11/28/2023 For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310 Fort Collins, CO: Yesterday, Save The Poudre was informed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has "invited" the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) to apply for a massive loan of U.S. taxpayer money to try and bail out the $2.25 billion NISP boondoggle (see page 4 on the EPA's website here). NISP -- the massive proposed Poudre River dam project which has limped along for 20 years in permitting and in court -- was originally proposed to cost $140 million in 2004, and now is proposed to cost $2.25 billion (see our previous press release here about the cost of NISP). Two years ago, NISP sent a "letter of interest" to the EPA, asking for a $484 million loan from the U.S. taxpayer through the EPA's "Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act" (WIFIA) program to bailout the project. After NISP sent its letter of interest, Save The Poudre sent lengthy comments to the EPA about how the project should not receive a taxpayer loan (our comment letter to EPA is posted here). The EPA completely ignored Save The Poudre's comments and has now invited NISP to apply for a loan. "As our comments made clear, the EPA should be investigating NISP for the criminal violation of lying in its letter of interest, not asking NISP to apply for a loan," said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. "NISP purposely used 'falsification and misrepresentation' in its letter about the environmental impacts of NISP which is a criminal violation." In addition to ignoring Save The Poudre's comments, the EPA has also ignored the City of Fort Collins. As our 12/4/2021 press release points out, the City of Fort Collins has grave concerns about the impact of NISP on the Poudre River's water quality and the City's Natural Areas. To this day, the Fort Collins City Council has voted to be 100% opposed to NISP. "If the Biden Administration moves this loan forward, they will have effectively turned the EPA into the 'Environmental Destruction Agency,'" said Wockner. "NISP is lying to the federal government to try and get taxpayer money to bailout a massive river-destruction scheme which violates every ethical standard of the WIFIA program and what the EPA should be doing." This press release is posed here. ***end***
Hi Poudre River Lovers!
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Here’s the updates about the Poudre River you need to know.
First, today, Save The Poudre released a short report about “Cleaning the Poudre River so it can be used as a conveyance for water supply”. The report is posted here.
A background summary: Both the Thornton Pipeline and NISP claim they can’t run all of their water rights down the Poudre River through Fort Collins because the water quality in the river is too dirty due to the City’s stormwater runoff. While that may, or may not, be true, there are engineering solutions that can “clean” stormwater before it runs into the Poudre. These solutions are cost-effective, environmentally sound, and proven in other municipalities around the U.S.
We consulted with AbTech Industries (https://www.abtechindustries.com/) to provide some estimates of technologies and costs for cleaning the City’s stormwater before it runs into the Poudre. Our report, as well as AbTech’s website, provide lots of examples and photographs for you to consider.
Long-story short — all water providers can use the Poudre River as a conveyance, which would provide the following benefits:
- Increase quality-of-life for City and County residents,
- Preservation of the environment and natural habitat along the Poudre River corridor,
- Maintaining or increasing flows for recreation including at the new downtown Fort Collins Whitewater Park,
- Increase water quality and cleanliness in the Poudre River.
Save The Poudre is requesting that the County and City convene a “Working Group” to examine cleaning the Poudre River so it can be used as a conveyance for water supply.
Second, last week the City of Fort Collins informed NISP that their Site Plan Advisory Review (SPAR) application is “not complete”. Specifically, NISP has failed to describe how their proposal will impact flooding along the Poudre River in Fort Collins. We are continuing to closely monitor this application and process. As we’ve noted before, we strongly believe that SPAR is an illegal use for NISP, and that the City should require a full development review of NISP that covers ALL OF THE DAMAGE NISP would cause to Fort Collins’ Natural Areas. The City has so-far refused to change direction, although they are investigating creating “1041 powers” for NISP. At this time, Save The Poudre is still in strong opposition to the City’s approach.
Third, the Thornton Pipeline continues to suffer serious setbacks, which is good! Last week, the Weld County Commissioners voted unanimously to “deny” Thornton’s 1041 application for their pipeline. Where this will all end, we don’t know, but we continue to intervene in the court case against the Thornton Pipeline, and we continue to work to require Thornton to send their water down the Poudre River through Fort Collins.
Thank you for your support. Again you can donate online by clicking here.
Stay tuned for all the action!
Director, Save The Poudre