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November 3, 2021
Boulder County Commissioners sign Settlement Agreement 

Litigation is no longer an option. 
Gross Dam expansion project will start construction in April of 2022.

We are heartbroken by Boulder County's decision to sign a settlement agreement with Denver Water that forfeited the rights of citizens to use the 1041 powers to stop this devastating project. Boulder county lawyers negotiated a deal with Denver Water and the commissioners then felt they had no choice but to sign off on the paltry terms of the agreement. In a Letter to the Commissioners on November 1st, TEG, along with our partner Save the Colorado (STC), pleaded with the Boulder County Commissioners not to sign the agreement. Instead we requested that they hold out for a more comprehensive mitigation package that would have better met the demands of residents near the reservoir and, more significantly, addressed the environmental damage this project will cause. The Boulder County Commissioners did not respond to our request. Instead they publicly mis-represented our stance, signed a deal with Denver Water and agreed to have the 1041 lawsuit voluntarily dismissed. The details of the final settlement agreement can be found here.

This week TEG and STC submitted a formal response to the county and court's actions in our "Intervenors' Response to Denver Water's Motion for Voluntary Dismissal and the Settlement Agreement Underlying the Motion." This response lays out our exceptions to, and concerns with, the proceedings of the 1041 case and the settlement agreement. It also documents clearly that TEG and STC were NOT parties to that agreement. You can read that document here.

TEG's effort to stop this project was long and complex. As a tiny organization we did everything we could to support the local community in this decades-long fight. We could never have made the impact we did without the support of our members. Many of you spent long hours over many years writing letters, attending meetings, speaking to officials and supporting us financially.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

In the end, Denver Water threatened use of FERC's "Federal Power Act" to intimidate the county and to ultimately override and pre-empt both the Army Corps of Engineers' permitting process and Boulder County's 1041 permitting process.

We're very sorry for this outcome, but we are where we are due to Boulder county's actions. They are 100% responsible for dealing with the aftermath of their outrageous decisions. Every question about timelines, impacts, enforcement, financial reimbursements from settlement, mitigation, etc. should be addressed to the Boulder County Commissioners. Their contact information is here.

The current status of the project from Denver Water's perspective can be tracked here.

This project will attempt to divert a new 3.5 billion gallons of water out of the Colorado River every year to fill Gross Reservoir. It will devastate the environment around Gross Reservoir for wildlife and people, and will decimate the headwaters of the Colorado River. Climate scientists predict that there will be less water in the Colorado River in future years and the expanded reservoir will likely never fill. This dam will stand as a lasting monument to Denver Water's catastrophic denial of climate change.

It is a travesty - and it is tragic for the residents of Boulder County.

On December 19, 2018, TEG, alongside the Sierra Club, Save the Colorado, Wildearth Guardians, Waterkeepers Alliance and Living Rivers, filed a lawsuit suing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with claims that they violated:

  • The National Environmental Policy Act

  • Clean Water Act

  • Endangered Species Act 

When the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued their order allowing Denver Water to proceed with the expansion of Gross Dam they laid out tight timelines for completion. Denver Water then almost immediately dropped their nuisance suit against Boulder County where they claimed they were exempt from local jurisdiction.They are now in a hurry. We are not!

Denver Water submitted a 1041 permit application to Boulder County In November,  2020. In July 2021 Boulder County Land Use Director announced that they would accept the application and proceed with evaluation. Public Hearings are to be held in August and September. Public input is

What's next?

This project is not a done deal. Denver Water increased their media attention around the project, stating 2020 as a factual the start date for construction. All the while, Denver Water is tied up in litigation on multiple fronts. 

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