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 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