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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will continue to prioritize Superfund clean ups, transparent and effective risk communications, and listening to communities said EPA’s Acting Administrator, Andrew Wheeler. Wheeler met with EPA Region 8 staff and employee leadership on Monday in Denver. Afterwards, he sat down with Western Wire to discuss his Region 8 tour of Superfund sites and the agency’s need for better risk communications with communities affected by decades-long clean-up efforts and for communities just beginning to deal with new environmental issues.

Western Wire

The two men vying to become Colorado’s top legal officer battled over oil and gas permitting, the current officeholder’s conception of attorney general independence, and the need for more regulation in the energy space at a debate hosted by Club 20. Phil Weiser, a Democrat and the former dean of the University of Colorado Law school and a senior adviser in the Obama White House, squared off against Republican George Brauchler, the district attorney for the 18thJudicial District, Colorado’s largest, on Saturday evening at Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction, Colo.

City officials in both Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia are indicating their governments may be next to pursue climate lawsuits against energy companies. The City Attorney of Seattle revealed this week that his office is considering filing such a lawsuit and is partnering up with class action law firm, Keller …

George Brauchler, Western Wire

Colorado should not legislate through the courts, especially on environmental and energy issues, or push regulations that harm the state’s economy by targeting oil and gas, Republican George Brauchler said this week. Brauchler, the district attorney for the 18th Judicial District, is running for attorney general this year after departing the hotly contested GOP gubernatorial primary. He faces Phil Weiser, a Democrat and former dean of the University of Colorado Law school and an Obama White House senior adviser.

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As summer begins to fade into the upcoming Labor Day weekend, building support for fixing the nearly $12 billion in maintenance backlogs at the nation’s prized national parks and historical sites could become a little easier, thanks to a new tracking tool that breaks down individual state and park repair needs using federal data. The Pew Charitable Trust has launched a new deferred maintenance tool that tracks the estimated $11.6 billion in infrastructure and other maintenance backlogs throughout the National Park System (NPS). The site’s interactive data tool categorizes repair needs by state and by parks individually, using NPS raw information acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Democratic state attorney general offices across the country have received legal fellows sponsored by a wealthy environmental foundation to work pro bono on climate policy issues as a member of the attorney general’s staff, according to a new report. The revelations are based on public records obtained through a series of open records requests filed in multiple …

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A panel of Utah educators, county commissioners, and students argued for more regulatory certainty and for the recognition of the importance of revenues from the energy industry, and particularly oil and natural gas, to their education and state infrastructure at a field hearing on Wednesday. The House Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), held a field hearing at Union High School in Roosevelt, Utah. Located in the Uinta Basin, Union High School has received plenty of support from energy industry revenues, directly and indirectly, panelists told the committee.