The first item on the list came from an effort by WildEarth Guardians in late 2018 to encourage CDPHE to not move forward with an extension requested by former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration and have the Environmental Protection Agency not include out-of-state and foreign emissions in its consideration for the Front Range’s non-attainment status on ground-level ozone.
 
Emails Reveal Polis Administration Taking Direction From Outside Groups

Western Wire

A series of emails obtained by Western Wire through an open records request between two of Colorado’s top health officials outlined a series of meetings with state agency staff to discuss a raft of potential policy issues, beginning with suggestions forwarded by a climate action organization formerly headed by one of the officials.

On Monday, January 28, Jill Ryan, the new Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment under the Polis administration emailed Garry Kaufman, Division Director of the Air Pollution Control Division at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment about an upcoming meeting, and shared a list of to-dos suggested by Ryan’s friends at Colorado Communities for Climate Action, an organization Ryan headed as president before resigning to take up the position at CDPHE under Gov. Jared Polis.

“Hi Garry, I am really looking forward to working with you. You know that GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions and ozone are going to be priorities of this administration. I want to assure you that you have a partner in me in going after the resources you will need to tackle these big issues. I know we are meeting soon and I look forward to it. The following is from my friends at CC4CA. Can you assess these and weave them into our upcoming discussions about what is do-able, if you had the resources? I look forward to hearing your ideas too. Martha told me you had some efficient ideas for cutting GHG’s. Thank you, Jill,” wrote Ryan.

Kaufman replied the next day.

“Thanks Jill. I appreciate the comments and your support. A number of these issues are on the agenda for our meeting on Wednesday afternoon. Some of these will be easier to tackle than others, but they all merit our attention. I can give you a lot more specifics when we meet. Garry,” responded Kaufman.

But Ryan had to leave the January 30th meeting, and called for following up in the near future, as well as to “strategize” about the “upcoming health assessment results.”

“I am so sorry I had to leave today. My calendar reflected a 4pm adjournment time. Do you think we should all meet again within the next couple of weeks and continue our discussion? … Maybe we can strategize too about messaging around the upcoming health assessment results,” Ryan wrote.

The health risk assessment Ryan refers to is the expected CDPHE report that was originally due for summer 2018, but has been repeatedly delayed, according to information from CDPHE and reported by Western Wire. When the report will be finalized and published in a peer-reviewed publication is currently not known, according to CDPHE.

Kaufman responded to Ryan’s email on Thursday, January 31st.

“No problem whatsoever on the schedule. I think it would be good to get another meeting set to talk through the remaining issues on the list from yesterday as well as go though the other issues identified by CC4CA. Also I’d be very interested in hearing your thoughts on climate change and discussing how the Air Division can be most productive in helping advance a new Colorado climate strategy,” Kaufman asked, seeing if there was a good time to meet that would work for both of them.

In a follow up to Kaufman’s email Ryan’s next response, dated February 2nd, indicates that along with the discussion of tackling the “goals of GHG emissions and ozone,” the conversation could return to the CC4CA policy discussions.

“After next week, we can catch up on CC4CA and any issues I missed last week. I can’t imagine the governor’s office would want us to have all the answers by the retreat, but this meeting can help get us started,” she added.

Kaufman responds affirmatively. “That sounds good Jill. I’ll probably bring Dena Wojtach to next week’s meeting as well. Dena is currently managing our planning program, which develops regulations for consideration by the AQCC. She’ll have a lot of ideas about potential ozone strategies. Let me know if there is any information you’d need for either our meeting or the cabinet retreat,” he wrote.

In Ryan’s original January 28 email to Kaufman, an attached forwarded document from CC4CA included a grab-bag of actions that CDPHE could undertake “that would make a meaningful difference”

“Hi Jill – I’ve asked around among some of the air quality folks I know for ideas about very specific things CDPHE could do now that would make a meaningful difference. I can’t speak to the relative merits of these suggestions, and they are in no particular order. I’m using the language provided to me, and since I don’t know much about most of them I’m not in a position to endorse their characterizations or recommendations, but I can say that the folks I talked with are smart and competent, so I’m guessing that all of these suggestions are worth consideration at least. Also, some of these are at least partially redundant. I tried to put those together,” the forwarded email read.

The first item on the list came from an effort by WildEarth Guardians in late 2018 to encourage CDPHE to not move forward with an extension requested by former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration and have the Environmental Protection Agency not include out-of-state and foreign emissions in its consideration for the Front Range’s non-attainment status on ground-level ozone.

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