The Denver area is playing a starring role in the national fight over President Obama’s new ozone pollution rule, with potential implications for a crucial Senate race according to an April 29, 2016 report in The Hill.
The energy industry and other opponents of the ozone rule argue that the Mile High City will suffer severe economic damage from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulation, which is meant to reduce smog.
The EPA’s rule from last year lowered the acceptable amount of ozone in ambient air to 70 parts per billion, from the 75 parts per billion set in 2008. Ozone is the main component in smog and is linked to respiratory ailments like asthma.
Opponents of the rule see fertile ground for their cause in Colorado, a presidential swing state where Sen. Michael Bennet is considered the most vulnerable Senate Democrat running for reelection this year. The rule’s supporters note that Denver has repeatedly failed to meet national air quality standards over the years and say its reputation for polluted air presents an opportunity to make the case for government regulation.
Areas that exceed the standard must come up with ways to clean their air. That usually means reducing the pollutants from fossil fuel burning that turn into ozone, something that could hurt the energy industry and sectors that rely on energy.
In December, the EPA said Denver is unlikely to meet the new standard by 2025, the only area outside of California to get the designation. In its annual report on air pollution released in April, the American Lung Association, which supports the EPA’s rule, ranked the Denver area as the eighth worst for ozone in the country, saying its air improved since last year but is still worse than two decades ago.
What this means to you
Opponents of the EPA’s 70 parts per billion ozone rule see fertile ground in Colorado, a presidential swing state where Sen. Michael Bennet is considered the most vulnerable Senate Democrat running for reelection this year.