Denver Water and Trump join together to undermine National Environmental Policy Act
Aug 24, 2020
By Gary Wockner
A week ago, Denver Water and the Trump administration joined together in trying to undermine the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and other environmental laws, as part of the federal government's review of the massive Gross Dam expansion in Boulder County, Colorado.
Both Denver Water and Trump's Department of Justice issued "motions to dismiss" in the lawsuit that Save The Colorado et al. have brought against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for giving a permit to the dam project. Both entities argue that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Federal Power Act "pre-empt" the Army Corps' environmental reviews under NEPA and other laws, and thus the case can only be litigated against FERC.
However, earlier in the this ongoing legal battle, FERC -- whose commissioners are appointed directly by President Trump -- denied Save The Colorado's motion to intervene in the FERC permit process. If both motions are successful, Save The Colorado and the public would be shut out of the permitting review process.
"Denver Water is locking arms with the Trump administration trying to silence public review, wreck the environment, and undermine an Act of Congress," said Gary Wockner, director of Save The Colorado.
The legal attempt to shut out the public has no precedent in case law, and is directly countered by FERC's own order which shut out Save The Colorado from the FERC proceeding. The FERC order states that the Corps is the "lead" agency and that FERC's order does not "shield the Corps from judicial review."
"Our attorneys are engaged and we are fighting this outrageous attempt to lock out the public every step of the way," continued Wockner. "Denver Water's bullying antics are now aligned directly with that of President Trump -- we will fight them both as long as it takes."
This press release is also posted here.