Colorado Takes Big Step Backward on Climate, Formally Approving Rule that Allows Industry to Increase Climate Pollution
EDF Statement from Katie Schneer, Senior Analyst, U.S. Climate
(Denver, CO — Oct 20, 2023) Today, Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission took final action to adopt a rule that would allow 18 of Colorado’s largest industrial facilities (known as GEMM II facilities) to increase, rather than reduce, climate pollution this decade. As shown in the state’s own analysis, the targets adopted in the rule would allow total climate pollution from these facilities to increase 9% above current levels in each year leading up to 2030, dwarfing the modest 5% decrease that is targeted in 2030. Overall, the adopted rule would allow these facilities to emit 1.2 million metric tons more climate pollution over the decade than if pollution from these industries stayed flat at today’s levels. The regulation was opposed by numerous parties throughout the hearing, including the state’s Climate Equity Community Advisory Council, environmental justice and community advocates, large industrial emitters, local governments, and others.
“At a time when Colorado communities need leaders to advance strong action that protects their health and their future, regulators instead adopted a rule that puts Colorado in reverse, allowing industry to increase its pollution,” said Katie Schneer, Senior Analyst, for U.S. Climate at EDF.
“After over a year working on this rule, the Commission approved regulations that will allow total pollution from Colorado’s largest industrial sources to increase through the end of the decade. More pollution will worsen the climate crisis and perpetuate health harms to Colorado families, especially in communities that bear the brunt of air pollution impacts.
“Colorado is projected to fall well short of its 2025 and 2030 climate goals, according to analysis EDF published in July. To get on track and provide the climate and community protections necessary, the Commission must establish regulations that ensure climate and air pollution declines not just for these industrial sources, but throughout the state’s economy. The legislature established a clear directive for the Commission to make near-term progress on cutting climate pollution — both in the industrial sector and economy-wide — and they continue to miss the mark. Unfortunately, the administration’s actions in this rule and across its climate strategy mean Coloradans will continue to wait for the kind of climate leadership they’ve clearly demanded.”
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