EPA proposes settlement with BNSF
Clean Water Act violations associated with 2019 train derailment near Guernsey
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a Clean Water Act (CWA) settlement with Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) in which the company has agreed to pay $140,000 for alleged Clean Water Act violations associated with a discharge of oil into the North Platte River near Guernsey, Wyoming.
EPA alleges that BNSF violated Section 311(b)(3) of the CWA, 33 U.S.C. § 1321(b)(3) with discharges of 5900 gallons of diesel fuel and 800 gallons of lubricating oil into the North Platte River. The discharges occurred on February 4, 2019, in Wendover Canyon, northwest of Guernsey; due to a derailment of three locomotives and five rail cars owned by BNSF. The sources of the diesel and oil were two of the derailed locomotives.
BNSF reported the spill to the National Response Center (NRC) and an EPA On-scene Coordinator was dispatched to the spill site. BNSF worked with the State of Wyoming and EPA to clean up the spill.
The Clean Water Act prohibits the discharge of oil or hazardous substances to waters of the U.S. or their adjoining shorelines in quantities that may be harmful to public health or the environment and is administered by EPA and the Coast Guard. For more on the Clean Water Act’s prohibition against discharges of oil into waters of the U.S. and SPCC regulations, visit: www.epa.gov/compliance/clean-water-act-cwa-compliance-monitoring#oil.
This proposed Consent Agreement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final approval by the EPA’s Regional Judicial Officer. The public comment period began March 24th and ends on April 23rd. To access and comment on the Consent Agreement , visit: www.epa.gov/publicnotices/notices-search/location/Wyoming.
IRS has refunds totaling $1.3 billion for 2017 tax filings
Unclaimed income tax refunds worth more than $1.3 billion await an estimated 1.3 million taxpayers who did not file a 2017 Form 1040 federal income tax return, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
“The IRS wants to help taxpayers who are due refunds but haven’t filed their 2017 tax returns yet,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “Time is quickly running out for these taxpayers. There’s only a three-year window to claim these refunds, and the window closes on May 17. We want to help people get these refunds, but they will need to quickly file a 2017 tax return.”
The IRS estimates the midpoint for the potential refunds for 2017 to be $865 — that is, half of the refunds are more than $865 and half are less.
In cases where a federal income tax return was not filed, the law provides most taxpayers with a three-year window of opportunity to claim a tax refund. If they do not file a tax return within three years, the money becomes the property of the U.S. Treasury. For 2017 tax returns, the window closes May 17, 2021, for most taxpayers. The law requires taxpayers to properly address, mail and ensure the tax return is postmarked by that date.
The IRS reminds taxpayers seeking a 2017 tax refund that their checks may be held if they have not filed tax returns for 2018 and 2019. In addition, the refund will be applied to any amounts still owed to the IRS or a state tax agency and may be used to offset unpaid child support or past due federal debts, such as student loans.
By failing to file a tax return, people stand to lose more than just their refund of taxes withheld or paid during 2017. Many low- and moderate-income workers may be eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For 2017, the credit was worth as much as $6,318. The EITC helps individuals and families whose incomes are below certain thresholds.
White House Proclamation on National Public Health Week 2021: National Public Health Week has significance this year, as we mourn the loss of more than half a million lives to COVID-19. We recognize just how essential our public health efforts and public health workers truly are, whether the scientists and researchers who developed life-saving vaccines; or local leaders who have taken action to keep their communities safe; or staff and volunteers who have worked to slow the spread of the virus through testing, case investigation, and contact tracing; or doctors, nurses, and clinicians who continue to provide around-the-clock care to those who have fallen ill, dedicated public health professionals on the front lines of our response to COVID-19 deserve our gratitude.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis announced that an eight-week Pilot Community Vaccination Site (CVS) will open in Pueblo County next week to accelerate COVID-19 vaccinations in Pueblo and rural communities throughout southern Colorado at high risk of infection. This joint effort from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management transitions the current state site at the Colorado State Fairgrounds to a FEMA Pilot Site. It will increase capacity at both the fixed, drive-through site and new mobile vaccination locations, providing access to vaccinations for other southern Colorado counties.
Denver’s decade long process to reimagine, reconstruct, and revitalize the 16th Street Mall from Broadway to Market Street is moving forward to final design and construction with a $149 million design/build contract with PCL Construction Services now fully signed and executed following approval by Denver City Council on March 8. “This investment in our iconic 16th Street Mall will stimulate our economy by supporting more than 1,800 jobs and result in nearly $4 billion in regional economic impact,” Mayor Michael B. Hancock said.