Due to poor air quality, the federal Environmental Protection Agency has proposed reclassifying the Denver Metro/North Front Range area from a “moderate” non-attainment area to a “serious” one, paving the way for new regulatory measures affecting industries and consumers.
Air quality data collected from 2015 to 2017 showed the northern Front Range failed to meet the EPA’s ozone standards, triggering the proposed change. The EPA held a hearing on the matter Sept. 6 and is accepting written comments through Sept. 16.
Nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds from natural sources or pollutants combine to produce ozone with the addition of sunlight.
In Colorado, EPA modeling shows that about 30 to 40 percent of ozone is caused by emissions from human activity, such as driving, manufacturing, producing energy and extracting oil and gas.
The Pikes Peak region has so far stayed within the EPA’s ozone standards, but government officials warned earlier this year that the area could easily slip out of compliance.