Hi Amazing Poudre River Lovers! We all knew this day would come, and come it has. Last Friday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sent out a press release saying they had signed the Record of Decision and 404 Permit for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). As we always do, we jumped into action to learn as much as possible and stay on top of the swirl of media. We had quotes in stories in the Denver Post and Colorado Sun over the weekend, and more are coming. While one phase of the battle to save the Poudre has almost ended, another begins. We will soon have two active lawsuits against NISP: 1) against the former Larimer County Commissioners who gave a permit to NISP. This lawsuit will play out in 2023. And 2) against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for giving a permit to NISP. We will file that lawsuit against the Army Corps in the coming weeks as soon as we are able to read and analyze the permit. This federal permit court fight could take 2 to 3 years in federal district in Denver. In both lawsuits, we are thrilled to have a Great Legal Team. Further, our attorneys have their minds and pens ready as the briefing schedules play out. We have worked with them for years preparing for this day and for the next year. Further, NISP still needs a 1041 permit from the City of Fort Collins which is a whole different permitting process and arena, and we are 100% engaged in this Fort Collins permit as well which could take another year to play out. Here's what we know in our hearts -- the Cache la Poudre River is the heart and soul of Fort Collins, and the people of Fort Collins want the river protected and increasingly restored. YOU have given us our marching orders and we intend to march into court to make sure the Poudre River gets its day in court. At the same time, we continue to communicate with anyone who will listen -- NISP, Fort Collins, Greeley, Thornton, Larimer County -- about finding some sort of solution that meets everyone's needs, not just the narrow needs of water suppliers. We are working on every level to protect and restore the Poudre, and 2023 will be busier than ever. YOUR SUPPORT IS WHAT WILL KEEP US CHARGING FORWARD IN 2023! You can donate online by clicking here. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT Gary Wockner, Mark Easter, and the STP Board/Team
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.