With Colorado set to miss 2024 deadline to reduce ozone pollution, critics call for more urgent action

State officials are expecting to meet older goal to reduce emissions by smaller amount by 2027

Noelle Phillips
The Denver Post
Tom Arterberry tees off from the first box at City Park Golf Course on Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021. A haze covered the metro area as Denver’s air quality dipped to a moderately poor level.
AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post

An independent board tasked with improving Colorado’s air quality believes the state will fall short of meeting an Environmental Protection Agency requirement to lower toxic air pollution by 2024, but will be able to reach an older, more lax emissions-reduction target three years later.

Critics argue that Colorado’s plan to reach those goals falls short, continuing a pattern that led the EPA earlier this year to announce plans to downgrade the northern Front Range’s air quality rating.

And every time the state misses its goals to reduce air pollution, it jeopardizes the health of Colorado residents who live along the Front Range — and it becomes more expensive to fix because more regulations are placed on industries such as oil and gas, trucking and manufacturing.

“If we fail to act, it costs us time. It costs us additional requirements,” said Danny Katz, executive director of the Colorado Public Interest Research Group. “This is a really pivotal moment. We can’t wait another few years to act.”


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