Ten Western mountain towns feeling the effects of climate change are launching a campaign that targets the coal industry, seeking hundreds of millions of dollars a year from companies to help communities adapt.
The “Mountain Pact” towns in Colorado and neighboring states contend that, because coal is a major source of heat-trapping greenhouse gases linked to climate change, the industry should pay more to help deal with the impact.
In a letter being sent this week to federal officials, lawmakers and the White House, the towns demand changes in the federal government’s system for collecting royalties from coal companies, half of which flow back to states for local distribution.
Denver’s air is deteriorating, with increased ozone and soot, pushing the city from 26th to 13th among most-polluted cities in the nation, the American Lung Association said Wednesday in releasing a survey.
The troubling trend in Denver and Fort Collins, which rose to 16th among most-polluted U.S. cities, exemplified a slide in air quality across Western states, according to ALA officials, who based their analysis on federal and state government air data.
Rising temperatures and drought in the West are creating ideal conditions for episodes of high pollution from tiny particulates, the officials said. They’re urging installation of more air-testing stations to track the trend and protect public health.
Colorado on Friday joined a lawsuit by oil-producing states challenging the federal government’s new rules for fracking on federal public lands.
The lawsuit contends the U.S. Bureau of Land Management cannot impose regulations on hydraulic fracturing, arguing that federal law lets states regulate oil and gas operations. Wyoming and North Dakota launched the litigation.
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman issued a statement saying Colorado has robust regulations and that state regulators are doing a good job.
Colorado water providers facing a shortfall of 163 billion gallons are turning to a long-ignored resource: wastewater.
They’re calculating that, if even the worst sewage could be cleaned to the point it is safe to drink — filtered through super-fine membranes or constructed wetlands, treated with chemicals, zapped with ultraviolet rays — then the state’s dwindling aquifers and rivers could be saved.
Colorado officials at work on the first statewide water plan to sustain population and industrial growth recognize reuse as an option.
Suncor oil refinery operators responsible for a toxic spill that contaminated Sand Creek and the South Platte River have agreed to pay $1.9 million to settle a lawsuit by federal and state authorities.
A consent decree filed in U.S. District Court says the government authorities agree to drop further legal action unless the spill worsens. This settlement requires court approval after at least 30 days for public notice and comment.
Twice a month, Metropolitan State University student biologists David Watson and Stephen Aderholdt have been slogging through contaminated Bear Creek testing the water, at work on a mystery of how its once-pure currents turned foul.
They’ve documented E. coli bacteria levels up to 19 times higher than the state health limit. “Why is there so much E. coli? Where is it coming from?” Aderholdt, 31, said on the banks on a recent Saturday.
While government agencies have done their own testing and in 2008 deemed Bear Creek officially “impaired,” expanding data gathered by the students — trained by the Environmental Protection Agency and a community group called Groundwork Denver — may be crucial in crafting a cleanup plan.
Oil and gas spills are happening more often in Colorado — at a rate of two a day this year — and usually without anyone telling residents.
Colorado has seen nearly as many spills so far this year as were recorded in all of 2013 — a reflection of greater drilling activity, new reporting requirements and, the state says, tougher enforcement.
While the American Petroleum Institute industry trade group recently announced new standards encouraging companies to communicate more robustly with communities, API says this doesn’t include conveying details of spills — a task left to government.
State rules require companies to report spills to a Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission database, the owner of land where a spill happens, state health authorities if contaminants reach water, and a local government designee. But government officials generally don’t announce spills or otherwise notify nearby residents.
AURORA — Colorado officials sought public views on proposed new air-pollution rules for the oil and gas industry — and faced a barrage of concerns.
A majority of the 120 residents who signed up to testify Wednesday before state air-quality control commissioners strongly supported the rules to reduce toxic emissions.
“Air pollution burns our eyes, ears, noses and throats,” said Peggy Tibbets, who drove from Silt in western Colorado to testify.
Dealing with the toxic legacy of PCE and other cancer-causing chemicals poisoning soil, water and air inside buildings will require cooperation, lawmakers and state officials said this week.
The director of Colorado’s $500 million effort to clean up thousands of leaking underground storage tanks at gas stations said he envisions a possible role for his agency in accelerating cleanups.
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Spills releasing PCE, the cancer-causing chemical used in dry cleaning and metal degreasing, have produced at least 86 underground plumes across Colorado that are poisoning soil and water and fouling air inside buildings.
Cleaning up this chemical is a nightmare — a lesson in the limits of repairing environmental harm. The best that Colorado health enforcers and responsible parties have been able to do is keep the PCE they know about from reaching people.
But based on a review of Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment case files, people likely have been exposed.