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!
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!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT
Gary Wockner, Mark Easter, and the STP Board/Team