The Friends of Wolf Creek celebrated a monumental victory on February 19, 2008. Culminating 16 months of legal wrangling, the U.S. Forest Service and developer Red McCombs agreed to go back to the drawing board and complete a fair and unbiased Environmental Impact Statement for the controversial development proposed at the top of Wolf Creek Pass.

This settlement is a tremendous victory for the environment and the citizens of Colorado and the Nation. After nine years of false starts, behind-closed-door dealings and tainted analysis, the public will finally get a fair review of the Village’s thus far unregulated impacts.

The settlement comes after US District Court Judge John Kane issued a Preliminary Injunction on October 4, 2007, stopping the project from moving forward. Rather than wait for a final ruling from Judge Kane, the Forest Service and developers agreed to fulfill plaintiff’s demands, and complete an entirely new EIS.

This agreement gives us everything we asked for in our lawsuit. Beginning in 1999, we argued the Forest Service was required to conduct a complete and unbiased analysis of the development’s environmental impacts. This lawsuit, and the resulting settlement agreement, put a stop to the attempted end run around such analysis, and makes clear to the Forest Service and the developers that whatever is proposed for this site in the future will have to be done with full public disclosure and adherence to the highest environmental protection standards.”

If McCombs decides to move forward with this project at all, we’re hopeful that the Forest Service and other regulatory agencies will now fulfill their legal responsibility to protect the public and our resources from damage.

It is unknown at this point what form the Village at Wolf Creek will take when McCombs re-applies for permission to build roads through public forest land to access his proposed development site, or what timeline any new proposal would proceed on, but what is now clear is that as a result of this settlement agreement, the public will have a true picture of the environmental impacts of such a development and an opportunity to be involved in the new decision making process.

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