Healthy Air

Legislature passes two more bills to address ozone pollution

HB 1294 will take steps on ozone from the oil & gas sector, while SB 16 will incentivize electric lawn & garden equipment.

An oil refinery near Denver, Colorado
Braden Gunem | | Used by permission
An oil refinery in the Denver area

In good news for the environment and public health, two more bills designed to address ozone pollution passed the Colorado state legislature on May 8, the last day of the 2023 legislative session.

Sponsored by Senator Hansen and Representatives McCormick and Sirota, Senate Bill  16 (SB23-016) creates a tax credit for retailers to reduce the up-front price for consumers by 30% on electric-powered lawn and garden equipment. Pound for pound, these machines are even more polluting than the cars and trucks we drive: Operating a commercial, gas-powered leaf blower for just one hour emits as much ozone-forming pollution as driving a car 1,100 miles. The bill also contains several other measures to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Once signed into law and implemented, Colorado consumers will be able to enjoy 30% discounts on lawn mowers, leaf blowers, trimmers/”weed wackers” and snow blowers at participating retailers starting in early 2024. Read CoPIRG’s full statement on SB 16 here.

Sponsored by Representatives Bacon and Willford and Senators Gonzales and Winter, the Protecting Communities from Air Pollution Act, HB23-1294, will set up an interim committee to consider further action to address ozone pollution from oil & gas and related sectors, as well as consider reforms to the state’s process of permitting new sources of air pollution. It will also provide more avenues for communities impacted by air pollution to make their voices heard.

In recent years, Colorado has suffered from some of the highest ozone pollution in the country. Breathing ozone can cause harmful health effects including lung damage, worsening of existing respiratory conditions such as asthma and cardiovascular disease

Reducing pollution from these sectors are among the nine action areas in CoPIRG’s Ozone Agenda, a package of policy ideas that address ozone across multiple sectors – from lawn and garden equipment to transportation to oil & gas and more. 

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