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DENVER - The Regional Air Quality Council (RAQC) approved a State Implementation Plan (SIP) to meet the EPA air quality standards for the Denver Metro/North Front Range nonattainment area. The region has been out of attainment for ozone pollution for years and previous SIPs have failed to bring ozone pollution down enough to meet the EPA healthy air requirements.
Last month, in a letter to the RAQC, thirteen organizations called on the council to approve a strong SIP with measures that significantly reduce ozone pollution. That letter reinforced a list of policy options laid out in a comment submitted by a group of local governments including:
- Expanding transit options to reduce vehicle miles traveled
- Accelerating electric vehicle adoption
- Curtailing oil and gas activities during ozone season
- Minimizing flaring at industrial facilities
- Adopting non-road or off-road engine standards that reduce pollution from lawn, garden, and heavy-duty equipment
- Reducing ozone pollutants from appliances and buildings
The SIP now heads to the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) for review and approval before being submitted to the EPA. The AQCC is expected to initiate their review in September for final approval in December.
Danny Katz, CoPIRG’s executive director, issued the following statement:
“From going for a hike or run to playing with your kids outside to grabbing a bite with friends on an outdoor patio, we’re known for our healthy, outdoor lifestyle. We can’t afford dozens of dirty air days year after year that contribute to asthma and other diseases, and force many people inside. Previous plans have come up short. To reduce dangerous ozone pollution, this plan needs enough specific actions that clean up our air, whether that’s expanding clean travel options or reducing pollution from oil, gas and industrial facilities or reducing gas-fueled lawn equipment and appliances. Reducing ozone pollution takes time and we can’t afford to miss the mark this year, delaying the clean air we deserve for years to come.”
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