Air Quality Control Commission approves state health department proposal to continue reducing regional haze and improving visibility in Colorado’s national parks

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REMOTE (Dec. 20): The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission has given final approval to a set of proposals from the Department of Public Health and Environment that would further reduce pollution and subsequent haze at Colorado’s treasured national parks. The state has already achieved tens of thousands of tons of emissions reductions, staying ahead of its scheduled plan. 

The rulemaking took place under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Haze program, which requires states to take steps to improve air quality and visibility in national parks and wilderness areas. Colorado has 12 areas protected by the Regional Haze program, including Rocky Mountain National Park. 

“Improving visibility and air quality in our cherished national parks is a priority for this Administration,” said Shaun McGrath, director of environmental health and protection at CDPHE. “These new elements of our State Implementation Plan will keep Colorado ahead of the game on this important issue and further improve air quality in the region.”

The proposal approved by the commission last Friday will cut emissions of oxides of nitrogen, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter by nearly 4,000 tons per year. This would be achieved by significant operational changes at a number of facilities, including the Suncor refinery in Commerce City.

The new rules are part of Phase 2 of Colorado’s Regional Haze planning, and come after a lengthy stakeholder process that included public meetings in north Denver and Pueblo.