Afternoon News Headlines May 18, 2017

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper directive to state authorities not to fight a court ruling requiring protection of public health and safety as a precondition before allowing oil and gas drilling, appears to be being defied by state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

Coffman filed an appeal of the Martinez case ruling to the Colorado Supreme Court asking for a review of the appeals court ruling.

Hickenlooper late Wednesday sent an e-mail message to Deputy Attorney General Laura Chartrand instructing state attorneys not to proceed with an appeal of the ruling from March 23.

On that date, the court ruled that public health and safety must be prioritized over the state’s interest in oil and gas development. The court’s decision reversed the COGCC’s original denial of a petition brought by the plaintiff’s in 2013 which urged the agency to put their health and safety first. The appeals court found that the COGCC has been incorrectly interpreting the law.
On May 1, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission decided to fight the ruling.

Hickenlooper contends the COGCC lacks statutory authority to challenge a court’s interpretation of its mission.

But Attorney General Coffman is now arguing that Hickenlooper is legally incorrect in trying to stop the COGCC, whose members he appointed. Coffman told the Denver Post that her office will continue to move forward with the case by seeking Supreme Court review.

A lawsuit was filed yesterday seeking to block construction of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge at the site of the former nuclear weapons plant, until the government completes an up-to-date environmental analysis of the site.

The plaintiffs in the case are the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, the community activist groups Candelas Glows/Rocky Flats Glows, Rocky Flats Wants to Know, Rocky Flats Neighborhood Association and the Environmental Information Network Inc. The defendants are listed as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, its acting director, James Kurth, and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

The suit seeks full compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, commonly known as NEPA, which requires public involvement to review decisions that might impact the environment.

The suit also asks that plans to open the 5,237-acre refuge be placed on hold until the Fish and Wildlife Service can show it is in compliance with the National Wildlife Refuge Systems Administration Act and federal Executive Order 11990, which requires federal agencies to minimize impacts of federal activities on floodplains and wetlands. We’ll hear from the attorney representing the plaintiffs in this suit on tomorrow’s morning magazine.

An emergency warming center opened in Longmont today for the homeless to escape the snow.
The Journey of Longmont church at 2000 Pike Road is welcoming anyone experiencing homelessness. Street outreach teams will be out every night in Longmont between 6 and 9 p.m. to provide food and emergency supplies

A winter storm watch is in effect for Boulder County until 6 p.m today with several inches of accumulation possible.

The City of Boulder has been criticized for closing the BOHO overflow shelter and the day shelter on May 1st, before alternatives were put in place. The Boulder overnight shelter closed for the season at the end of April.
Friday’s forecast calls for a high of 40 and an 80 percent chance of 1 to 3 inches of snow, with the overnight low expected to be near 31, according to the National Weather Service.

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