal process, and now we are fighting for the legal life itself of the Cache la Poudre River against this state agency. Our "administrative appeal" argues that both our group, "Save The Poudre", and the "Cache la Poudre River" are legally entitled to challenge the state 401 certification. Both legal entities are adversely affected by NISP. The river would be severely drained and depleted by NISP -- the list of negative impacts include the degradation of fish habitat, an increase in pollution including E coli bacteria, an increase in algae due to lower flows and warmer water, the drying up of water-cleansing wetlands, and others. Obviously it's the river's health and water quality that we are arguing about -- the State of Colorado and the U.S. government both have laws protecting the water quality in the river under the Clean Water Act -- and so it's clear that the river itself should be a named plaintiff in this legal action in addition to our organization, Save The Poudre. The State of Colorado, joining with the dam-building agency, is trying to "dismiss" the river out of the legal fight altogether. Using obscure internet definitions of the word "entity", the State argues in its Motion to Dismiss on July 16, 2020, that the Cache la Poudre River is a "watershed" but is not an "entity" and has no legal standing in the…
Hi Amazing Poudre River Lovers!
We understand and appreciate that this is a difficult time for all of you. First and foremost, do everything you can to stay healthy and take care of yourself and your loved ones. Second — we are working hard and need your assistance.
During this emergency pandemic that has paralyzed the government and economy, Larimer County actually triggered the permitting process for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) and we need you to send an email to the Larimer County Commissioners.
The State of Colorado has declared a “State of Emergency” due to the coronavirus pandemic, and we believe it gives the Larimer County Commissioners broad discretion to suspend the permitting process for NISP until a normal, public process can take place. Right now, the County has unleashed 911 pages of highly technical documents that the public — and Save The Poudre — needs to digest, only given us 42 days to analyze these documents, and set a public hearing date of May 6th. All of this at the exact time when people are supposed to “social distance” and limit public gatherings.
NISP has been in federal permitting processes for SEVENTEEN YEARS. Thousands of comments have been generated, and tens-of-thousands of documents are in the public record responding to NISP. It’s simply ridiculous to rush through this Larimer County permit process when the public is completely engaged in other matters protecting their health and families, and worrying for their financial future.
We have a team of scientists working hard to make sure the Poudre River keeps flowing while almost everything else has been shut off by this pandemic. It is your past support that keeps us working hard.
Thank you, and stay healthy,
Director, Save The Poudre