Serious nonattainment in Denver

If you’ve ever gone hiking on the Front Range or driven from the mountains towards the plains, you’ve seen the brown haze that hangs over Denver, Golden, Boulder, Fort Collins, Greeley and Loveland and everywhere in between. 

This area is in violation of national air quality standards for ozone air pollution. In fact, according to the American Lung Association, the Denver region has some of the worst air pollution in the country. This noxious air frequently floats up into our mountains and parks, including Rocky Mountain National Park. Levels exceeding this health-based standard are unsafe to breathe and are linked to a wide variety of respiratory, cardiovascular and developmental health risks. Children, the elderly, and pregnant women are the most sensitive groups, but all of us are paying the cost with our health. And the Front Range is one of the only areas in the country where air quality has been getting worse, not better. Moreover, because hot days contribute to ozone problems, this situation is expected to only get worse with climate change. The area has been exceeding the standard since 2004 — fifteen years — but the EPA continues to drag its feet, failing to act on its mandatory duty to require improvement of our air quality.

This summer, we worked together to urge the state of Colorado to adopt the Zero Emission Vehicle program , which is one way to address our ozone problem. But more action is needed. Thanks to a successful lawsuit by one of our allies, the EPA has now been forced to propose to bump our region from “moderate” to “serious” non-attainment. This would require our State government to propose additional pollution control measures to reduce air pollution throughout the Front Range. 

Approximately 30-40% of this air pollution comes from the oil and gas industry (and a similar amount comes from motor vehicles). The oil and gas industry is now turning out in force in an attempt to stymie this commonsense action. 

The oil and gas industry would like us to accept the brown cloud forever. Tell the EPA that Coloradans demand clean air!