Colorado’s ozone reduction plans approved by the AQCC miss the mark

Media Contacts

DENVER – The Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) held a rulemaking hearing this week to consider plans to cut harmful ozone pollution in the Denver Metro/North Front Range region. While the Commission approved some encouraging language around additional actions the state should consider in 2023 that could further reduce ozone pollution, the measures approved this week fall far short of what clean air advocates had called for, and what will enable the region to actually meet health-based EPA air quality standards for ozone.

CoPIRG Clean Air Advocate Kirsten Schatz released the following statement:

“Over the last decade, Colorado has made progress cutting dangerous ozone air pollution. But 232 Ozone Alert Days over the last five years and having the EPA downgrade our air quality from “serious” to “severe” shows we are seriously missing the mark. The AQCC offered some direction on what needs to happen in 2023, but our state continues to fail to put together a plan that will meet air quality standards. There are so many solutions we’re not yet using. We need state leaders to step up in 2023 and commit to additional actions including phasing out highly polluting gas-powered lawn and garden equipment; expanding transit, walking and biking options; cutting emissions from the oil and gas sector and ratcheting down emissions from our biggest polluters. Our health and quality of life depend on using more of the many solutions that we have, as quickly as possible, starting in 2023.

Coloradans living along the Front Range have been exposed to dangerously high levels of ozone air pollution as the region has failed to meet EPA air quality standards for over a decade. Breathing elevated levels of ground-level ozone is harmful and can cause or worsen not only respiratory conditions such as asthma and lung damage but also certain cardiovascular diseases. People’s health and quality of life are on the line.”