Linda Griego, a Board member of Save Rural NoCo, wrote a guest column for the Coloradoan November 22, 2020.
November 4, 2020
For Immediate Release
Fort Collins: Today the Larimer County Commission finalized its
"Findings and Resolution" for the 1041 permit for the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP). On a 2-1 vote, the F & R was ratified by biased, lame-duck Commissioners Tom Donnelly and Steve Johnson, with Commissioner John Kefalas opposed.
Also today, Save The Poudre directed its legal team to accelerate the legal battle against Larimer County to overturn this illegal and biased decision by these two commissioners.
First, Save The Poudre will continue pursuing its lawsuit against Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson, arguing their bias in the decision process. In violation of the Larimer County Land Use Code and Colorado Constitution, both Donnelly and Johnson voted on the NISP permit; a quasi-judicial decision process; when they had already and repeatedly stated their biased support for NISP.
Second, Save The Poudre will soon be filing a new lawsuit against the County, arguing that the County's 1041 permit for NISP violates the Larimer County Land Use Code on multiple grounds.
Third, in the coming weeks and months, Save The Poudre will seek all available remedies to overturn the County’s illegal and biased NISP decision.
NISP would drain and destroy the Cache la Poudre River through Fort Collins, and is thus the most disastrous and environmentally destructive project in Larimer County history. Any decision about NISP should reflect the future of the County, not the past, said Gary Wockner, director of Save The Poudre. "We will do everything possible to overturn this illegal, biased decision by these two lame-duck commissioners."
In the September 2 Larimer County Commissioner's meeting, the Commissioners voted 2-1 to support the monstrous NISP 1041 application, despite overwhelming opposition from residents, property owners, scientists and Poudre River advocates.
Members of the grassroots No Pipe Dream organization had hoped that the commissioners would put their constituents and the health of the state’s only National Heritage River before their personal desire for a new flat water reservoir.
No Pipe Dream’s CORA (Colorado Open Records Act) requests and research exposed Commissioners Tom Donnelly’s and Steve Johnson’s decade long bias and endorsement of NISP. Consequently, we are not surprised with tonight’s 2-1 vote, but bitterly disappointed as we envision NISP’s wide ranging impacts on our Larimer County homes, properties and quality of life.
A petition was formally submitted asking Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson to recuse because of obvious prior support of NISP.
Only Commissioner John Kefalas expressed reservations about the application. Lame duck commissioners, Johnson and Donnelly, failed our organization and the citizens of Larimer County, who have argued long and hard that NISP is unsustainable, disastrous for the Poudre River and injurious to residents who live and make their livelihood in the pathway of the river-draining proposal.
Considering that the Thornton 1041 pipeline application was refused, preparations are being made to resist the approval of the NISP pipelines in their 1041 application
The No Pipe Dream Corporation (NPD), along with Save Rural NoCo (SRN) and Save The Poudre (STP,) have worked collaboratively for the last 12 months to insure that citizen concerns will be fairly heard, when the Larimer County Commissioners consider the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) 1041 Application, that started on Monday, August 17, 2020.
Those efforts and research have revealed Commissioner Tom Donnelly’s and Commissioner Steve Johnson’s decade-long bias in favor of the NISP application, rendering a fair hearing impossible.
The 3 organizations, representing thousands of Larimer County residents, formally request Donnelly’s and Johnson’s recusal for violation of the Board’s own ex parte standards for land use applications. (See attached request and 29 bias exhibits in the pages below.)
For over 10 years, Donnelly and Johnson publicly supported NISP, endorsed NISP at rallies and in numerous publications and communicated directly with the applicant, Northern Water, all to the exclusion of public oversight.
At that time, NPD, SNC and STP followed the county attorney’s direction and, at the August 17 meeting asked that Donnelly and Johnson follow the example of the three members of the Larimer County Planning Commission, who recused themselves for lesser reasons on July 8, 2020.
Both Commissioner Johnson and Commissioner Donnelly refused to recuse themselves and stated that they feel capable of being impartial and will evaluate NISP's 1041 application objectively and fairly.
The following downloadable files contain the letter requesting recusal of Commissioners Donnelly and Johnson plus attachments giving evidence of bias.
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We know many of you have generously supported No Pipe Dream and, in doing so, have played a vital role in making so many of our voices heard. We cannot thank you enough.
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Address: P.O. Box 2465, Fort Collins, CO 80522 Copyright © 2020 Stop Thornton's Pipe Dream - All Rights Reserved
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