State health department to continue development of draft proposal to reduce greenhouse gasses

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REMOTE (May 18, 2023): The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Air Pollution Control Division moved forward a draft proposal that would reduce planet-warming emissions from the manufacturing sector. The draft proposal is called the Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Management Manufacturing Phase 2 rule, or GEMM 2. The rule would help the state reach statutory targets and meet the goals in Colorado’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap. It would also improve air quality for nearby communities. The Air Quality Control Commission agreed to hold a rulemaking on the proposal in September 2023. The division will continue to meet with organizations to discuss and modify the proposal as necessary. The division developed this iteration of the draft proposal with feedback from local communities, nonprofit organizations, and industry representatives over many months.

“First and foremost, we want to make clear that this is a draft proposal. We are continuing to prioritize public input and the need to be nimble in the rulemaking process. Our goal is to end up with the most cost-effective and efficient rule possible, and we are undeterred in that goal. We need a broad base of stakeholders to get this right for the people of Colorado,” said Trisha Oeth, director of environmental health and protection at CDPHE.

Under GEMM 2, covered facilities are manufacturing operations that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of greenhouse gasses per year. Eighteen manufacturing facilities would meet that criteria. The group of facilities would need to achieve 20% emissions reductions by 2030.  

By 2030, the division expects the rule would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 500,000 tons per year compared to 2015 levels. That’s equivalent to taking more than 111,000 gas-powered passenger vehicles off the road.

“I’m thankful for everyone who shared their lived experience and insights to help develop these newly proposed air protections, and I look forward to hearing more from stakeholders,” said Michael Ogletree, director of the Air Pollution Control Division. “Climate change impacts everyone, but those impacts vary depending where you live. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions and prioritizing benefits for communities closest to air pollution sources, we’re protecting the health of all Coloradans, no matter their zip code.” 

Many of the covered facilities are within one mile of a disproportionately impacted community. These include communities overburdened by multiple pollution sources, communities of color, and low-income communities. To ensure disproportionately impacted communities benefit from reducing pollution, the draft rule currently requires covered facilities to submit a greenhouse gas reduction plan to the division. The plan would have to include all cost-effective, onsite measures and prioritize those that would most reduce air pollutants that harm local communities, in addition to greenhouse gasses. An independent third-party chosen by the division would certify the plan.

To learn more about the rulemaking process and how to get involved, visit the Air Quality Control Commission’s website. To learn more about GEMM 2, visit the air division's website

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