October 27, 2017

Suit filed to stop Chimney Hollow reservoir project

Environmental groups on Thursday filed a lawsuit against federal agencies to stop a project that would divert water from the Colorado River to satisfy thirst among a dozen Front Range communities.

The Greeley Tribune reported that the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, questions the need for the Windy Gap Firming project, which would ensure the full complement of more than 40,000 acre feet of water is diverted from the Colorado and eventually stored in the planned, $400 million Chimney Hollow Reservoir the Front Range communities would share near Carter Lake.

“This case boils down to inadequate analysis and poor decision-making resulting in significant water diversions from the already depleted Colorado River,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed by Save the Colorado, Save the Poudre, WildEarth Guardians, Living Rivers and the Waterkeeper Alliance, a collection of nonprofit environmental groups that have long opposed the project, the Tribune reported.

It was filed against the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for their roles in approving the project in May and conducting the environmental impact statement. In April 2016, Gov. John Hickenlooper endorsed the project, as well.

Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District spokesman Brian Werner told the Tribune that he hasn’t had much time to review the lawsuit, but he expects the project to eventually move forward. The Windy Gap firming project moves water in wet years from the Western Slope and stores it for use when needed.

 

Environmental groups on Thursday filed a lawsuit against federal agencies to stop a project that would divert water from the Colorado River to satisfy thirst among a dozen Front Range communities.

The Greeley Tribune reported that the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, questions the need for the Windy Gap Firming project, which would ensure the full complement of more than 40,000 acre feet of water is diverted from the Colorado and eventually stored in the planned, $400 million Chimney Hollow Reservoir the Front Range communities would share near Carter Lake.

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