EPA mulls downgrading Colorado to ‘serious’ violator of air quality standards — a move health officials favor | SteamboatToday.com

EPA mulls downgrading Colorado to ‘serious’ violator of air quality standards — a move health officials favor

'Serious' violator status would mean 600 oil and gas and other industrial polluters would have to obtain permits

Eric Timlin, center, campaign organizer with Environment Colorado, stands with fellow activists to raise awareness and gather signatures outside the EPA Region 8 Headquarters in Denver while officials held a public hearing inside on Sept. 6, 2019. The hearing was to address the re-classification of Colorado as a “serious” violator of federal air quality laws.
Kathryn Scott/Denver Post

DENVER — The Environmental Protection Agency faced intense public worries at a hearing Friday in Denver before a long-expected decision on whether to reclassify Colorado as a “serious” violator of federal air quality standards — a move that would force stricter state control of air pollution at oil and gas operations and other industrial sites.

Colorado health officials favor the reclassification and had asked EPA officials why the hearing was necessary, given uncontested data showing a failure to comply with the national ozone pollution health standard.

Gov. Jared Polis declared in March that Colorado won’t seek a “blame it on China” waiver that former Gov. John Hickenlooper had pursued based on wafting international pollution, instead directing urgent “everything in our power” action to clean up bad air.

“The data is what it is. It shows we didn’t attain the air quality standard. We need to move into the ‘serious’ category. We’ve been planning around that,” John Putnam, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s director of environment programs, said in an interview. “It is good for affected parties and residents of the Denver metro area to know this is our status.”

Read more from The Denver Post.

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