Headlines Feb. 7, 2022
Colorado Fracking Linked to Cancer Causing Forever Chemicals
A new report from the organization Physicians for Social Responsibility links cancer-causing forever chemicals known as PFAS to at least 300 Colorado fracking sites in the past 10 years. Oil and gas companies used PFAS to extract additional oil from already-fracked sites, said the report. An earlier investigation by the organization revealed that companies in six other states, including Texas, Wyoming, New Mexico and Oklahoma, also used the chemicals.
According to The Denver Post, a spokesperson for PSR said while the amount of chemicals used in fracking is small, it is enough to make drinking water toxic and cause sickness in those exposed.
People have used PFAS compounds for decades in everything from firefighting foam, waterproofing clothes, home furnishings and food packaging. Their strong carbon bonds make them durable but toxic.
A representative of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said in an email to The Denver Post that the agency is taking a serious look at how this “emerging issue may relate to oil and gas operations.”
Protesters Decry Douglas County School Board Action
Hundreds rallied Sunday to protest last week’s decision to fire Douglas County School Board superintendent, Corey Wise. In a contentious special meeting Friday, the newly elected conservative majority voted 4-3 to terminate Wise. The decision came after a week of student and teacher protests forced DCSD to cancel Thursday classes.
9News reports that Sunday’s protesters said the board is no longer looking out for the interests of teachers or their students. Students walked out of classes Monday afternoon in protest.
Librarian Files Civil Rights Complaint Over Firing
A librarian in Colorado has filed a complaint that a Weld County library fired her because she objected to the cancellation of LGBTQ and anti-racism programs she had planned. According to The Denver Post, Brooky Parks worked at the Erie Community Library branch and believes the city fired her based on her advocacy for LGBTQ and BIPOC advocacy. Parks filed her claim with the state Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
According to a statement, the High Plains Library District fired Parks in December to “discourage inflammatory or polarizing programming.”
The district has seven branches, including two in Greeley.
Aurora Police Officer Fired
The Aurora Police Chief has fired an officer who mocked his department’s diversity-training efforts. Denverite reports that Chief Vanessa Wilson fired Douglas Wilkinson’s after an independent investigation showed he violated the city’s anti-harassment policy and its discrimination directive.
Wilkinson emailed more than 200 police department employees last Nov. calling diversity initiatives sexist toward white men.
Wilkinson, a former head of the Aurora Police Association, served as a police union representative. In his email, Wilkinson criticized his department’s and statewide efforts to reform use-of-force policies, racially unbalanced hiring practices and implicit bias training.
Bidders On Debris Removal Contract Warn Boulder County
Boulder County authorities are close to awarding a debris removal contract for the more than 1,000 homes destroyed during the Marshall Fire.
The Denver Post reports, Michael Brown, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Authority, voiced concern that Boulder officials aren’t doing enough to ensure they qualify for federal reimbursement.
Brown, who oversaw disaster relief efforts post Hurricane Katrina in 2005, says the federal government could reimburse Boulder for 75% of the $100 million project. If Boulder doesn’t follow protocol correctly, Brown warns, the county won’t qualify, which would shift the bill to taxpayers.
Ben Pearlman, a Boulder County attorney, says Boulder intends to do everything the right way so those in Louisville, Superior and unincorporated parts of the county can rebuild their lives. Boulder plans on awarding the debris removal contract as soon as this week. Boulder commissioners could take action on the contract at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
Mountain Lion Warnings In Boulder
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is warning of mountain lion activity near Boulder. The agency said in a letter that there have been five sightings of the felines on 15th through 17th streets and Iris through Orchard Avenues. CPW advises not to approach a lion, to stay calm if you come upon one, and stop or slowly back away if you can do so safely.