February 2, 2023
Xcel Energy Customers Express Frustration To PUC Over High Utility Bills
Xcel Energy customers expressed frustration in a public comment hearing Tuesday. Over forty people urged the Public Utilities Commission to do something about dramatically higher utility bills. Attendees also pointed out that Xcel had record profits in 2022. Customers have seen a doubling or tripling of their energy bills from more than a year ago.
State regulators approved a new cost change on Monday providing as much as 15 percent drop for gas bills for February and March. Cindy Schonhaut, the director of the Colorado Office of the Utility Consumer Advocate, told Colorado Public Radio the drop may not be enough for customers who have fallen behind on their bills. Schonhaut said the upcoming price drop is not a result of action by the PUC or Xcel as they do not have control over gas commodity prices.
OSHA Issues Citations To Three More Amazon Warehouses Including Aurora Facility
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration – OSHA – announced Wednesday that the agency has issued three more citations at Amazon warehouses, including the one in Aurora, Colorado, for failing to keep workers safe from ergonomic hazards. The agency said it opened investigations in Aurora, Nampa, Idaho, and Castleton, New York in August 2022, following referrals from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
OSHA said Amazon exposed warehouse workers to high risks of low back injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders. Among the risks causing the disorders are workers lifting packages with high frequency, handling heavy items, and working long hours to complete assigned tasks. The agency says it is proposing penalties close to $47,000 for the Aurora, Nampa, and Castleton facilities. Amazon has fifteen days to respond to the citations and proposed penalties.
Marshall Fire Study Reviews Response Limitations To Water Contamination And How Communities Can Minimize Wildfire Impacts To Water Infrastructure
A new study on the 2021 Marshall Fire reveals that urban water systems need to be better prepared to assess damage and chemical contamination caused by wildfires. The study’s findings highlight just how much contamination of water systems occurred during the Marshall Fire. The fire damaged six public drinking water systems across East Boulder County that required millions of dollars to repair. Toxic chemicals leaked into homes where the effects lasted for weeks after the fire. One of the chemicals discovered in Louisville included benzene, which is known to cause cancer. The study also found that damage to pipes and pressure changes due to power shut offs effectively sucked contaminants from fire sites back into the public water systems.
The study’s lead researcher is Andrew Whelton, professor of Ecology and Environmental Engineering from Purdue University. Whelton concluded that standard disaster practices are needed for sampling, analyzing and assessing water system damage and contamination after a major wildfire.
Two Denver Democrats Introduce State Legislation Providing Labor Protections for Public Sector Employees
Two Denver Democrats introduced a bill Tuesday in the state senate that aims to give public-sector workers the right to discuss workplace concerns, take part in the political process while off-duty, and organize or join an employee organization, but stops at requiring public employers to negotiate with workers. Jade Kelly, President of Communications Workers of America 7799, a coalition that backs the bill, told the Denver Post Wednesday the legislation will help prevent public sector employers from retaliating against workers who raise concerns about their workplace. The proposed legislation comes after Colorado lawmakers passed a bill last year giving employees in more than half of the state’s counties the right to unionize.
Colorado Senate Committee To Hold Hearing On Bill Aiming To Prevent Horse Slaughter For Human Consumption
A bill proposed by the Colorado General Assembly aims to make equine slaughter illegal. Lawmakers in Colorado propose The Prohibit Equine Slaughter for Human Consumption Bill, which criminalizes any involvement in horse slaughter for consumption. The violations range from a class 1 misdemeanor with a minimum $1,000 fine to a class 4 felony with a mandatory $10,000 penalty.
Federal law protects horses from harassment or slaughter, but reports from The New York Times and Colorado lawmakers say that horses are often transported to and processed for consumption in Mexico or Canada. Co-sponsor of the bill, Lorena Garcia, told 11 News that over 90 percent of the horses sent to foreign countries for slaughter and consumption are still adoptable and “can be service equine in assisted therapy.”
Some Coloradans rely on horse exportation and worry this bill could affect business. Wyoming lawmakers propose an opposite approach to efforts in Colorado. They say, there are too many wild horses and the more they can gather for slaughter the better for population control. Both Denver and Cheyenne bills are taking steps through their legislative processes.
Colorado Oil And Gas Conservation Commission Says Oil & Gas Operator K.P. Kauffman Remains Out Of Compliance
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ruled Wednesday that the Denver oil and gas company, K.P. Kauffman, has failed to make strides in completing projects under a 2021 comprehensive cleanup plan and that the company remains substantially out of compliance after committing multiple violations, including spills. Other violations include leaking flow-lines, contaminated soil near a pond and wetlands, and failure to turn in timely and accurate reports. The company also faced allegations of air quality violations in 2020. The commission said if the company does not bring its operations into full compliance within six months, the state will revoke its license to operate.
As A Historic First, The Denver Federal Center Raises Pan-African Flag In Honor of Black History Month
In honor of Black History Month, the Denver Federal Center raised Wednesday morning a Pan-African flag over a federal building for the first time in history. Officials at the Denver Federal Center told CBS-Denver that the White House had approved the decision. Organizers held events and panel discussions Wednesday regarding the significance of the flag.