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Judge rules Marshall Fire debris removal can move ahead

The county said this will allow them to move forward with signing the contract with DRC as early as March 22 for Marshall Fire debris removal.

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. — A group that filed a lawsuit over Boulder County's Marshall Fire debris removal contracting process is no longer asking a judge to direct the county to rebid the contract.

On Friday, a judge made it official and denied the request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that would have kept Boulder County from a signing a contract.

The contract, estimated to cost more than $52 million, is the focus of a lawsuit filed in February by Demanding Integrity In Government Spending (DIGS). The newly-formed nonprofit claimed Boulder County broke open meetings laws and wasn't transparent when it picked a contractor to remove debris as part of its Private Property Debris Removal program.

In early February, county commissioners selected DRC Emergency Services to clean up debris from the Dec. 30 fire.

On Tuesday, DIGS filed a brief saying it would no longer ask for an order to restart the bidding process. That development and the judge's ruling Friday should clear the county to sign the contract with DRC.

The county could sign the contract as early as Tuesday, March 22. Once the contract is signed, the debris removal process can begin. The town manager of Superior told the board of trustees that debris removal could start March 28.

DIGS was created by Michael Brown, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Brown resigned from that role after criticism of how FEMA handled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Residents who opposed the lawsuit say that Brown had no place in filing the lawsuit, calling him an "outsider" with no connection to the fire.

RELATED: Marshall Fire survivors hold rally in opposition of lawsuit about debris clean-up

During Friday's hearing, the judge also heard arguments on two other issues: whether Boulder County violated open meetings law and whether DIGS has standing to file the lawsuit.

Another hearing is set for 11 a.m. March 30.

RELATED: Marshall Fire survivors share struggles, obstacles with Neguse, local leaders

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