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Poudre River Update: We’re Back in Court Against NISP!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!


Thank you!

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