EPA Downgrades Air Quality in Colorado, Forcing Changes

Tweaked gasoline blend will cost consumers more
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2022 1:30 PM CDT
EPA Downgrades Air Quality in Colorado, Forcing Changes
The setting sun illuminates clouds over the Rocky Mountains in Denver on Friday.   (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

After missing a deadline last summer to improve air quality, Denver and the northern Front Range of Colorado are in for tougher federal regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday that the areas now are classified as "severe" violators of air standards, the Denver Post reports. Refineries will have to produce a special blend of gasoline that reduces greenhouse gas emissions for use during the summer in the nine counties of the Front Range. That will increase gas prices drivers pay 20 cents to 30 cents per gallon next year, according to AAA.

In addition to Denver, the region downgraded by the EPA from "serious" to "severe" includes Boulder, Greeley, Fort Collins, and Loveland, per KDVR. Almost 500 businesses might have to apply for Title V air permits because the threshold is being dropped for ozone-creating emissions, the state estimates. The Colorado legislature has allocated $47 million for the Air Pollution Control Division to add staff and improve its air quality monitoring equipment. The American Lung Association's 2022 report listed ozone pollution in the Denver-Aurora area as the seventh-worst in the country. The worst six urban areas include Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Diego. (More air quality stories.)

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