Pueblo County commissioners are digging in their heels with respect to Colorado Springs' proposed Southern Delivery System, according to a report from Chris Woodka writing in the Pueblo Chieftain. From the article:
Pueblo County will not sit down with Colorado Springs next week in a workshop to determine mitigation for the Southern Delivery System as indicated during a public hearing. "They're not going to write our terms and conditions for us. That's just not the case," County Planning Director Kim Headley said Tuesday. "We'll share with them what we've come up with and get input, but they're not going to write these for us."
At Monday's hearing, SDS Director John Fredell told Pueblo County Commissioners that Colorado Springs and its consultants were planning an all-day workshop with county staff next week to work out details of the mitigation.
Headley said such a meeting had been mentioned earlier in talks with Colorado Springs about its application for a county 1041 permit, but no such meeting is now contemplated. Mitigation measures are expected to be discussed at the next county hearing on SDS at 6 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center. Public comment will be heard at a Feb. 4 hearing. At the Jan. 21 hearing, Colorado Springs also will have the opportunity to respond to several comments received after a Dec. 11 meeting. SDS is a $1.1 billion proposal by Colorado Springs, Security, Fountain and Pueblo West to build a 50-mile, 5Ê-foot diameter pipeline from Pueblo Dam to the northern communities. Pueblo West would tap into the line only if it comes from Pueblo Dam. Colorado Springs would pay for and receive 95 percent of the benefits...
Pueblo County staff clashed with Colorado Springs on several points during Monday's hearing, including issues of limiting SDS to levels, sources and facilities which are now outlined and the level of authority Pueblo County would have under the 1041 permit. Consultants Ray Petros, Paul Banks and Alex Schatz, as well as County Attorney Dan Kogovsek and Public Works Director Greg Severance bantered with Colorado Springs officials for about an hour Monday over parts of a Dec. 3 staff report that were rejected in a Dec. 23 rebuttal by Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs did not want to be pinned down on where future water would come from, even though the city claimed it has sufficient water supplies to fill the pipeline as it is now designed. "We're committed to using the water within the basin," Colorado Springs Water Chief Bruce McCormick told commissioners. He said that might include lease-fallowing arrangements with farmers or other sources of water from within the valley.
McCormick claimed Colorado Springs is not leading the effort to enlarge Lake Pueblo, even though it would be the largest beneficiary from the now-stalled Preferred Storage Options Plan by the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District. Colorado Springs signed on for half of the new storage space that would be created under PSOP. He also tried to allay fears that Colorado Springs would increase the 78 million gallons per day design presented to Pueblo County. "This will be our most expensive source of water and one that we want to use judiciously," McCormick said. Pueblo County staff suggested putting those ideas in writing...
Colorado Springs attorney David Robbins replied there would be other restraints on Colorado Springs' ability to move the water if that happened, including opposition from the Pueblo Board of Water Works, which is currently looking at purchasing shares on the ditch. New sources would also need to go through the county permit process, he said. "I fail to see the distinction between the need to permit one new source and not others," Petros said. "It's not a water supply project; it's a pipeline project," Robbins said. "If any changes occur, you can impose 1041 regulations at that time."
"Project participants oppose any condition in a 1041 permit that results in Pueblo County's ability to enforce the permits or other requirements of other authorities, such as the Bureau of Reclamation or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The reasons are both legal and practical." "Do state permits pre-empt county regulations?" Banks said, speaking of topics like Corps permits on Fountain Creek for things like erosion control and wetlands.
"My assumption is that Colorado Springs does not want to pre-empt Pueblo County from the protection of its citizens," Robbins said. Fredell said things like the stormwater enterprise, a two-county authority on Fountain Creek, and Colorado Springs' ongoing efforts to improve Fountain Creek are already in place. "Those provisions are in place," Fredell said. "We don't see it as a requirement (for SDS).[per thou]