February 1, 2023
Suncor Reports Small Leak at Commerce City Refinery
Suncor says it detected what the company calls a “small leak” at its Commerce City refinery Tuesday evening. The company said the leak had been contained and reported to regulatory agencies.
The Commerce City facility, the state’s only refinery, has been operating in shutdown mode since late last month after a fire injured two workers.
City Of Thornton Sues Over Water Contamination
The City of Thornton is taking legal action against fire fighting foam manufacturers due to its alleged toxic contamination in its water. The lawsuit is against manufacturers who produced firefighting foam due to the product’s contents containing PFAs that infiltrated Thornton’s water supply. The city found several dozen parts per trillion of those PFAs in its water and is looking at designing a filtration system to get rid of them. These chemicals allegedly have toxic side effects, including reproductive issues, cancer, and child development issues. Through the lawsuit, Thornton hopes to regain the money it will cost to rid the chemicals from their waters.
The City of Thornton released a drinking water health advisory but noted, “there is not an immediate public health risk, and people do not need to stop drinking their water at this time.” The city will continue to sample the water for PFAs, inform residents and examine steps for exposure reduction.
Rent Control Bill Introduced In Legislature
A new bill introduced in Colorado’s state legislature would allow local governments to enact rent stabilization measures. Glenwood Springs Democrat Elizabeth Velasco is one of the prime sponsors of the rent stabilization bill.
Rent control has been banned in Colorado since 1981 and Democratic Governor Jared Polis has vetoed rent control bills in the past. But Velasco says the bill has support from lawmakers across Colorado, from both urban and rural communities. She says housing is a key priority for the Democratic caucus, and the bill has a lot of support already.
“And I think that, you know, our bill pairs really well with some of the other solutions that are coming, like zoning and renter protection, and all the different tools, and we definitely feel strong, and we’re still gathering support.”
She says she’s seen firsthand how hard it is to find and keep housing in the Roaring Fork Valley—and that experience contributed to the bill.
Wildfire Agencies Join Forces To Tackle Northern Front Range Crisis
The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests & Pawnee and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control have agreed to work together to tackle the wildfire crisis along Colorado’s northern front range. This agreement is the first between the two agencies and involves a multi-million dollar investment in shared resources. The effort aims to implement a preventative, cross-boundary approach to wildfire mitigation, focusing on reducing hazardous fuels in and around the wildland-urban interface on public and private lands. The agreement involves forming a joint wildland fire and fuels module, which will operate in the Front Range Priority Landscape out of the Division’s offices in Windsor. Hiring for this new module is currently underway.
CU Boulder Student Tied To White Nationalist Group No Longer Enrolled
The CU Independent and The Bold released reports this week of the University of Colorado knowingly admitting a white nationalist student. Patryck Durnham, who in interviews admitted to being a member of the Patriot Front, said the university was also aware.
According to the CU independent, Durham had a history of violent language toward minorities The student, Patryck Durham, was confirmed and vandalized property. Durham confirmed his violent social media posts but did not comment on if he still held the same beliefs. CU Boulder officials were notified of Durham’s connection to the group before his admission but could not consider his disciplinary records during the admission process.
Durham was suspended from high school and barred from graduation in May 2022 after information about his affiliations were made public. University spokesperson, Andrew Sorenson, told the CU Independent “Durham is no longer enrolled at the university.” It remains unclear if he left voluntarily or due to expulsion.
Boulder Launches Focus Groups For Boulder Junction Redevelopment
Boulder is beginning the second phase of redevelopment in the Boulder Junction area, one of the city’s priority projects. Over the next few years, officials will form community-led focus groups to guide the development which they originally created in 2007 and included 1,500 residential units.
The project’s second phase aims to upgrade Old Pearl St., conduct a feasibility study for extending Bluff Street, and add pedestrian, bicycle, and multi-use paths. The city will reconfirm land use designations and urban design before moving forward to implement the strategies outlined in the plan. Community members are encouraged to participate by filling out an interest form.
RTD Holds Open House for Northwest Rail Peak Service Study
The Regional Transportation District (RTD) held its first two open house meetings for the Northwest Rail Peak Service Study in Boulder. The study examines the feasibility of offering peak service for the proposed commuter rail between Denver, Boulder and Longmont. RTD says the project would cost around $1.5 billion dollars and take about 30 years to complete. It is set to be finished by 2050, and the study is expected to be completed this fall.
Visitors could ask questions, provide feedback at the meeting, and view maps of potential quiet zones and proposed commuter rail stations. The second open house will be held in Westminster on Thursday. The meeting received a positive response, with many visitors expressing excitement and interest in the future of public transportation in the region.
Man Beaten By Police Officers Dismissed Of Charges
The El Paso County DA’s Office dropped criminal charges against a man beaten by police during traffic stop. Dalvin Gadson, a 29-year-old Black man, was beaten by three white officers at the Colorado Springs Police Department during a traffic stop. The incident resulted in Gadson suffering from physical injuries, such as a black eye, back injuries, chest wall contusions, and a closed head injury.
The police department released body camera footage that showed the officers punching and kicking Gadson for about a minute and a half. Gadson’s initial charges included various offenses, but he only paid a $15 fine for improperly displaying his license plates. The incident led to a civil lawsuit filed in Denver in federal court, which claims the officers used excessive force without any verbal warning. The administrative review by the police department found the officers’ actions to be within policy, while an internal affairs investigation was ongoing at the time.