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EPA Shifts Region to “Severe” Non-Attainment Status
The EPA has begun the formal process of moving the Denver Metro/North Front Range Non-Attainment Area to a “Severe” rating from “Serious”. When approved, the status will trigger a myriad of costly and more stringent air quality measures and requirements across the region for many years. The measures will work alongside ongoing monitoring to reduce GHG within a 6-year time horizon.
Among the measures that are anticipated are:
- The use of reformulated gasoline in the summer months
- Projected to increase cost of gas by 40 – 50 cents per gallon’
- A reduction of the threshold that requires control measures on emissions sources from 50 tons per year to 25 tons per year
- Will trigger requirement for new state permits for emissions for 473 new emission sources than currently permitted
Any improvements to air quality demonstrated in the next few years as a result of policy and regulatory measures advanced by the Governor’s administration and legislators in the last two years will be applied to consideration of a reversal of the severe status at the next 5 year interval but were not factored in EPAs determination to move to a “Severe” status. Such policy and regulatory changes include new limits on emissions from oil and gas operations (SB 19-181), demands and plans for the closure of coalfired power plants (HB 19-1261), policies and funding to accelerate electric vehicle sales (SB 21-260, others), and new Colorado Department of Transportation rules on reducing emissions when planning major road projects (SB 21-260).