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Pikes Peak Highway Update

The Pikes Peak Sierra Club Group is proceeding with its lawsuit against the City of Colorado Springs and Forest Service regarding gravel pollution caused by the Pikes Peak Highway. The federal district court recently rejected in its entirety a motion by the Forest Service to dismiss the Sierra Club claims against the Forest Service. Motions for summary judgment by both the City and Sierra Club are currently pending. In its most recent pleadings, the City does not deny that gravel from the Pikes Peak Highway migrates from the Highway, or that streams, wetlands and reservoirs are impacted by this gravel, but argues that the Highway does not constitute a "point source" under the Clean Water Act, and that the Sierra Club therefore does not have the legal right to the relief sought. In an unexpected development, United States has filed a brief in response to the City’s motion. The Unites States’ brief argues, contrary to the City’s position, that the Pikes Peak Highway is a point source and is therefore required to get appropriate discharge permits and certification.

We regard these events as extremely encouraging, and as vindicating our decision to file suit as a means of bringing the City into compliance with the Clean Water Act. However, despite their recognition of the serious environmental problem on Pikes Peak, our city leaders are still fighting in every way possible to avoid implementing their own mitigation plan (the Drexel Barrell Plan) within their own lifetimes. We feel that it is vital for us to continue our legal efforts.

The Pikes Peak Group continues to incur substantial costs in protecting the environment on Pikes Peak. Anyone interested in making a donation to support its efforts can send a check (made out to PPG Pikes Peak Fund) to the Sierra Club Pikes Peak Group at Post Office Box 588, Monument, Colorado, 80132.

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