Background: Director Garry Kaufman of the Air Pollution Control Division of Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) announced a decision to take initial steps in 2020 to make the oil and gas complaint system more transparent and publicly accessible. The announcement aligns with several recommendations from a report detailing Earthworks’ 3-year investigation that revealed CDPHE’s public complaint system is effectively impossible for the public to use. Earthworks and impacted community members have previously engaged with CDPHE regarding positive steps the agency should take to address the current failure of the public complaint system to respond to and protect Coloradans.
Statement by Nathalie Eddy, Colorado and New Mexico Field Advocate at Earthworks:
“CDPHE is seizing an opportunity to earn the trust of Coloradans who have repeatedly asked for protection from the harms of oil and gas activities. The inadequacies of the public complaint system are among the several reasons why Earthworks and others have called on Colorado to stop permitting new operations. CDPHE’s expressed commitment to address some of these issues lays the foundation for agency action to put the public interest ahead of industry’s.
“This is an initial step, and we hope CDPHE will continue to build momentum to transform into the agency Coloradans want and need it to be.
“More work remains to be done by Governor Polis’ administration to fulfill his promise to reduce the pollution that harms health and climate. But this commitment signals the administration is moving in the right direction.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Earthworks Report: Loud and Clear: What public regulatory complaints reveal about Colorado’s oversight of oil and gas pollution and whom it serves (October 2020)
- Earthworks Report: Putting the Public First – How CDPHE can overcome its legacy of prioritizing oil and gas industry interests ahead of public health, safety, welfare and the environment (March 2020)