Environmental Defense Fund Archive
Manuscript Collection 232

Record Group 5 - Colorado Office

Scope and Content Note

The energy crisis created an impetus to energy development in the U.S. when Environmental Defense opened its Colorado office.  EDF’s team of attorneys, scientists and economists cooperated with environmental groups and government agencies to promote responsible energy development and water resource management for the ultimate goal of protecting the environmental rights of all people.

At the February 20, 1974 opening, Regional Director George Pring remarked: “nowhere else in the country is so much development of such importance occurring in these fields as in the Rocky Mountains and the Northern Plains”.

EDF, in conjunction with other environmental organizations such as Friends of the Earth, The Colorado Open Space Council, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club, used litigation, testimony, written comments and committee participation to monitor programs and policies of government agencies and energy companies to ensure adherence to existing environmental laws and regulations.

A common theme of their arguments was the lack of compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act of 1969.  This is illustrated in cases such as the Colorado Water Storage Project in which EDF challenged the lack of an environmental impact statement for the network of reservoirs; and the Prototype Oil Shale Lease Program which EDF sought to postpone until a suitable EIS was written, addressing the impacts of the program on land and water resources.

Other recurring issues dealt with violations of federal and state laws on mining and the quality of water and air.  Challenging the Detailed Development Plans of the Prototype Oil Shale Lease Program, attorneys compelled industry to better articulate benefits and damage to the environment and to comply with NEPA as well as state laws on mining and reclamation.

The lack of adequate regulations and enforcement under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act was background for litigation regarding the salinity levels of the Colorado River Basin.

The Clean Air Act was a basis for the Pawnee and Colstrip Power Plant hearings for emissions levels to comply with Colorado Air Quality Standards.

EDF’s attorneys and scientists were also busy as consultants on advisory committees for the state government; testifying at public meetings; writing comments on draft impact statements and policy; and writing articles and reports to increase public awareness.

Topics

The legal files are the bulk of the record group as it stands now.  Listed below are the highlights of the litigation and comments files listed by topic. Please see the sub-group and series descriptions for more information.

Air Quality – Colorado

Litigation Files:
Air quality regulations                
Sulfur dioxide emissions
Pawnee power plant emissions permit

See: Sub-group II.2 Series 1

Public Statements/Texts
Acid rain
Clean Air Act modifications
Pitch Project—emissions control
EPA regulations on the prevention of significant deterioration of air quality
sulfur dioxide emission standards
White River Oil Shale PSD permit application

See: Sub-group II.4 Series 1-3

Coal Mines & Mining

Litigation Files
Implementation of Colorado’s mining and reclamation regulations
Alton Coal Mine unsuitability petition

See: Sub-group II.2 Series 1

Public Statements/Texts
Coal management regulations
Colorado Surface Coal Mining Reclamation Act
Federal Coal Management Program

See: Sub-group II.4 Series 1-3

Hazardous Waste Disposal

Litigation Files
Uranium mill tailings disposal
Nuclear waste disposal guidelines

See: Sub-group III.2 Series 1-2

Oil and Gas Leases – Colorado

Litigation Files
Prototype Oil Shale Lease Program
Preference right lease for oil

See:  Sub-group II.2, Series 1-2

Public Statements/Texts
Prototype Oil Shale Lease Program

 See: Sub-group II.4 Series 1-3

Water Quality – Standards

Litigation Files:
Colorado River Basin salinity standards
Colorado River Basin water projects

See: Sub-group III.2 Series 1

Public Statements/Texts:
Colorado River System
Grand Valley Unit of the Colorado River Salinity Control Project
Lake Catamount
Paradox Valley Unit of the Colorado River Salinity Control Project

See: Sub-group III.4 Series 1-3

Water Rights

Litigation Files
Cottonwood Canyon portal / Wilberg Mine, surface water rights

See: Sub-group III.2 Series 1

Water Supply

Litigation Files
Industrial Water Marketing Program

See: Sub-group III.2 Series 1

Project Files
Reudi Reservoir water sale

See: Sub-group III.3 Series 1

Public Statements/Texts
Water management policy

See: Sub-group III.4 Series 1-3