Headlines April 2, 2021

Headlines April 2, 2021

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Lawsuit Over Gross Reservoir Expansion Thrown Out by Federal Judge

A lawsuit filed by environmentalists to stop a controversial damn proposed for Boulder County has been thrown out by a federal judge.

The lawsuit filed in 2018 by a coalition of environmental advocacy groups challenged the decision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue a permit for expansion of Gross Reservoir. The Daily Camera reports that the lawsuit alleged the corps failed to fully consider the environmental impacts of the project, violating several federal environmental laws.

The advocacy groups will now decide whether to appeal the judge’s decision after a meeting with their lawyers. If approved, the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project would be the largest construction project in the history of Boulder County. The project, being run by Denver Water, is to bring water for 1.5 million people along the Western Slope and the Front Range.

State Environmentalists Demand Action After Whistle Blower Complaints

Colorado environmental groups are demanding that the Colorado Governor initiate an independent investigation and remove the director of the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division after a whistleblower alleged the state is endangering public health through unlawful approval of permits.

In a news conference Thursday, the groups called for the removal of agency director Garry Kaufman who they say unlawfully approved permits for industry without federally-mandated modeling or monitoring. The environmental groups are responding to a report by the Colorado Sun showing that three state employees claim in a complaint to the U.S. EPA Office of Inspector General that their leaders ordered them in mid-March to stop performing modeling required by the Clean Air Act.

The whistleblowers, according to the Sun say the alleged halt to modeling required by the federal Clean Air Act is part of a years-long pattern of unlawful state actions, all of which increased health-damaging nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide pollution in Colorado.

Colorado COVID Vaccinations Make Progress

State officials announced Thursday that Colorado has reached the one million mark of people fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. The milestone came as the state moves into Phase 2 of vaccine distribution today – which means all Coloradans over the age of 16 who want a vaccine can get one. The state has launched six community vaccination clinics across the state to help with vaccine administration and access.

CU Faculty Slated to Vote on Censure of University of Colorado President

The Boulder Faculty Assembly at CU will vote later this month on whether President Mark Kennedy should be censured due to failed leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion. A vote is scheduled for April 29.

The motion, introduced Thursday at a virtual meeting, cites several incidents including Kennedy’s response to the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol and a proposed policy that any statements related to race, immigration, LGBTQ issues and climate change be vetted through Kennedy’s. The motion says Kennedy’s ongoing conduct, “undermines the institution’s reputation as a leader in addressing the humanitarian, social and technological challenges of the 21st century.”

Kennedy has been controversial since his appointment by the Board of Regents in a 5-4 vote in May of 2019. As a Republican Congressman, he did not support LGBTQ legislation and voted against grants for colleges serving African American and Hispanic students.