July 1, 2021 For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310 Fort Collins Planning and Zoning Commission "DISAPPROVES" NISP Pipeline Fort Collins: Last night, after three hours of testimony and deliberation, the Fort Collins Planning & Zoning Commission voted 3 - 2 to "Disapprove" the Northern Integrated Supply Project's (NISP) Site Plan Advisory Review (SPAR) application. NISP proposes to build a massive pipeline across city-owned and protected Natural Areas, and divert over 4 billion gallons of water per year out of the Poudre River, both on the eastern side of Fort Collins. "We're pleased with the Planning Commission's vote," said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. "NISP has no right to march into Fort Collins and cause huge damage to much-loved Natural Areas along the Poudre River that were bought and protected by and for the people of Fort Collins." With the Commission's disapproval now hanging over NISP, the entire project and its convoluted 18-year history is increasingly in limbo. The Commission's disapproval adds to the City's formal "opposition" to NISP that was codified by the City Council in a resolution on Aug. 4, 2020. Further, Save The Poudre has multiple active lawsuits against NISP, including challenging the use of SPAR in the City of Fort Collins. At this point, it's unclear what the NISP directors will do about the disapproval, and it's unclear how the courts will rule on Save The Poudre's lawsuit. "We will fight to stop NISP as long as it takes," said Wockner. "The people of Fort Collins have been extremely supportive and generous -- they've given us their marching orders to protect the Poudre River and we are fighting on every front." Save The Poudre put comments into the SPAR process and testified at last night's hearing. (This press release is posted here.) ***end***
Hello Poudre River Lovers!
THIS IS IT! Today is Giving Tuesday — Thank you for your support!
Please donate on our website at:
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 final “Record of Decision” from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is expected to be released any day now. Our legal and scientific team is ready for battle when this permit is released. We have a great attorney lined up to fight this permit if needed, and we are prepared to do everything we can to stop NISP.
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. We’ve been girding for this battle for 18 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! All donations are tax deductible
Please donate on our website at:
Thank you for your support!
Gary Wockner, Director, Save The Poudre