Standing to Protect Fountain Creek
Photo by Velma Campbell
For years, the Sierra Club has been pressuring the city of Colorado Springs to stop polluting Fountain Creek, which runs south through the city of Pueblo. Club activist and Pueblo resident Ross Vincent (above left with Sal Pace, district director for Congressman John Salazar) says there is documentation of more than 100 sewage spills so far this decade, and Pueblo parents warn their kids not to play in the creek, which contains high levels of E. coli. In 2005, the Sierra Club sued Colorado Springs for inadequate regulation under the Clean Water Act, but the city says the spills are accidents or acts of god, and has steadfastly maintained that the Club lacks legal "standing" to sue. But in late April, a U.S. District Judge ruled that the Sierra Club has standing in the case--one of the highest bars to cross in a Clean Water Act citizen suit. "We're going to win the battle to save Fountain Creek," says Vincent. "This campaign is an example of the Sierra Club at its best--dedicated Water Sentinels taking and analyzing water samples, top-notch legal support from the Law Program, and an amazing group of volunteers promoting a positive vision for the watershed and transforming the political landscape. It's a beautiful thing to see."