Saturday, December 22, 2007

Colorado Air Division Shirks Authority to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

Governor Ritter must have forgot to tell his staff at the Air Pollution Control Division that Colorado now has a goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 80% by 2050 to help keep the climate safe.

That, or the staff is simply shirking its responsibility to keep greenhouse gases in check. Unfortunately, it seems like this may be the case.

The issue has to do with whether the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division should require new sources of air pollution to utilize best available pollution controls for greenhouse gases. Under Colorado air quality regulations, any time a source of air pollution releases 250 tons/year of any pollutant that is subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act, best available controls need to be used.

The meaning of the phrase "subject to regulation" is a bit broad, and with good reason. The rules are meant to make sure that all harmful air pollution is always kept in check.

The Air Pollution Control Division however, doesn't believe that carbon dioxide is "subject to regulation" under the Clean Air Act. It's a bit shocking. Earlier this year, the United States Supreme Court held that carbon dioxide is indeed, a harmful air pollutant subject to regulation under the Clean Air Act.

In response to comments from Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action, the Division stated that the current rules don't provide an "express" provision to regulate carbon dioxide. One would think a Supreme Court ruling would be express enough in this case. Apparently not.

And so it goes. Despite Governor Ritter's bold challenge to reduce greenhouse gases, his staff appear to be derailing progress.

With worldwide support for reducing greenhouse gases continuing to grow, one would think the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division wouldn't be so quick to dismiss an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gases. Nevertheless, they did.


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