Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser Thursday ordered an independent investigation into a whistleblower complaint aimed at allegations of improper enforcement of air quality standards at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
In April, the majority of Longmont City Council called for Weiser to open a probe of the whistleblower allegations. The council sent a letter to Weiser outlining allegations made by three state employee whistleblowers. The allegations were filed with the EPA for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and reported by the Colorado Sun.
The whistleblowers alleged that managers of the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division, or APCD, ordered their staff to falsify data and approve permits “at all costs.”
Councilmember Marcia Martin urged the council to send the letter, which states the city of Longmont has at “public expense” engaged eminent atmospheric scientist, Detlev Helmig, to provide air quality monitoring in and around the city. “We are committed to advocating for a healthy environment,” the letter states.
“We are therefore particularly distressed by the alleged behaviors of some in leadership at the APCD and the CDPHE, or Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. that, if true, represent a profound betrayal of the state’s responsibility to protect the health and well-being of its citizens and may constitute unlawful conduct,” the letter states.
Weiser, in a news release, stated “after CDPHE’s executive director requested a thorough and independent assessment of claims submitted to the agency, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office has opened an independent investigation of allegations regarding alleged improper non-enforcement of air quality standard as alleged by certain Air Pollution Control Division staff at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.”
Weiser said through a competitive process, his office appointed Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP as special assistant attorneys general to conduct the investigation.