Air Quality Control Commission Adopts State’s Inadequate Ozone Proposal
Community advocates demand meaningful action to address ozone pollution
The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission wrapped up a rulemaking hearing today on the state’s plans to address ozone pollution in the Denver and northern Front Range region. The commission adopted the inadequate plans put forward by the state, incorporating industry’s requested changes on key points, and failed to require the Air Pollution Control Division to conduct an equity analysis on the impacts of ozone pollution on sensitive populations and disproportionately impacted communities. The commission also will not require the division to reduce emissions for the transportation and oil and gas sectors, despite the fact that these sectors are the biggest contributors to ozone formation in the Front Range, which community groups had requested.
Earthjustice is representing GreenLatinos, Womxn from the Mountain, Healthy Air and Water Colorado, and Madhvi4EcoEthics in the rulemaking.
“Despite years of noncompliance and multiple failed plans, the commission and state have once again turned their backs on Front Range residents who suffer under a cloud of pollution,” said Caitlin Miller, attorney for Earthjustice’s Rocky Mountain Office. “The commission’s repeated claims that it is committed to addressing decades of environmental injustice ring hollow as it continues to do nothing in the face of our ozone crisis and the resulting respiratory disease, asthma attacks, missed school days, and early deaths for communities in this region.”
“Clean air is the fundamental right of every living being,” said Madhvi Chittoor, founder of Madhiv4EcoEthics. “This ozone discussion has been going on for years, even before I was born. Yet, the state and the commission have failed once again to safeguard the health of the voiceless children and flora and fauna.”
“The inability to curb ozone pollution is a direct failure in protecting public health,” said Sabrina Pacha, senior director of Healthy Air and Water Colorado. “Medical professionals have been sounding the alarm on the health consequences of ozone for years. It is time for our state leaders to find a path forward for getting the Front Range into attainment.”
“The responsibility to protect the health and safety of our communities needs to stop being delayed. It is invalidating to the lives being impacted by ozone pollution, and exposes the blatant inequity and ignorance to the need for timely implementation,” responded Renée M. Chacon, co-founder and executive director of Womxn from the Mountain. “If our state and federal agencies are not going to respond to known data with any trauma sensitivity, then communities need to lead implementation, because we refuse to lose more lives because of the state’s inability to protect us.”
“The commission and state continue to fail our most vulnerable residents on ozone pollution,” added GreenLatinos Colorado. “Our communities have organized for too long for action from officials that meet the needs of the problem at hand. Why is there a lack of ambition to tackle the problem? Today’s decision will perpetuate the negative health impacts for those living in the Front Range region.”
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