“Last March 30th was a bad air day along Colorado’s heavily populated northern front range. Indeed most days are bad air days for the people living here. It also happens that on this day three employees, Rosendo Majano, DeVondria Reynolds, and Bradley Rink, from the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division went to the United States EPA’s Inspector General with a whistleblower’s complaint against their boss, Division Chief Garry Kaufman. He is one of a growing stable of misfits, malingerers, can kickers, and incompetents Governor Jared Polis has employed to oversee the state’s deteriorating air quality. The Polis crowd keeps telling us our air quality is getting better. The ever-increasing number of stay-in-doors-days tells us the opposite.
It is with this necessary background that we return to the 3 whistleblowers. Assisted by PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility), which has long provided essential legal help and advice to federal and state environmental whistleblowers, they laid out for EPA’s Inspector General how they’d been directed to issue “illegal pollution permits, ignore violations, and refrain from verifying pollution emissions.” Central to their complaint is the fact that Director Kaufmann had told them to stop modeling so-called minor polluters. It so happens that most individual oil and gas facilities in this state come under the federal designation of minor. But we also know from Hickenlooper’s soiree with oil industry leaders in the capitol rotunda in 2013 is that most of the state’s VOCs come from oil and gas activities in Weld County. Benzene is a VOC and a ubiquitous component in oil and gas production. The World Health Organization says it is unsafe for humans at any level. It is rarely measured individually in this state.”