Air quality improved slightly during the stay-at-home order. But Colorado still has a serious pollution problem.
Metro Denver ranks 10th among most ozone-polluted cities in the country, according to the American Lung Association. Fort Collins is ranked No. 19.
Colorado has been making progress to clean up its air over the past decade by enacting stricter oil and gas regulations and automobile emissions standards, but the Front Range is still out of federal compliance for ozone standards –– and has been since 2012.
The state has until June 2021 to meet a ground-level ozone compliance deadline of 75 parts per billion standard set by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, and though air quality improved during the months of March, April and May in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the state is still unlikely to meet the deadline.
To meet the federal requirements, every monitoring site –– there are 16 up and down the Front Range –– must have a three-year average that is below the standards of 75 parts per billion, according to Michael Silverstein, director of the state’s Regional Air Quality Council.
If the state fails to meet the standard, Colorado will be put into a “severe nonattainment” category and industries will face a more stringent federal regulatory regimen. “If one monitoring site fails, the rest of them pay,” Silverstein said. “Everybody will get more rules and regs to get us under that 75 mark.”
Read more via The Colorado Sun.
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