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Gross Dam Expansion Fight Update

Nov 25, 2020

We want to give a huge thank you to everyone who sent in comments to Boulder County last week. Over 1,000 of you sent in comments from Save The Colorado's webpage, and several of you sent in additional longer comments. Further, TEG and Save The Colorado sent in a very long legal comment letter drafted by our science and legal team, with over 2 dozen exhibits, arguing for why Denver Water's application was not complete and should be rejected. As the deadline approached last week, Boulder County extended the deadline again to Dec. 17th, so we will be furthering our argument with even more comments over the next few weeks.

We'd also like to offer you a quick review and summary of the total permit picture for the proposed Gross Dam expansion. Three distinct permit process exist -- the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license, the Army Corps of Engineers permit, and the Boulder County 1041 permit.

  • FERC: Our legal team, as well as Boulder County, decided not to challenge the FERC license because it is less consequential about whether the dam is expanded or not.

  • ARMY CORPS: We, and 5 additional environmental group co-plaintiffs, have filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers arguing that their permit violated the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. That lawsuit is still ongoing in federal district court in Denver and probably won't be resolved until 2021 or later.

  • BOULDER COUNTY: As noted above, the Boulder County permit process has just begun, and we (and all of you!) have now submitted comments in the County permit process. Colorado state law gives Boulder County significant permit authority about if and how the Gross Dam expansion might occur, and we are taking it 100% seriously. No matter what you read or hear otherwise, committing to the County permit fight is our best move forward.

Thank you again for taking action and sticking with this fight! Protecting this special place we all call home is the very essence of "Thinking globally, and Acting locally". Stay tuned for more updates soon.

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