2/22/2024 For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310 Save The Poudre Opposes House Bill 24-1107, "Judicial Review of Local Land Use Decision" Fort Collins: An extremely dangerous, anti-democratic bill has been introduced into the Colorado State Legislature titled, "Judicial Review of Local Land Use Decision." HB24-1107 would allow defendants in lawsuits -- including developers, quasi-governmental agencies, and local/state govt -- to obtain their attorneys fees against plaintiffs -- including citizen and non-profit groups -- if the defendants won in court in so-called "Rule 106" conflicts. Forcing local citizen groups and non-profits to pay the attorneys fees of developers and agencies would hamstring the enforcement of local and state laws. In fact, right now Save The Poudre is in court in a Rule 106 lawsuit against the former Larimer County Commissioners, and Northern Water, for giving a permit to the Northern Integrated Supply Project, a massive proposed dam that would further drain the Poudre River in Fort Collins. Save The Poudre has already lost in district court and is currently in the state court of appeals with the lawsuit. If Save The Poudre was required to pay attorneys fees of defendants Larimer County and Northern Water, it could easily eclipse Save The Poudre's entire yearly ~$100,000 budget. "This bill is an extreme pro-developer bill intended to squash public dissent and squash local non-profits fighting to protect the environment," said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. "We strongly encourage the legislature to kill this bill and find ways to raise the voices of citizens instead of trying to change state law to silence dissent." HB24-1107 is scheduled to be heard in the House Transportation, Housing, and Local Government Committee at 1:30 on Thursday, February 27th. ***end***
Great news — Downtown FoCo Poudre River Whitewater Park permit near the goal post!
Read the story in the Fort Collins Coloradoan here:
Save The Poudre was proud to spend $10k funding an economic study that inspired this park!
Hi Friends of the Poudre, We received a wild flurry of media attention about our lawsuit against the Northern Integrated Supply Project. First, the prominent D.C. publication, The Hill, highlighted our lawsuit to their national audience. We happy to get this national attention for the Poudre River as well as our work to protect it. The Hill noted that we tried to reach a compromise with NISP, but NISP refused, and so we had no choice but to sue them. You can read The Hill story here. Second, CBS TV News in Denver ran a wonderful video segment about the lawsuit that interviewed our amazing Board Chair, Mark Easter, who point-blank told CBS that "If we lose the peak flows, we effectively lose the river." Indeed, NISP is purposely designed to steal the peak flows out of the river which would harm the fish, wildlife, riparian ecosystem, and the new whitewater park in downtown Fort Collins. You can watch the CBS TV News story here. Third, the Colorado Sun broke the story and did a good job (as they always do) highlighting our work to protect the river. The Sun probably does the best work in the state telling water and river stories, and we were happy to work with them to break the story. The Sun reporter, Michael Booth, used to work for the Denver Post many years ago and is the same reporter that put our story on the entire front page of the Denver Post back in 2008. We are always happy to work with Booth to highlight Poudre River stories. You can read The Colorado Sun story here. The story appeared in other publications as well, including the Fort Collins Coloradoan. Unfortunately the Coloradoan put a false title on the story and so we're not going to share it. The Coloradoan has done a lot of great work in the past highlighting our work and the Poudre River. In fact, we've been on the front page of the Coloradoan numerous times over the years, and we look forward to being there again along with headlines that are not false. WE DO THE WORK AND WE GET PUBLIC ATTENTION! And, of course, it's your financial investment in our organization that gets all of this work done. You can invest in Save The Poudre by clicking here. Gary Wockner, director, Save The Poudre
1/26/2024 For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310 With Compromise Denied, Save The Poudre Files Federal Lawsuit Against Army Corps For Giving Permit To NISP Fort Collins: Yesterday, Save The Poudre filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Denver against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) for giving a 2023 permit to the Northern Integrated Supply Project (“NISP). The lawsuit comes in the 20th year of bungled and massively delayed permitting for the NISP boondoggle which was proposed to cost $143.9 million in 2005 permitting documents, but was recently revealed to cost $2.25 billion in a 2023 Colorado Open Records Act filing. NISP proposes to divert a very large amount of water out of the Cache la Poudre River in Larimer County which would cause severe damage to the River, the aquatic life in the River, the new Poudre River Whitewater Park in downtown Fort Collins, as well as to the riparian corridor through Fort Collins and downstream. In some months and years, NISP would divert 65% of what water is left in the River which is already heavily diverted by farms and cities. The lawsuit alleges that the Army Corps violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Clean Water Act when the Corps gave a permit to NISP. Throughout the nearly 20 years of the federal permitting process, NISP claimed that it required 40,000 acre feet of water, and thus screened out many smaller and less environmentally damaging alternatives that could’ve met the needs of the participants, including conservation alternatives proposed by Save The Poudre. The lawsuit is posted here. And then, in a 2021 hail-Mary attempt to get a massive $464 million bailout from the U.S. taxpayer through a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) loan program, NISP revealed in the application that it only needed 20,000 acre feet of water and could get by building only half of the project for now. A smaller half-sized project would’ve required a completely different NEPA analysis revealing smaller and much less environmentally damaging alternatives, including more conservation options. The half of the project that would be built with the EPA loan was the Glade Reservoir complex in Larimer County, while the other half of the project, the Galeton Reservoir complex in Weld County, would be put on hold due to the exorbitant cost overruns. The cost overruns that catapulted NISP to $2.25 billion didn’t even include the cost of buying, or buying out, thousands of acres of irrigated farms in Weld County for Galeton Reservoirs’ so-called “water secure” program. The loan application to the EPA was filled out and signed by the NISP project manager, and it included declaring that any false information in it was subject to criminal prosecution. In 2022, Save The Poudre publicly announced a “compromise” that would allow NISP to be built if it sent all of its water downstream in the Poudre River in Larimer County instead of draining the river and diverting the water out into pipelines. Save…