Whistleblower allegations that Colorado’s health department interfered with staff efforts to properly enforce federal air quality standards are unsubstantiated
DENVER (AP) – Whistleblower allegations that the state health department’s air pollution division interfered with staff efforts to properly enforce federal air quality standards are unsubstantiated, according to an independent report released Friday by the Colorado attorney general’s office.
The Colorado Department of Law, which is led by Attorney General Phil Weiser, hired the independent investigator after a complaint was filed with the Environmental Protection Agency’s office of inspector general in March.
Three whistleblowers alleged that dozens of air pollution permits were issued unlawfully by the health department’s Air Pollution Control Division to companies, and that at least one whistleblower was asked to falsify data to get pollution estimates under permitted limits.
They also alleged that health department division leaders ignored EPA regulations on modeling and permitting short-term pollutants from important Colorado industries – including mines, asphalt plants and oil and gas gathering sites. They said the permits were part of a larger problem of state officials allegedly catering to industry.
The Denver Post reports that the findings released Friday didn’t substantiate the claims of fraud and suppression.