Colorado attorney general launches probe of whistleblowers’ air-pollution control complaints
The Colorado Attorney General’s Office is hiring an independent investigator to probe whistleblower allegations that the state health department’s Air Pollution Control Division failed to properly enforce EPA air quality standards.
The Colorado Department of Law, led by Attorney General Phil Weiser, late Monday afternoon posted a request for proposals to investigate the detailed whistleblower complaint filed with the EPA’s Office of Inspector General on March 30. The whistleblowers alleged dozens of air pollution permits were issued unlawfully to companies, and that one of the whistleblowers was ordered to falsify data in order to get pollution estimates under permitted caps.
The posted request calls for “an independent and thorough investigation of factual allegations raised by CDPHE employees Rosendo Majano, De Vondria Reynolds and Bradley Fink in their letter dated March 30, 2021,” to the EPA. The request for an investigator said the contractor “will consider allegations in the EPA Letter that permits were unlawfully issued and that a CDPHE modeler was ordered to falsify data in a modeling report to ensure that no modeled violation would be reported.”
Chandra Rosenthal, an attorney for one of the whistleblowers, said the call for an independent probe signals Colorado’s “commitment to transparency, scientific integrity and combating air pollution.
A third-party investigator is needed because the attorney general would be representing CDPHE and the governor in any future action, said Joe Salazar, executive director of the climate action group Colorado Rising and a former legislator. Salazar said the AG’s office worked closely with environmental groups, Green Latinos and the Colorado Latino Forum to shape the request for a third party.
“I’ve been thrilled with the level of work and cooperation the AG’s office has shown us,” Salazar said.
To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.
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