Colorado has chosen outside attorneys to investigate whistleblower allegations that state health department managers ordered employees to stop measuring harmful surges of toxic pollution at industrial sites.
Attorneys at the national firm Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP will serve as independent special assistants to conduct the investigation into “alleged improper non-enforcement of air quality standards,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said Thursday said in a statement, declining further comment.
Gov. Jared Polis and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment director Jill Hunsaker Ryan in April directed Weiser to conduct a probe of the allegations by three whistleblowers in the health department’s Air Pollution Control Division.
The whistleblowers sent a formal complaint on March 30 to the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general alleging a culture of approving permits for industrial polluters at all costs, sacrificing public health.
Their complaint focused on permits allowing oil and gas industry facilities north of metro Denver. EPA officials have deferred to the state for initial investigation.
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