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
June 10, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310
Save The Poudre Sues to Stop NISP Damage on Fort Collins Natural Areas
Fort Collins: Yesterday, Save The Poudre filed a lawsuit in state district court in Larimer County against the Northern Integrated Supply Project’s (“NISP”) attempt to use the SPAR (Site Plan Advisory Review) process for placing a diversion structure, pump station, and massive pipeline across City of Fort Collins’ Natural Areas (the lawsuit is posted here).
The City Land Use Code makes perfectly clear that SPAR can only be used if NISP “owns or operates” the City Natural Area property, which NISP does not. Further, City Manager Darin Atteberry sent a memo to the City Council on April 16, 2020, telling the Council that NISP had to buy the land, negotiate an easement, or condemn the Natural Areas by eminent domain in order to build the project, but NISP has not done any of those things (the memo is posted here).
“We’re proud to stand up and defend the citizen-owned Natural Areas,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. “If the whole Hughes Stadium issue taught the City government anything, it’s that the people of Fort Collins want their Natural Areas to be protected, restored, and enhanced, not degraded and diminished.”
The City staff has scheduled a hearing at the Planning and Zoning Commission for NISP on June 30th. Save The Poudre in turn filed a “temporary restraining order” with the court against the City to stop the Commission hearing. Save The Poudre alleges that the City is not enforcing its own land use code and is letting NISP skate by with a bogus review process instead of forcing NISP through a rigorous permit application that must require the review of the full City Council.
NISP would drain water out of Natural Areas along the Poudre River throughout Fort Collins, thereby draining wetlands, drying up the riparian forest, and diminishing wildlife habitat. Homestead Natural Area, Kingfisher Natural Area, and Riverbend Ponds Natural Area would be further degraded by the construction of a water diversion structure, pump station, and massive pipeline.
“NISP is a massively damaging project that would degrade and destroy City-owned Natural Areas that were bought and paid for by City ratepayers and taxpayers. The people of Fort Collins love their Natural Areas and we are excited to stand up and defend the citizens and their property against this environmentally destructive project,” said Wockner.
Save The Poudre is joined in the lawsuit with No Pipe Dream Corporation.