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Afternoon headlines February 3, 2017

Posted: February 3, 2017 at 2:29 pm by , in Headlines

The U.S. House of Representatives this morning passed a resolution to kill a Bureau of Land Management rule that prevents oil and gas operations on public lands from flaring or venting valuable methane gas, a known contributor to global warming.

Eliminating the federal methane rule will not affect Colorado directly, as the state has had its own methane waste regulations since 2014. Here, oil and gas operators are required to capture 95 percent of emissions and to find and repair all methane leaks. Colorado’s regulations actually served as the model for the federal rule. But that doesn’t mean the state won’t suffer if the rule is removed, Jessica Goad, communications director for Conservation Colorado, told the Colorado Independent.

“Air pollution does not respect state lines,” she said, pointing to Utah’s significant oil and gas production, “Without strong regulations on their facilities, air pollution could blow over to the western slope of Colorado. Colorado’s rule doesn’t negate the need for an umbrella over other states.”

Goad noted the state’s methane rule had support from the oil and gas industry itself. “It’s not everyday that we get up at a podium with Anadarko and Noble, but oil companies stood up with us on this. They knew that this is the Colorado way of doing things.”

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission could not be reached for their reaction to the House vote in time for publication. The Colorado Oil and Gas Association, an industry group, declined to comment.

The Senate is expected to vote on the methane rule next week.

The family of Michael Marshall, a mentally-ill homeless man who died after being restrained by Denver Sheriff’s deputies. is asking the city why its internal investigation has dragged on for more than a year now.

Marshall choked on his own vomit last November after he suffered a psychotic episode and deputies pinned him to the floor. The confrontation left him brain dead, and his family stopped life support after nine days.

The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner deemed the case a homicide. Then-Denver DA Mitch Morrissey decided not to prosecute the officers, saying that there was not enough evidence to assure a jury would find beyond a reasonable doubt that the force the deputies used was unreasonable. Still, the Sheriff’s Department announced last January that it would conduct a swift investigation into its deputies’ actions and assured the family that it would keep them notified.

So far, the family told the Independent, all it has received are letters saying the investigation remains underway.

“For months and months now, they keep sending us form letters saying we’ll have answers soon. But their answers never come. We are being ignored,” says Marshall’s niece, Natalia Marshall.

The Sheriff’s Department told the Independent only that “The administrative investigation is ongoing.”

Denver metro residents drove out in droves on the icy roads last night to North High School to ask their community leaders and local and state government officials what they plan to do to protect undocumented immigrants threatened by President Donald Trump’s executive order.

The Colorado Latino Forum swiftly organized the meeting to clarify Denver’s response to the president’s orders, which among other things, threaten to strip federal funding from so-called sanctuary cities.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock in recent days has said both that Denver is not a sanctuary city — and that it is. This is, in part, because the language of the executive order is vague and no official definition of sanctuary city exists. The bottom line, the mayor has said, is that Denver will not violate anyone’s constitutional rights in the name of the executive order.

About 600 people filled the high school auditorium to hear from a panel that included immigration lawyers, city council members, state lawmakers, the mayor’s chief of staff and the ACLU.

All assured those in the audience, that sanctuary city or not, Denver will protect its residents.

“There is a sense of urgency now,” Rudy Gonzales, Executive Director of the Colorado Latino Forum said the start of the forum. “Our home is burning. And we cannot become complacent, we can’t walk around like it’s business as usual.”

For more on these stories go to ColoradoIndependent.com.

Afternoon headlines are heard on KGNU Monday through Friday at 2.55pm