Colorado air quality regulators update plan to lower ozone levels and align with EPA standards |

Colorado air quality regulators update plan to lower ozone levels and align with EPA standards

The new State Implementation Plan comes as the Front Range anticipates a downgrade in its ozone compliance status

Lucy Haggard / Colorado Sun

Colorado’s air quality regulators on Friday adopted a new plan to combat Front Range ozone pollution that will tighten emissions from oil wells, boilers and automobiles, and may even change the way paint dries.

The new plan is necessary as the federal Environmental Protection Agency is set next year to drop the region’s ozone status to “severe” from “serious.” The lack of an approved plan could jeopardize $434 million in federal transportation funds for Colorado.

Ozone is a corrosive gas created when nitrogen dioxide (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) cook in heat and sunlight.

The compound has been linked to respiratory and heart problems, and the EPA has been lowering the acceptable health level as more research emerges on ozone’s health effects.

Ten Denver metro area and northern Front Range counties have been out of compliance with the 2008 federal benchmark — 75 parts per billion — since 2012. A 2015 update lowered the standard to 70 parts per billion, but for now the region is attempting to align with the 2008 standard.

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.

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