For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310 Fort Collins Refuses To Implement Water Conservation Measures To Save Ratepayers' Money Legal Battle Over Massive Halligan Dam Looms Fort Collins, CO: Today, Save The Poudre sent its comments on the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed massive new Halligan Dam on the North Fork of the Poudre River to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The massive new dam is proposed to be built by the City of Fort Collins Water Utility to meet so-called "drought protection". Save The Poudre's comments are posted here. Specifically, Save The Poudre points out in its comments: The City and the Army Corps completely fail to provide a cost comparison of the alternatives which makes the FEIS meaningless. The City Water Utility completely fails to discuss water conservation measures that would replace the need for the over $300 million new dam. The City Water Utility's water use has been going down, not up, for the last 20 years, but the FEIS relies on water-use data that is now 10 years old while predicting that the higher 10-year old water use will persist for the next 25 years. The City Water Utility claims it needs more water to also lease water to farmers in northern Larimer County, but completely ignores the fact that the Utility' charter is legally disallowed from raising rates on ratepayers to serve water to farmers outside the Utility boundary. "Nearly 20 years ago when this big dumb dam project was supposed to only cost $35 million, I stood in front of the City Council and told them that water conservation was faster, easier, cheaper, and more environmentally sustainable than a massive new dam," said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. "Now here we are two decades later when the cost of the dam is 10 times higher and the City still refuses to implement aggressive water conservation." "This project is an extreme waste of ratepayers' money, and the Environmental Impact Statement appears to violate the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act," said Wockner. "We urge the Corps to deny the permit and force the City to implement aggressive water conservation." ***end***
For Immediate Release
Dec. 4, 2021
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310
Poudre River-Killing Dam Project Seeks Half-Billion Dollar Fed Bailout From Infrastructure Act
Fort Collins, CO: Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is potentially inviting the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) to seek a half-billion dollar bailout from money provided in the federal Infrastructure Act (see announcement here). In the announcement, EPA Administrator Michael Regan said the money would go to projects that would “safeguard public health, especially in underserved and under-resourced communities.”
Addressing those two points, Save The Poudre points out:
First, about public health, NISP would severely impact the health of the Cache la Poudre River through Fort Collins by draining up to half of its water during the late spring and early summer. This fact has caused the City of Fort Collins — which would bear all the negative impacts of NISP — to vote to oppose NISP on several occasions. About NISP, the City of Fort Collins’ website right now states:
“The loss of springtime flows is likely to:
- cause fine sediment to clog riverbed habitat adversely impacting fish and insect health in the river
- lead to vegetation growing into the river channel, shrinking the size of the river and possibly rising flood levels
- dry out riverside vegetation and cause a narrowing of the cottonwood forests and wetlands
These potential impacts to river health, may have a cascading impact on recreation opportunities on the river.”
Second, on the “underserved and under-resourced” communities issue, as just two examples of NISP participants’ privilege, right now on Realtor.com, the “median sold home price” in Erie, CO, is $710,000 and in Lafayette, CO, it’s $677,000.
“Apparently, Administrator Regan has never been to northern Colorado,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. “NISP is designed to destroy the health of the Cache la Poudre River and send its precious water to some of the fastest-growing, suburban, and most privileged communities in northern Colorado.”
NISP has been in federal, state, and local permitting processes for 18 years. In the past two years, Save The Poudre has filed 3 lawsuits against the project, one of which Save The Poudre won in the State Court of Appeals, and two of which are still pending in State District Court in Larimer County. Save The Poudre is waiting for the final permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and if the Corps green-lights NISP, Save The Poudre is prepared to challenge that decision in court.
When NISP was proposed in 2004, its was estimated to cost $350 million; that price has ballooned to at least $1.1 billion as most recently stated in 2018. Further, NISP has to buy at least 20,000 acres of farms in northern Colorado to obtain the water for the project, a cost that has not yet been publicly revealed.
“NISP is the most controversial, most environmentally damaging, and most expensive project in northern Colorado history,” said Wockner. “The EPA absolutely should not try to bail out this ridiculous river-killing boondoggle.”
This press release is posted here.