Hello Poudre River Lovers! THIS IS IT! Today is Giving Tuesday -- Thank you for your support! Please donate on our website at: http://www.savethepoudre.org/take-action/donate/ In the next few months, we will make our final decisions about challenging the permits for NISP at the local, state, and federal level, and YOUR financial support will make those decisions for us. For 18 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. Here’s an update on where the battle is right now. First, 2 of 3 Larimer County Commissioners voted to approve NISP, a decision that was finalized in early November 2020. We’ve pulled out all the stops in our effort to reverse this decision. So far, we’ve: Filed a lawsuit arguing that two of the County Commissioners are biased due to their decades of support for NISP. Will be filing another lawsuit against Larimer County specifically for the NISP decision. Worked in close coalition with two local neighborhood groups – “Save Rural NoCo” and “No Pipe Dream” – to fight the project and influence the County’s decision. Continued to make news arguing that NISP should use the river as a conveyance. The Denver Post (above left) highlighted our work to fight both NISP and the Thornton Pipeline on Sunday, Nov. 15th. And, the Fort Collins Coloradoan (right) accurately covered the Larimer County hearing process extensively. The County permit process completely ignored many issues, and completely ignored 95% of all public comment opposing NISP. The outrageous decision to support NISP by two term-limited Commissioners can and must be overturned. We have a strong case in the courts to overturn this decision and we are aggressively pursuing it. We are fighting every step of the way in this County permit debacle. It ain’t over yet! Second, our legal action against the State of Colorado is moving forward with a final decision occurring while this letter goes to press. The state gave a “401 water quality permit” to NISP. Save The Poudre's appeal alleges thirteen violations of State regulations when the State gave its permit. The Top Five violations are: No water rights – the plan to fill Glade Reservoir requires buying hundreds of farms in Weld County, whereas only two farms have been bought. Fails to take into account climate change and its reduction in streamflow in the Poudre River. Mitigation won’t occur until full build-out, maybe 30 years in the future. Mitigation doesn’t allow for peak flows to clean out the river and restore the riparian forest through Fort Collins. 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 is to the "Water Quality Control Commission" appointed by Governor Polis. If the “Commission” votes against the Poudre River, we can file a lawsuit in Larimer County District Court. Finally, Save The Poudre is awaiting the…
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.