Colorado AG taps Atlanta law firm to investigate air-quality whistleblower claims

By: - July 2, 2021 12:15 pm

The CDPHE’s Air Pollution Control Division has led the state’s implementation of its new climate laws. (Chase Woodruff/Colorado Newsline)

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has appointed four attorneys with a well-known Atlanta law firm to serve as special assistant attorneys general in the independent investigation into the allegations made in a whistleblower complaint filed earlier this year by several air-quality regulators at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“After CDPHE’s Executive Director requested a thorough and independent assessment of claims submitted to the agency, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office has opened an independent investigation of allegations regarding alleged improper non-enforcement of air quality standards as alleged by certain Air Pollution Control Division staff at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment,” Weiser said in a statement released Thursday. “Through a competitive process, the Attorney General’s Office appointed attorneys at Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP as special assistant attorneys general to conduct this investigation.”

Mack McGuffey, Charles Peeler, Melissa Horne and Shawn O’Brien of Troutman Pepper will conduct the investigation, according to a memo dated June 16 and signed by Colorado Solicitor General Eric Olson. Weiser’s office announced that it would launch an independent investigation earlier this year, shortly after three CDPHE employees filed a whistleblower complaint with the Environmental Protection Agency, alleging a years-long pattern of lax enforcement of clean-air standards and deference to industrial polluters.

Troutman Pepper, formed via a merger in July 2020, employs more than 1,200 attorneys in 23 cities across the country, according to its website. It represents a wide range of corporate clients across multiple industries, including the financial services, real estate and energy sectors.

“Your appointment is effective immediately, and will continue until final resolution of the Investigation or until revoked in writing, whichever comes first,” Olson’s memo states.

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Chase Woodruff
Chase Woodruff

Reporter Chase Woodruff covers the environment, the economy and other stories for Colorado Newsline.