Under the Dome: Tougher Air Quality Policy Concept Revealed

New Layer of Permitting Would be Imposted Upon Oil/Gas Sector

On the heels of the EPA decision last summer to designate the Denver Metro Area and the North Front Range in “severe non-attainment” of their strict air quality standards, environmental organizations and progressive legislators have been crafting a measure to impose stronger emission restrictions and permitting requirements upon all industry sectors.   The plan was revealed in a policy concept paper shared with NCLA and some stakeholders last week.

The concept paper revealed a new layer of permitting requirements for all “non-road” engines including the filing of a construction permit with the Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) and a newly required Air Pollutant Emission Notice (APEN) for new and broader classes of industry sectors.

Additionally, the oil and gas sector, already under the regulatory authority of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the strict rules established by Senate Bill 19-181, would be required to secure a construction permit by the APCD, as stated specifically, “a person shall not commence oil and gas operations without first receiving permit approval from both APCD and COGCC”.  

Why it matters:  The bill and new regulatory scheme is intended to establish for industry and further hobble the oil and gas sector and key industry sectors to strike at the new air quality non attainment status.  Certain legislators have lamented that the COGCC has not regulated the o/g sector “as 181 intended” and are using the regulatory processes under the APCD to accomplish their objective of shutting the industry down.  In so doing, they also severerly undermine all other industry sectors. 

What’s Next:  Bill Sponsors Senator Faith Winter and Representative Jennifer Bacon will introduce the measure in the coming weeks with the backing of the Environmenal Defense Fund, Conservation Colorado and EarthWorks.

Status Report

House Bill 23-1190  Affordable Housing Right of First Refusal                  Opposed

Creates a right of first refusal for a local government to match an acceptable offer for sale of a residential or mixed use, multi-family property for use as long term affordable housing.   The bill is scheduled for its first hearing on Tuesday, February 28.  NCLA Vice Chair Joe Rowan will testify on behalf of the NCLA before the Transportation, Housing and Local Government Committee conveying our opposition due to the market implications of the approach. 

House Bill 23-1118:  Fair Work Week                                                                   Opposed

Since the bill’s delay in committee last week, sponsors have been working on amendments to satisfy sufficient number of committee members to pass the bill out of committee.   The bill has been rescheduled for committee action on Thursday, March 2nd.  Sponsors will share amendments this week.

House Bill 23-1215:  Hospital Facility Fees.  

NCLA Board will consider newly introduced HB 1215 which proposes to prohibit Hospitals from charging facility fees for outpatient services and certain diagnostic and imaging services.  Concerns have arisen around loss of revenue for hospitals as costs are alleviated for the consumers.

NCLA Tracking Report

On a bi-weekly basis, the NCLA Board reviews and considers its position on pending legislation.  See the NCLA 2023 Legislative Tracking Report for the list of bills, thus far introduced, in which the NCLA is engaged.


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