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Proposal outlines rules to reduce emissions in Colorado

The state public health department said that the new rules would continue efforts to address the climate crisis and improve air quality.

COLORADO, USA — The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) unveiled a proposal Thursday to reduce emissions in Colorado and improve air quality in the coming years.

>> The video above is about how greenhouse gas emissions lowered during COVID-19, but not enough to impact climate change

The proposal includes new rules aimed at reducing vehicle traffic in Colorado, cutting emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and improving air quality for the state.  

These rules are meant to give Coloradans more options when they make decisions about transportation. 

“The transportation sector is the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state of Colorado,” said Clay Clarke, supervisor of CDPHE’s climate change unit.  

The proposal has two parts, first implementing the Employee Traffice Reduction Program (e-trip), which reduces employees who commute to work in single-occupancy vehicles, CDPHE said.

It requires employers in the Denver metro or North Front Range with an ozone nonattainment area over 100 employees to make a plan to reduce vehicle miles traveled by employees. Put simply, a nonattainment area is a place where there is too much of dangerous air pollutant, such as ozone. 

Though no penalties are in place if employees do not meet the top reduction goals. 

 According to the release from CDPHE, making this change would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 681,000 tons per year, starting in 2025. 

The second part of the proposal tightens the state vehicle inspection program, requiring cars older than 11 years to undergo an emissions test and meet registration requirements. 

Air Pollution Control Division expects a reduction of ozone precursors by about one ton a day, said the release. 

Aside from the transportation proposal, CDPHE introduced a rule for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Management for Manufacturing. This rule would require energy audits and emissions reduction plans at four major industrial facilities in Colorado.

Those facilities include the Evraz Steel Mill and GCC Rio Grande cement plant in Pueblo, the Holcim-Portland cement plant in Florence and Cemex Construction Materials South in Lyons.  

The estimated reduction in greenhouse emissions that the rule could achieve is between 230,293 and 573,735 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents.

“Reducing ozone pollution and greenhouse gas emissions are two of our highest priorities,” said Garry Kaufman, director of the Air Pollution Control Division.

CDPHE said before Thursday's presentations they and the Colorado Department of Transportation mailed roughly 3,700 letters to businesses that could be affected by the introductions of these policies. They jointly held 12 information/listening sessions, and two equity worships as part of the e-trip stakeholder process. 

“Success in that work means better air quality and a higher quality of life for Coloradans," said Kaufman. "We look forward to the August rulemaking hearing on these vital proposals, and in the meantime, we’ll continue to look for other effective, scientifically driven policies for achieving these goals.”

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