University of Denver law students say April showers bring deadly runoff

April 27, 2011

DENVER – For more than a year, Drew Dutcher has lived in the shadow of what neighbors call “Shingle Mountain,” a pile of discarded roofing shingles that may have crossed the line from eyesore to community health menace.

Now, University of Denver (DU) Sturm College of Law students are demanding the owners of North Denver shingle recycling business Shingles 4 Recycling do something about the 30-foot-high mountain of broken shingles that they say is oozing potentially contaminated runoff onto area streets and possibly into the Platte River.

Working under the guidance of DU’s Environmental Law Clinic director Michael Harris, student lawyers Stephanie Fairbanks and Eric R. Wilson this month sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue to Shingles 4 Recycling on behalf of area residents and environmental activists. If the company doesn’t cut the pile down, and cover it, they plan to file a lawsuit in Federal Court under the Clean Water Act, Harris says.

There are multiple shingle piles around the site, but the largest is visible at the corner of East 51st Avenue and Columbine Street. Harris says neighbors are concerned about runoff from the unsightly debris, which is uncovered and is threatening to spill past damaged container fences.

“Locals call it ‘Shingle Mountain,’ for obvious reasons,” Harris says. “What we see here of course is, for community members, quite an eyesore. But it’s also a potential fire hazard and an environmental hazard. There’s asbestos and other types of metals and organics coming loose, getting into the air, and on a rainy day washing right off into the street here and into the Platte River, which is just 1,100 yards away.”

Even if those materials don’t make it to the river they pose a threat, Harris says. Chemicals and metals left behind on the street are kicked up into the air by passing vehicles and contaminate the area, he says.

Dutcher says residents worry about possible air and water borne contaminants.

“There are just so many questions about it. There are health questions, there are ground water questions, storm water questions, and there are fire questions,” Dutcher says. “What happens in the case of winds, and rain and snow? Where does the runoff go?”

A study prepared for the Construction Materials Recycling Association finds the primary concerns about asphalt shingle recycling is asbestos, used in shingle manufacturing from the 1800s until as late as the 1980s. Health risks from the asbestos are highest for plant workers and nearby residents, the report finds.

The Environmental Law Clinic is representing four residents in the Elyria, Swansea and Globeville neighborhoods of North Denver as well as the 4,000-member nonprofit environmental group WildEarth Guardians.

Harris says the hope is that business owner William Scott will come into compliance within the 60-day notice window without involving regulators. But if the situation isn’t addressed, he says the students are prepared to file a complaint in federal court.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mzphojh5zg


DU students travel to Hong Kong & Vienna to compete in Vis Moot

April 03, 2011


University of Denver Water Law Review 2011 Symposium to be Held April 15; Registration Open

March 31, 2011

The University of Denver Water Law Review presents its 2011 Symposium on Friday, April 15. It is titled, “A Vision for the Future: Balancing Population Growth with Increasing Water Demand.” Please click here University of Denver Water Law Review presents its 2011 Symposium on Friday, April 15. It is titled, “A Vision for the Future: Balancing Population Growth with Increasing Water Demand.” for more information.


Former FERC Commissioner Sudeen Kelly Speaks at Sturm College of Law

March 29, 2011

Sudeen Kelly, an internationally-recognized energy industry expert and former Commissioner with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), spoke at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law on March 28, 2011. For more information, please click here.


Adam Massaro, Sturm College of Law 2010 JD Graduate, Wins ABA “Excellence in Writing Award”

March 24, 2011

Adam Massaro, University of Denver Sturm College of Law 2010 JD graduate, won an Excellence in Writing Award from the editors of ABA Probate & Property for his article, “Solar Power for Commercial Buildings,” that appeared in the January/February 2010 issue. Fore more information, please click here.


Legal Hiring Anticipated to Be Strong

March 22, 2011

Attached is an article from the Association of Legal Administrators addressing the future needs of legal support staff members in law firms.

Legal Hiring Anticipated to Be Strong »


Adjunct Prof. William J. Brady to Speak at Intersol’2011 International Conference in Lyon, France

March 22, 2011

William J. Brady, an Adjunct Professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and a shareholder and director at the Denver firm Grimshaw and Harring, has been asked to present at the prestigious Intersol’2011, an international conference in Lyon, France, March 28-31, on soils, sediment, and water. For more information, please click here.


The Rocky Mountain Energy Blog: Readily Accessible Expertise and Insight About Energy Issues

March 21, 2011

Anyone interested in following energy developments and challenges in the Rocky Mountain region — particularly Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming — should be sure to bookmark (or subscribe to) the Rocky Mountain Energy Blog, which identifies and tracks major developments and trends in the region. For more information, please click here.


Another Possible Consequence of Japan’s Nuclear Power Problems: The Rise of Coal?

March 19, 2011

The world has had only one week to digest the disturbing news about Japan’s nuclear power problems. And a week hardly makes a lifetime. But one thing is for sure — coal may be on the way back as a power generating fuel source. Click here to read more.


Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter Jr. Discusses Renewable Energy: Opportunities & Barriers

March 18, 2011

Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter Jr. discusses his administration’s energy initiatives, with particular focus on renewable energy initiatives, in a new video interview now available on the University of Denver Sturm College of Law website. The 45 minute interview can be accessed by clicking here.


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