2/22/2024 For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The Poudre, 970-218-8310 Save The Poudre Opposes House Bill 24-1107, "Judicial Review of Local Land Use Decision" Fort Collins: An extremely dangerous, anti-democratic bill has been introduced into the Colorado State Legislature titled, "Judicial Review of Local Land Use Decision." HB24-1107 would allow defendants in lawsuits -- including developers, quasi-governmental agencies, and local/state govt -- to obtain their attorneys fees against plaintiffs -- including citizen and non-profit groups -- if the defendants won in court in so-called "Rule 106" conflicts. Forcing local citizen groups and non-profits to pay the attorneys fees of developers and agencies would hamstring the enforcement of local and state laws. In fact, right now Save The Poudre is in court in a Rule 106 lawsuit against the former Larimer County Commissioners, and Northern Water, for giving a permit to the Northern Integrated Supply Project, a massive proposed dam that would further drain the Poudre River in Fort Collins. Save The Poudre has already lost in district court and is currently in the state court of appeals with the lawsuit. If Save The Poudre was required to pay attorneys fees of defendants Larimer County and Northern Water, it could easily eclipse Save The Poudre's entire yearly ~$100,000 budget. "This bill is an extreme pro-developer bill intended to squash public dissent and squash local non-profits fighting to protect the environment," said Gary Wockner of Save The Poudre. "We strongly encourage the legislature to kill this bill and find ways to raise the voices of citizens instead of trying to change state law to silence dissent." HB24-1107 is scheduled to be heard in the House Transportation, Housing, and Local Government Committee at 1:30 on Thursday, February 27th. ***end***
Hi Friends of the Poudre,
We received a wild flurry of media attention about our lawsuit against the Northern Integrated Supply Project.
First, the prominent D.C. publication, The Hill, highlighted our lawsuit to their national audience. We happy to get this national attention for the Poudre River as well as our work to protect it. The Hill noted that we tried to reach a compromise with NISP, but NISP refused, and so we had no choice but to sue them.
Second, CBS TV News in Denver ran a wonderful video segment about the lawsuit that interviewed our amazing Board Chair, Mark Easter, who point-blank told CBS that “If we lose the peak flows, we effectively lose the river.” Indeed, NISP is purposely designed to steal the peak flows out of the river which would harm the fish, wildlife, riparian ecosystem, and the new whitewater park in downtown Fort Collins.
Third, the Colorado Sun broke the story and did a good job (as they always do) highlighting our work to protect the river. The Sun probably does the best work in the state telling water and river stories, and we were happy to work with them to break the story. The Sun reporter, Michael Booth, used to work for the Denver Post many years ago and is the same reporter that put our story on the entire front page of the Denver Post back in 2008. We are always happy to work with Booth to highlight Poudre River stories.
The story appeared in other publications as well, including the Fort Collins Coloradoan. Unfortunately the Coloradoan put a false title on the story and so we’re not going to share it. The Coloradoan has done a lot of great work in the past highlighting our work and the Poudre River. In fact, we’ve been on the front page of the Coloradoan numerous times over the years, and we look forward to being there again along with headlines that are not false.
WE DO THE WORK AND WE GET PUBLIC ATTENTION!
And, of course, it’s your financial investment in our organization that gets all of this work done.
Gary Wockner, director, Save The Poudre