The State of Colorado’s Air

“We have more days of spikes of particular pollution and worse ozone.”

The drier hotter summers in the West have resulted in a worsening air quality in the Denver metro area says Janice Nolan, assistant vice president of national policy at the American Lung Association.

Nolan directs the “State of the Air” report project and supervises the development of policy positions on indoor and outdoor air quality for the nationwide organization.

The ALA has just released its annual State of the Air report which shows that air quality in Denver is getting worse compared to last year’s report.

Nolan attributes this to warmer weather in summer due to climate change and pollution from coal fired power plants and oil and gas extraction along the Front Range.


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Coloradans are among the four out of ten Americans – more than 138 million – who live in counties in the U.S. where ozone or particle pollution levels make the air unhealthy to breathe.

The 16th annual national report card shows that while the nation overall continued to reduce year-round particle pollution, a pollutant recognized as causing lung cancer, poor air quality remains a significant public health concern and a changing climate threatens to make it harder to protect human health.

Nolan says that current ozone standards are outdated and need to be strengthened. She says that Congress also needs to act to to ensure the Clean Air Act remains effective and enforced.

Republican Colorado lawmakers have introduced legislation to to block or delay the state from implementing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, aimed at reducing emissions from power plants.

Senate Bill 15-258, also known as “Colorado Electric Consumer’s Protection Act.” would require the state to undertake  costly reviews of any Clean Power Plan rules adopted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Air Quality Control Division — including a full evidentiary hearing before the Public Utilities Commission to evaluate impacts to electricity rates.

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