Lawsuit Challenges Colorado Air Pollution Agency


The Colorado Air Pollution Control Division was sued this week for issuing an air-pollution permit allowing an Adams County oil and gas well to emit smog-forming pollution in the Metro Denver area.

The lawsuit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club in Colorado state district court in Adams County. The county is part of the Denver Metro/North Front Range area that, for more than 15 years, has violated the national smog standard set to protect public health, wildlife and special places like Rocky Mountain National Park.

“People have to get their cars’ tailpipes tested for pollution, but when it comes to oil and gas companies, it’s a wink and a nod from the Air Pollution Control Division and they’re good to go,” said Robert Ukeiley, a senior attorney at the Center. “It’s time to end the fossil fuel industry’s free pass to pollute.”

The oil and gas air-pollution permit is one of thousands the Air Pollution Control Division has issued to oil and gas operations, which belch smog into this area famed for its natural beauty. The permit does not require any testing of the actual pollution coming from the oil and gas well and does not evaluate the cumulative impacts of air pollution from this oil and gas well pad and other sources of pollution.

The well burns and wastes natural gas instead of shipping it to people’s homes, providing Coloradans with more pollution and no energy benefit according to the two environmental groups.

“Sixteen years is too long for millions of Coloradans to suffer from dangerous levels of smog,” said Will Walters, chair of the Colorado chapter of the Sierra Club. “It’s well past the time for the Air Pollution Control Division to stand up to Big Oil and put an end to them dumping their pollution in our backyards.”

Those most at risk of getting sick from smog include children, the elderly, people who exercise or work outdoors, and people with asthma and other lung problems. Scientific studies have also found that air pollution increases the chances of people getting, and dying from, COVID-19.

Source: Press Release