Help Colorado clean up toxic truck pollution


Supporters spoke up in this action

Delivery to Air Quality Control Commission

Action ended on April 4, 2023

What Happens Next

Thank you to all who took action! We’re grateful for your support.

What Was At Stake

Colorado has an air quality problem. One of the sources of this air pollution is toxic diesel pollution, which does not impact communities equally. Disproportionately, this pollution harms low-income communities and communities of color in Colorado and across the country. However, in the coming weeks, Colorado has a historic opportunity to address this pollution by adopting clean truck policies that ramp up the production and sale of zero emissions vehicles and protect Coloradans from harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) with low pollution standards for truck manufacturers. Urge Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission to adopt the strongest possible clean trucks rule package.

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency declared Denver and the northern Front Range as severe violators of federal air quality standards. The North Denver area is one of the most polluted zip codes in the country, with residents facing multiple threats from industrial facilities like the Suncor refinery, Superfund sites, rail traffic, and multiple highways. Trucks coming and going daily from factories located right by residential neighborhoods are a significant source of toxic pollution which impacts the predominantly Latino community in the region. 

A strong clean trucks rule package would cut smog and soot-forming emissions by 90% by 2050 compared to today, reducing respiratory disease, hospital admissions, and premature deaths — benefits worth more than $3 billion. These health benefits are especially important for the low-income communities and communities of color who have faced the worst impacts from Colorado’s highways and industrial facilities, as they will help residents avoid missed days at school and work, hospital admissions, emergency room visits, and premature death. This is an important opportunity to address Colorado’s history of environmental racism.   

Not only will clean trucks clean up our air quality, but they will also save us money and create new jobs. There are significant economic benefits from this clean trucks package. Electric trucks cost less money to maintain than diesel trucks. In fact, savings could add up to more than $6 billion through 2050. That will mean reduced shipping costs for commercial goods and a stronger economy that benefits everyone in our state.

Colorado has repeatedly failed its residents on both air quality and living up to its climate commitments. Disproportionately, this burden falls on low-income communities and communities of color across the state, particularly those who live near highways or industrial facilities with increased toxic truck pollution. By taking action to adopt these new clean truck policies, Colorado can show that it means business on moving toward a clean energy economy. We can no longer kick the can down the road — the time for clean trucks and healthier air quality is now. Send a letter to Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission demanding meaningful action today.

The GES neighborhood surrounded by the I-70 freeway, the I-25 freeway, and railway lines with downtown Denver. (Martin do Nascimento / Earthjustice)
The GES neighborhood surrounded by the I-70 freeway, the I-25 freeway, and railway lines with downtown Denver. (Martin do Nascimento / Earthjustice)

Your Actions Matter

Your messages make a difference, even if we have leaders who don't want to listen. Here's why.

You level the playing field.

Elected officials pay attention when they see that we are paying attention. Read more.

They may be hearing from industry lobbyists left and right, but hearing the stories of their constituents — that’s your power.

Our legislators serve at the pleasure of the people who gave them their job — you.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. When you contact your elected official, you’re putting a face and a name on an issue.

Whether or not you voted for them, they work for you, for the duration of their term.

Make sure your elected officials know whose community and whose values they represent. (Find your local, state, and federal elected officials.)

Your action is with us in court.

If a federal agency finalizes a harmful action, the record of public comments provides a basis for bringing them into court. Read more.

Throughout each of the public comment periods we alert you to, Earthjustice’s attorneys are researching and writing in-depth, technical comments to submit — detailing how the regulation could and should be stronger to protect the environment, our communities, and our planet.

We need you to join us — your specific experiences, knowledge, and voice are crucial to add to the Administrative Record through the comment periods.

Lawsuits we file that challenge weak or harmful federal regulations rely on what was submitted during the comment period. The court can only look at documents that are in the Administrative Record — including the public comments — to decide if the agency did something improper.

Your actions aid our litigation. Taking action and submitting comments during a comment period is substantively important.

It’s the law.

Federal agencies must pause what they’re doing and ask for — and consider — your comment. Read more.

Many of us may have never heard of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), but laws like these require our government to ask the public to weigh in before agencies adopt or change regulations.

Regulations essentially describe how federal agencies will carry out laws — including decisions that could undermine science, or weaken safeguards on public health.

Public comments are collected at various points throughout the federal government’s rulemaking process, including when a regulation is proposed and finalized. (Learn about the rulemaking process.) These comments become part of the official, legal public record — the “Administrative Record.”

When the public responds with a huge outpouring of support for environmental protections, these individual messages collectively undercut politicians' attempts to claim otherwise.

What this means is each of us can take a role in shaping the rules our government creates — and ensuring those rules are fair and effective.