Colorado adopts stricter air pollution permit requirements

The health agency in Colorado has made it harder for companies that are “minor sources” of air pollution to get a general permit.

Air pollution

According to a news release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, businesses must fill out a “checklist” that proves they did a “more thorough review of construction projects that create a new source of air pollution.”

The department said that review makes sure that projects won’t go over national air quality standards.

A “source” is an activity that puts pollutants into the air, like an asphalt plant or an oil and gas site. Inside of a serious ozone nonattainment area, a “minor source” is one that puts out less than 50 tonnes of air pollution per year. A spokesperson for the health department, Kate Malloy, said that the “checklist” is only for businesses that want to apply for a new minor source general permit. “Major sources” are those that release more than 50 tonnes of air pollutants per year and need a different kind of permit.

Colorado Oil and Gas Association

The president and CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association said that the department’s latest requirement comes at a bad time.

Haley told Colorado Politics. “As supply chain problems and inflation continue to hurt businesses and consumers, it’s the wrong time for the state to make it harder for businesses to get permits and pay more in regulatory fees,” she told Colorado Politics. “In fact, the state is facing a backlog of thousands of permits right now, and the actual measured air data doesn’t justify the need for hypothetical modeling and more paperwork.”

Air Pollution Control Division

In a news release, Michael Ogletree, who is in charge of the Air Pollution Control Division, said that Colorado is “few states have implemented a process like this, which puts them at the top of the list for protective modeling.”

Trisha Oeth, who is in charge of the department’s Environmental Health and Protection division, said that Colorado can’t wait for the federal government to act.

“The EPA told us that in the coming years they will give us more specific advice on how to give out general permits, and we welcome that advice,” Oeth said. “But we can’t wait to add more safety measures to our general permits, so we’re moving forward now.” Colorado is once again taking the lead in protecting the environment and cutting down on air pollution.

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