Report Finds That New Air Rules Are A License To Increase Air Pollution

Environment Colorado

A new study shows that changes to Colorado’s clean air rules will increase air pollution and health problems. The report, titled “Stop The Rollbacks: Cleaner, Healthier Air For Colorado,” finds that Colorado could see over 25,000 more tons of air pollution each year if the changes are approved by the state legislature. The coalition that released the report—including American Lung Association of Colorado and Environmental Defense – is calling on the legislature to reject these rollbacks.

“These changes will result in more air pollution, which means that more people might suffer from lung disease illnesses in Colorado,” said Manisha Blair of the American Lung Association of Colorado. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has identified the entire Front Range region from Castle Rock to Fort Collins as failing to meet federal health-based air quality standards for smog. Numerous studies in recent years have linked smog levels to school absences, increased asthma rates, and long-term lung damage in children.

“Colorado should be strengthening—not weakening—clean air safeguards to protect children from harmful summertime smog, to clean up Denver’s brown cloud, and to cut the haze that pollutes Colorado’s scenic vistas,” said Cindy Copeland of Environmental Defense. 

The new rules were initially approved last year by the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC), and now go to the state legislature for final consideration. New Source Review has long required that aging, high-polluting industrial facilities upgrade their air pollution control equipment when they expand operations and increase pollution in surrounding neighborhoods.

Several Colorado local governments opposed the Commission’s adoption of the changes due to concerns about the adverse impacts on local air quality. These governments included: Boulder County, Denver City and County, Broomfield City and County, Aspen, San Juan Basin, San Miguel County, and Telluride. The Pueblo City-County Health Department recently joined this coalition.

“The state legislature should throw out these rollbacks,” said Justin Dawe, an air quality analyst with Environment Colorado. “Colorado is working hard to come up with a plan to meet its air quality responsibilities, but these rollbacks undermine that effort by the rest of the state.”

Manisha Blair, American Lung Association of Colorado: (303) 847-0271
Cindy Copeland, Environmental Defense: (303)447-7217