Monday, September 11, 2006

Denver's "Clean Air" Status Called into Question

Supporting clean air, last Friday Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) opposing the agency's effort to continue Denver's "clean air" status. Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action, however, left open the option of withdrawing opposition if stronger clean air requirements are emplaced to keep ozone below unhealthy levels.

In August, the EPA proposed to defer proclaiming the Denver area to be in violation of the federal ozone standard, which is set at 80 parts per billion averaged over an 8 hour period. The proposal asserted that Denver's air was healthy, contrary to the fact that over 50 exceedances of the ozone standard were monitored this summer.

At the same time, the state of Colorado has proposed to ratchet down on emissions of ozone forming compounds from oil and gas developments north of Denver. This proposal won't be adopted until November, however, and industry opposition may keep it from being adopted at all.

The EPA cannot claim that Denver's air is healthy while simultaneously the state of Colorado has all but admitted that more must be done to reduce ozone pollution from oil and gas development. For the EPA to proclaim Denver's air to be "clean" before ozone reductions are adopted by the state is simply irresponsible. The EPA's proposal puts the cart before the horse and in the end, may provide more incentive for pollution than clean air.

If anyone would like a copy of Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action's comments on the EPA's proposal, feel free to contact us.


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