Last ditch lawsuit aims to stop I-70 expansion on environmental grounds

Opponents of the expansion want to see the I-270/I-76 route used for through traffic, with local traffic between Stapleton and downtown handled by surface streets.

Zeppelin is part of the force behind TAXI and other prominent RiNo projects, and he lives in the Globeville neighborhood with his wife and young daughters. He is funding a significant portion of the lawsuit, with the Ditch the Ditch community group also raising more than $50,000 toward the effort.

Zeppelin described himself as “unwilling to play the patronage game” and be silent about something he thinks is wrong in exchange for favorable status with city officials.

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Northeast Denver neighborhood is nation’s most polluted

From Denver Post
By Aldo Svaldi | asvaldi@denverpost.com | The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: February 16, 2017 at 5:02 am | UPDATED: February 16, 2017 at 12:29 pm

Excerpt:

In the 80216 ZIP code, an index of home values is up 30.1 percent the past year and 250 percent the past five years, handily beating U.S. and Denver averages.

That strong property appreciation is a testament to both how depressed prices were and how desperate buyers are for affordable properties.

Some residents fear the severity of the area’s environmental problems are being ignored and remediation plans remain inadequate. Three major redevelopment projects, including reconstruction of Interstate 70, are combining with booming home and land values to push long-time residents out, said Cdebaca.

“I feel like the new people are clueless” of past polluters, she said. “Sellers aren’t required to report it, and the institutional knowledge is being displaced.”

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CDOT delays northeast Denver I-70 expansion project by a few months

Until now, the impact-statement drafts have cited modeling from the Denver Regional Council of Governments that goes through 2035, but White said DRCOG recently updated its models through 2040. The Clean Air Act requires federal environmental impact documents to include data from the peak year of expected air emissions in the project area; given metro Denver’s growth, White said, 2040 will have worse emissions than 2035.

That projection hits on a key point of controversy over the project. The Sierra Club and community groups in March filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, challenging recently changed federal air quality standards that allow for the I-70 project.

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The highway lowdown: Denver’s I-70 expansion controversy, explained

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) says the expansion will rejoin communities, strengthen Denver’s economic backbone and bring the highway into the 21st century.
But groups in opposition to the project, of which there are several, refute these claims. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration, Denver’s City Council, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have all come under fire from such groups.
What are their worries? And why are they suing? Let The Colorado Independent walk you through the various intersecting issues involved in this contentious debate.

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