Senators Point Finger at EPA in Gold King Mine Disaster
Earlier this month, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and John Barrasso (R-WY) addressed the Gold King Mine disaster when the pair wrote a letter to Attorney Loretta Lynch, asking that the Department of Justice open up a criminal investigation regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s culpability in the disaster.
The Gold King Mine disaster took place in Silverton, Colo. on Aug. 5, 2015 when wastewater from the mine ran into Cement Creek and then polluted the Animas River. The wastewater included toxins and heavy metals, including lead.
McCain first brought the issue to the attention of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs—of which he is a member—at the hearing “EPA’s Unacceptable Response to Indian Tribes” and Barrasso. Barrasso is the chairman of the committee. The disaster took place on Navajo Nation land.
“[W]e believe that sufficient information exists to warrant an investigation by the Justice Department of whether EPA employees or contractors may have committed crimes in connection with the spill, including but not limited to criminal violations of federal environmental laws, criminal negligence and obstruction,” the letter reads.
The letter goes on to ask the DOJ to keep the federal government accountable and investigate whether or not any EPA employee or contractor broke federal laws in relation to the disaster.
ASU Fitness Complex Receives LEED Platinum Designation
The new Sun Devil Fitness Complex at Arizona State University’s Tempe Campus received LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. 
The building features an energy-efficient design and received 28 of 35 Energy and Atmosphere credits from the U.S. Green Building Council. Additionally, 20.62% of the building’s total energy costs will be offset by on-site generated renewable energy, according to a Gilbane press release.
The actual construction process was also environmentally conscious as the project team successfully diverted 98.3% of on-site construction waste from landfills, and 21.29% of building materials included items manufactured and sourced within 500 miles of the construction site.
Gilbane Building Company constructed the Studio Ma/Sasaki-designed facility.
ASU has long shown a commitment to sustainable building. In 2014, the Sun Devil Athletic Facility at ASU’s Polytechnic Campus in Mesa, Ariz. received LEED Gold Certification. At the time, it was the 23rd ASU building to receive that designation. Gilbane Building Company also worked on that project along with design firm Architekto.
Public Feedback Sought For Proposed Las Vegas Bike Trail
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada is seeking public comment and community feedback regarding a potential bike-friendly “greenway” connected downtown Las Vegas and the UNLV main campus, according to a press release from the commission. The RTC is attempting to determine the amount of community support that exists for the project and desired design features for the greenway.
The proposed Spencer Greenway Trail would exist in the Spencer Utility Corridor between Charleston Boulevard and Katie Avenue. NV Energy owns the utility coordidoor.
The RTC is also creating a Campus Bike Plan for UNLV bicycle paths, parking and other bike-friendly features at the university’s main campus.
The RTC previously held two open houses on the topic on May 4 and May 23. Interested parties can still submit feedback via an online survey at
South Mountain Freeway In Hands Of Federal Judge
The Gila River Indian Community is seeking a summary judgement in its lawsuit that aims to prevent the construction of an extension of the Loop 202 freeway in Arizona. The tribe argues that the construction will destroy portions of South Mountain, also known to the tribe as Muhadagi Doag.
“South Mountain — Muhadagi Doag to the people of the Gila River Indian Community — isn’t simply a few acres of land to us,” says Gila River Indian Community Governor Stephen R. Lewis said in a press release. “The mountain is one of our most important, most sacred resources. The Loop 202 extension as planned will destroy parts of three ridges of the mountain and destroy or alter trails, shrines and archaeological sites that are significant cultural resources for our Community.”
The lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration argues “that federal and state agencies violated federal law (specifically Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act) by approving a freeway location that would desecrate South Mountain (Muhadagi Doag) and by following a process that did not give proper consideration to the Community’s unique interests,” according to the press release.
The Loop 202 extension would connect the east and west sides of the southern Phoenix metro area. The link would relieve the growing traffic congestion in Phoenix, namely on the portion of Interstate 10 that runs through the city, according to a press release from ADOT. In its motion, ADOT also noted that the voters have approved the freeway extension twice. ADOT and the Federal Highway Administration also conducted a 13-year study on the potential impacts of the freeway that included community involvement and an environmental impact statement.
The federal government originally approved the project in 2015, and ADOT is currently preparing for construction to begin this summer, with an expected completion date in 2019. The $916-million extension is the largest highway construction project and will be built as part of a public-private partnership between ADOT and Connect 202 Partners.
Kitchell to Build New Cancer Center at Phoenix Children’s Hospital
With the current Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Phoenix Children’s Hospital working at capacity, the hospital has tapped Kitchell to construct a new facility on the hospital’s second floor.
The new facility will have easy elevator access to the Emergency Department, Imaging and inpatient rooms. With treatment rooms on site, the new cancer center will also allow patients to receive routine procedures on site without moving to operating rooms.
PCH recently launched the $15 million “Hope Lives Here” fundraising campaign to raise money for the project. Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and his wife Amy are honorary co-chairs of the campaign.
Hobbs + Black is the project designer for the new facility.