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Colorado Daily Letters to the Editor - County Commissioners deserve kudos for showing backbone

Jan 6, 2020
By Stephen Robinson

Boulder County residents recently received some uplifting news. Boulder District Judge Andrew Macdonald ruled on Dec. 27 that Denver Water is required to undergo Boulder County’s permitting process for their proposed giant dam expansion at Gross Reservoir to be considered. Denver Water argued that they were exempt from permitting requirements, even though the Boulder County commissioners upheld Land Use Director Dale Case’s findings last spring. Denver Water subsequently filed a lawsuit against the County.

The many groups and individuals who have actively opposed Denver Water’s efforts over the last 10-plus years applaud the Boulder commissioners taking a strong stand to require that Denver Water adhere to the County’s land use and protections in order to be considered for a permit. The ungrounded (and unscientific) arguments that Denver Water has made for the project — little impact on wildlife, minimal impact on regional quality of life, and negligible environmental effects — have never added up. There is questionable evidence regarding whether the “future” water Denver Water proposes to draw from the Colorado River is even available, as studies cited by Colorado State University and University of Arizona have forecast significantly reduced flows.

For Denver Water to attempt the largest construction project in Boulder County history and the largest dam in Colorado in a county that prizes environmental protections, health and quality of life, it has amazed many of us who live in the region. Denver Water saying it’s cooperating and working with Boulder County while suing the County makes their position laughable. Our Boulder County commissioners deserve kudos for their backbone in telling Denver Water that there are principles worth standing up for. The 1041 process was voted in for the very reasons that supported our commissioners in saying “fill out your permit application” to Denver Water — and be thorough in your explanations.

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