Colorado air pollution control managers ordered staff to falsify data and approve permits “at all costs,” whistleblowers say

The Colorado Sun: State air pollution control managers endangered the health of Coloradans by unlawfully approving noxious gas permits for industry without federally-mandated modeling or monitoring, according to a whistleblowing complaint filed Tuesday by technical employees inside the agency. 

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 from the Air Pollution Control Division, who run the computer models to predict how much pollution will result from a company’s activities, say their managers bypassed modeling rules in order to speed permits and avoid a paper trail should the state be sued by environmental groups.

Modeling for air pollution permits is increasingly controversial, as environmental advocates and neighborhood groups demand Colorado spend more money on real-time monitoring and analysts. At the legislature and in re-permitting hearings, they are demanding more monitoring  instead of imprecise predictive modeling, to combat both local toxins and emissions creating greenhouse gases. 

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