June 10, 2021 For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310 Save The Poudre Sues to Stop NISP Damage on Fort Collins Natural Areas Fort Collins: Yesterday, Save The Poudre filed a lawsuit in state district court in Larimer County against the Northern Integrated Supply Project's ("NISP") attempt to use the SPAR (Site Plan Advisory Review) process for placing a diversion structure, pump station, and massive pipeline across City of Fort Collins' Natural Areas (the lawsuit is posted here). The City Land Use Code makes perfectly clear that SPAR can only be used if NISP "owns or operates" the City Natural Area property, which NISP does not. Further, City Manager Darin Atteberry sent a memo to the City Council on April 16, 2020, telling the Council that NISP had to buy the land, negotiate an easement, or condemn the Natural Areas by eminent domain in order to build the project, but NISP has not done any of those things (the memo is posted here). "We're proud to stand up and defend the citizen-owned Natural Areas," said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. "If the whole Hughes Stadium issue taught the City government anything, it's that the people of Fort Collins want their Natural Areas to be protected, restored, and enhanced, not degraded and diminished." The City staff has scheduled a hearing at the Planning and Zoning Commission for NISP on June 30th. Save The Poudre in turn filed a "temporary restraining order" with the court against the City to stop the Commission hearing. Save The Poudre alleges that the City is not enforcing its own land use code and is letting NISP skate by with a bogus review process instead of forcing NISP through a rigorous permit application that must require the review of the full City Council. NISP would drain water out of Natural Areas along the Poudre River throughout Fort Collins, thereby draining wetlands, drying up the riparian forest, and diminishing wildlife habitat. Homestead Natural Area, Kingfisher Natural Area, and Riverbend Ponds Natural Area would be further degraded by the construction of a water diversion structure, pump station, and massive pipeline. "NISP is a massively damaging project that would degrade and destroy City-owned Natural Areas that were bought and paid for by City ratepayers and taxpayers. The people of Fort Collins love their Natural Areas and we are excited to stand up and defend the citizens and their property against this environmentally destructive project," said Wockner. Save The Poudre is joined in the lawsuit with No Pipe Dream Corporation. ***end***
Hi Amazing Poudre River Lovers!
For 17 years, we’ve been fighting to stop the proposed Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) because it would further dam/drain/divert the Poudre River through Fort Collins. All 3 permits NISP needs — State, County, and Federal — will occur in 2020, and we are taking legal action to stop it.
It’s Your Support That Allows Us To Take Action!
Please donate online by clicking here:
First, Save The Poudre took legal action by filing an “appeal” against the State of Colorado which gave NISP a “401 Water Quality Certification” in January. Save The Poudre’s appeal alleges thirteen violations of State regulations. The Top Five violations are:
1. No water rights – the plan to fill Glade Reservoir requires buying hundreds of farms in Weld County, whereas only a few farms have been bought.
2. Fails to take into account climate change and its reduction in streamflow in the Poudre River.
3. Mitigation won’t occur until full build-out, maybe 30 years in the future.
4. Mitigation doesn’t allow for peak flows to clean out the river and restore the riparian forest through Fort Collins.
5. Fails to quantify any requirements to meet state water quality standards and relies on nebulous “adaptive management”.
The State permit was given by the staff at the Water Quality Control Division. The appeal now goes to the “Water Quality Control Commission” appointed by Governor Polis. The appeal process will play out over the coming months.
Second, Save The Poudre and two neighborhood groups – Save Rural NoCo and No Pipedream – filed a formal appeal with the Larimer County Land Use Director requesting a reversal of the County determination that Northern Water’s NISP application is complete. The 10-page appeal lists numerous issues completely ignored by the NISP application that Save The Poudre and neighborhood groups claim are required by Larimer County’s land use regulations.
Not only did we get the County process postponed through the coronavirus pandemic, our challenge requires that the County Land Use Director respond and either reverse the completeness determination or counter the challenge with justifications, which may also extend the process. This appeal will also play out in the coming weeks and months.
The County permitting process is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, so stay tuned about how you can get involved, comment, and show up at County hearings!
Third, Save The Poudre is awaiting the final “Record of Decision” from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is expected to be released in the summer of 2020. Our legal and scientific team is ready for battle when this permit is released.
Finally, we are still in court against the proposed Thornton Pipeline. With all of your help, we helped stop the Thornton Pipeline dead in its tracks, and are defending the County’s decision to deny the Pipeline.
Here’s the bottom line – THIS IS IT! Your past support has made all of the difference in our ability to engage in these battles, and your current and future support is what will keep us fighting hard. 2020 is THE YEAR. We’ve been girding for this battle for 17 years. We intend to run through the tape in a full sprint to keep the Poudre River healthy and flowing.
Every $25 or $50 makes a real difference. If you can afford $100 or $250 or more, that’s great too! If you’d like to discuss a larger donation, feel free to call Gary Wockner at 970-218-8310. All donations are tax deductible
Please donate on our website at:
Thank you for your support!
Mark Easter, Chair of the Board;
Gary Wockner, Executive Director