For Immediate Release: September 19, 2023
Alexandra Eliot, [email protected]
Jim Carpenter, [email protected]
Kyle Miller, [email protected]
State’s Proposed Rule Fails to Cut Industrial Pollution in Line with EJ Act, Say Community Members and Environmental Justice Advocates
Groups urge the Commission to extend rulemaking timeline and direct staff to develop strong limits on industrial pollution.
Denver – In advance of the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission’s (AQCC) hearing this week, a coalition of community members, environmental justice advocates and others released the following statement:
“In 2021, our communities fought tooth and nail for the passage of HB 21-1266, the Environmental Justice Act; we found hope in knowing that the leaders charged with supporting our communities heard our cries for action and would finally hold industrial polluters accountable who have, over generations, done irreversible damage to our health and the health of the planet.
Unfortunately, regulators have consistently failed to live up to the commitments of the EJ Act to rapidly reduce industrial pollution. For months, we’ve used every avenue available to us to work with the Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to ensure that their proposal to the AQCC centered the needs of the communities most impacted by the industrial polluters covered in the rulemaking. In spite of that effort, the state has proposed a rule that would have little, if any, near-term impact on the industrial pollution the AQCC is charged with reducing. The state’s proposal perpetuates environmental injustices faced by communities that are overburdened by cumulative impacts from industrial pollution and climate change impacts.
While the revised proposal has scaled back some of the loopholes that allow facilities to comply “offsite” through means that don’t benefit the neighboring communities, the rule would still allow industries to increase their pollution in the near-term far more than they would be required to reduce in 2030. As currently written, the state’s proposal would allow these industries to increase climate pollution 9% above current levels leading up to 2030 and reduce only 5% in 2030. These are an even further increase from the Division’s earlier proposals. Delaying reductions exposes communities to continued and intensified air pollution and climate impacts.
Absent fundamental changes to the Division’s proposal that lead to direct, onsite pollution reductions in the near term, consistent with the EJ Act, during the hearing this week, we have reached the conclusion that it would be far more productive for the AQCC to extend the rulemaking timeline, and direct the Division to craft a rule that puts truly enforceable, declining limits on pollution from these industries with action-driving enforcement that will finally make a meaningful difference for DICs.
No matter the outcome, our intention remains the same: to sustain the fight for environmental justice for every Coloradan, and to fight for the pollution regulations that are required for the state to meet its statutorily-mandated climate goals. Our future and the future of the planet depend on it.”
For additional comment the following individuals are available to speak with the press:
Renée M. Chacón, Womxn From the Mountain, [email protected]
Lorena Gonzalez, Conservation Colorado, [email protected]
Harmony Cummings, Greenhouse Connection Center, [email protected]
Shere Walker, Black Parents United Foundation, [email protected]
Katara Burrola, Mi Familia Vota, [email protected]
Guadalupe Solis, Cultivando, [email protected]
Ean Tafoya, GreenLatinos, [email protected]
Katie Schneer, Environmental Defense Fund, [email protected]
Helen Booth-Tobin, Ceres, [email protected]
Joe Antus, Signal Tech Coalition, [email protected]
Sara Loflin, ProgressNow Colorado, [email protected]
Womxn From The Mountain
Mi Familia Vota
Moms Clean Air Force Colorado Chapter
Families and Communities Coalition (Black Parents United Foundation, Green House Connection Center, Mothers Out Front, Mountain Mamas)
PSR Colorado – Physicians for Social Responsibility
Environmental Defense Fund
Signal Tech Coalition
SEIU Local 105
Colorado Sierra Club
Healthy Air and Water Colorado