AQCC invites public comment on improving Colorado’s air pollution levels
In September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reclassified Colorado's Front Range as a "Severe" violator of federal air quality standards for ground-level ozone. In an effort to improve air quality and meet federal standards, Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) is considering regulations (referred to as a ‘rulemaking’) proposed by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to reduce air pollution in the Front Range.
A Rulemaking Hearing, with an opportunity for public testimony, is scheduled for Dec. 13-16. The AQCC is currently accepting written public comments, which are due no later than Nov. 29 at 5 p.m. and should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Local Government Coalition, which includes Boulder County, will give testimony at the December hearing. This coalition recently outlined suggestions in a pre-hearing statement ahead of the AQCC’s December hearing.
Ground-level Ozone and Colorado’s Air Quality
Under the Clean Air Act, the Denver Metro/North Front Range was first classified as a nonattainment area for the first ground-level ozone standard in 1978 and is now a Severe nonattainment area.
Unlike the protective ozone layer in the upper stratosphere, ground-level ozone is a harmful air pollutant. Ozone can permanently damage lungs and worsen lung conditions like asthma. Children, older people, those with lung conditions, and those who work outdoors are most impacted.
Because of the Front Range’s ozone nonattainment problems, the state is charged with developing plans to achieve the ozone standards.