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Environment

Larimer Commissioners Pause Thornton Pipeline Talks Until December

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SEAN MUNSON/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
Water roars down the Poudre River in Larimer County. The city of Thornton is in the process of building a 70-mile pipeline to supply its growing population.

Larimer County commissioners have again delayed their vote on a controversial water pipeline the city of Thornton wants to build north of Fort Collins. The issue has been tabled until December.

At an Aug. 1 hearing, Commissioner Tom Donnelly criticized Thornton planners for their lack of public engagement, especially with families living along Douglas Road in Larimer County, who would be most-affected by its construction, he said.

“At this point there is absolutely no way I can vote in support of this 10-41 application,” he said.

Mark Koleber, Thornton’s water project manager, said the delay gives them time to study alternate routes and hold more public meetings.

“We don’t know if it’s one meeting, a number of meetings,” he said. “We really need to work on that.”

The proposed pipeline would allow Thornton to access Poudre River water it purchased rights to in the 1980s. The city says it needs the water by 2025 to support its growing population.

Opponents are concerned about safety and traffic during the construction period and also say the city could access the water further down the river. Thornton officials say accessing the water south of Fort Collins would increase costs overall.

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