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NISP Review Delayed Again

Posted on December 17, 2015

The review timeline for the Northern Integrated Supply Project has been extended again. It’s the latest in a series of pushbacks for a proposal to build two new reservoirs in Northern Colorado to supply 40,000 acre feet of water each year to 15 participating communities and water districts.

The final environmental impact statement for the project, which will come in advance of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ ruling on whether Northern Water can build two reservoirs drawing from Poudre and South Platte river water, is now projected to come out in 2017 instead of the previously predicted summer 2016.

The delay comes because the Army Corps needs to complete 13 complex tasks before releasing the final EIS. Some of those tasks include adding more measures to mitigate the project’s environmental impacts, completing analysis of alternatives to NISP and finishing models that predict how the project would affect water quality and temperature.

The Army Corps also wants to take “a hard look” at public comments on the last version of the environmental impact statement that came out in June, project manager John Urbanic wrote in an email. After looking at the comments, the Army Corps may decide to conduct additional analysis of the project.

“Between the anticipated activities and review of comments we do not think that a 2016 release of the Final EIS is realistic and we adjusted the estimated release into 2017,” Urbanic wrote.

NISP has made headlines for years, and you won’t stop hearing about it anytime soon. The environmental impact statement released this summer was seven years in the making. If the Army Corps gives the project a thumbs-up, its decision can be challenged in court, which could trigger a lengthy judicial process.

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