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Whistleblowers Accuse Colorado's Air Pollution Control Division Of Ignoring Environmental Standards

A cloud of smog hangs over Denver in the distance.
Rick Kimpel
CC BY-SA 2.0
Experts say the North Front Range region, which includes Denver, has high concentrations of ground-level ozone and smog that could lead to respiratory health issues and heart disease.

In March 2021, three employees of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment accused high-level leaders in the Air Pollution Control Division of ignoring federal evaluation standards for some of the state’s major polluters, like oil and gas companies. The employees filed a formal whistleblower complaint with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

In response, the EPA and Colorado State Attorney General Phil Weiser launched investigations into the APCD. On Sept. 24, APCD released the findings of the attorney general’s independent investigation. It found that, although some of the modeling data contained errors and some policies were "inadequate," the whistleblower claims of falsifying data and suppressing information were not substantiated. The EPA investigation is still ongoing.

After the complaint was filed, Colorado Newsline reporter Chase Woodruff began looking into the inner workings of APCD. Last week, he released “Smokescreen,” a four-part series on his findings. He joined Colorado Edition to talk about what he learned.

As a producer for Colorado Edition, I pitch segment ideas, pre-interview guests, craft scripts and cut audio. I also write tweets, build web posts and occasionally host.