Hi Friends of the Poudre, First, yesterday we filed a lawsuit "appeal" with the Colorado State Court of Appeals in Denver against the former Larimer County Commissioners and the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). Last month, a district court judge in Larimer County ruled against us, and because we strongly disagreed with the judge's decision, we are now appealing the decision in the state court system in Denver. In the lawsuit appeal, we principally claim that: Former Larimer County Commissioners Steve Johnson and Tom Donnelly were biased in their support of NISP and never should've been allowed to make a decision about the County permit in 2020. In the Larimer County permit process, NISP should've been required to analyze and use the "Poudre River Alternative" to send all of its water down the Poudre River rather than put the water in a pipeline north of Fort Collins. This State Court of Appeals lawsuit will play out over the next 6 - 18 months in Denver, and so you're support will keep us running through the tape! Second, in addition to this State lawsuit, we are still preparing our Federal lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for giving a permit to NISP. In fact, the 'statute of limitations' to file that lawsuit doesn't end for 5 more years, and if we move that case forward it could take several more years in court after that. As such, we are taking our time and being very careful and deliberate in our preparation of that lawsuit. Finally, NISP also has to get a permit from the City of Fort Collins, a process that hasn't even started yet. When that process does start, likely in early 2024, it will play out over 6 - 12 months within the City, and then if we don't agree with that decision, we can also challenge it in court. In summary, it could be YEARS in the future before the final outcome on NISP is decided. Throughout this entire process, we are working STOP NISP or get the best possible outcome for the Cache la Poudre River. In fact, last year we created and publicly supported a "compromise" solution (read about it here) that would allow NISP to be built, but run ALL of its water down the Poudre River instead of putting the River's precious water in a pipeline. So far, our compromise has not gotten traction. When NISP started out in 2004, it was supposed to cost $147 million, whereas in 2023, NISP is now supposed to cost $2.25 billion. We will continue to fight as long as it takes to make sure any money that is spent includes the protection and restoration of the Poudre River. It's YOUR SUPPORT that keeps us working hard, keeps us in court, and keeps the Poudre River alive! PLEASE DONATE ONLINE BY CLICKING HERE. Thank you!
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