Nestlé Waters Chaffee County project: Commissioner’s meeting recap

A picture named nestlehaffeepipelinec.jpg

From The Mountain Mail (Jennifer Denevan):

Forty-seven conditions on the 1041 permit application filed by Nestlé North American Waters were reviewed by board members Wednesday. Commissioner Tim Glenn said he felt the county has given Nestle plenty of time to review the conditions formed, in part, using public comment and that portion of the process is closed. Board members indicated they wanted to continue movement and review stipulations individually, ensuring they all understand what is meant and the language is what they want. Barbara Green, county 1041 special legal council, said there are different types of conditions – one of which is to hold Nestlé to promises the company has already made.

After discussion Wednesday, commissioners set the next deliberation meeting for 9 a.m. Aug. 19…

The 47 conditions reviewed Wednesday were within categories including general, water and wildlife habitat; access, easements and exception, construction, economy, project water supply, water rights, augmentation, traffic and air quality and mitigation fund. Jim Culichia of Felt, Monson and Culichia, LLC., discussed water rights and supply conditions with commissioners. He drafted those conditions and serves as water counsel to Chaffee County. Some conditions, such as the mitigation fund, were rephrased to reflect what commissioners want to accomplish with the conditions. Green noted having two funds might be a possibility to solve mitigation issues. One fund could be for on-going expenses, she said, and the second would be for unexpected expenses including litigation.

More coverage from The Pueblo Chieftain (Tracy Harmon):

To try to assuage the commission’s fears about impact to the watershed, water attorney Jim Culichia of Colorado Springs drafted 10 of the conditions. The complexity of the task, he said, was making conditions that would be enforceable through Nestle when it is the city of Aurora that plans to lease Nestle the 200 acre-feet of augmentation water annually. “We don’t have any control over what Aurora does, but we do have some control over what Nestle does. They (Aurora) have created a demand they did not have before this lease (with Nestle),” Culichia said. Specifically, Culichia drafted a condition that would require Nestle to temporarily stop pumping if water is in such short supply that Aurora has to use exchange water downstream of Pueblo. The idea, he said, is to have the augmentation water flow through Chaffee County to offset what is being pulled from the Arkansas basin in Chaffee County by Nestle. “We also would require (that) Nestle provide detailed accountings to prove water provided meets the agreement,” Culichia said.

In the event that Nestle continued to pump during lean water times, Culichia said he sought to make the condition enforceable by having a penalty associated with it. “For each acre-foot of water pumped during those times, they would have to give up two additional acre-feet,” Culichia said. For example, if Nestle pumped 10 acre-feet when prohibited, it would therefore be giving up 30 acre-feet of pumping rights, Culichia said.

Conditions also would limit the number of wells at two and limit pumping to 200 gallons per minute or 16.66 acre-feet per month…

In terms of economic impact, commissioners mulled permit conditions that would require local construction jobs be given first to Chaffee County residents or, if not possible, expanded to contractors within 25 miles of the county. The board also is considering requiring Nestle to purchase materials and supplies locally as well as hire no less than 50 percent of its water-truck drivers from Chaffee County.

Other conditions getting fine-tuning Wednesday dealt with limiting truck traffic to one truck per hour between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day, fishing access, a conservation easement, groundwater and wetlands monitoring and much more. The commission also directed county staff to revamp a condition dealing with a mitigation fund. The draft condition sets the fund at $50,000 but Chaffee County Commissioner Dennis Giese said he thought that was not enough.

More Nestlé Waters Chaffee County project coverage here and here.

Leave a Reply