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Colorado oil & gas industry on trio of new air quality improvement bills, "We will fight each of these bills"

Years after an end to the oil and gas wars was declared in Colorado, the fight is fueling back up.

"We will fight each of these bills, and we intend to explore every available path forward to protect Coloradans from these efforts, which if successful will raise energy costs on those who can least afford it," said Dan Haley with Colorado Oil & Gas Association said.

Haley and other oil and gas leaders were quick to respond to a trio of air quality bills being introduced by Colorado lawmakers. It's legislation that comes after an ozone committee spent months meeting with different stake holders and public interest groups such as CoPIRG.


CoPIRG clean air advocate Kirsten Schatz says doing nothing to address Colorado's air quality, which for years has been below federal standards, will come at its own cost.

"There's a cost to our health. There's a cost to our quality-of-life kids, who are experiencing asthma attacks and are struggling to breath," Schatz said. "Missed days of work, missed days of school adds up to a huge cost to the state."

The bill package includes tougher enforcement for air pollution violations, additional permitting steps for new sources of air pollution and new air quality improvement regulations that would limit oil and gas production during the summer ozone months. It also directs CDOT to implement a program that would reduce driving along the Front Range.

Haley says an even bigger concern is a separate bill that would phase out new oil and gas permits by 2030.

"We need more energy in the world not less, and we need all forms," Haley said. "Despite what some extreme environmental special interest groups might tell you, they cannot phase out natural gas in any state and call it a climate solution to your face."

They argue the industry is meeting some of the toughest regulations in the world. Having to rely on those with none will do more harm.

Schatz acknowledged shifts made by the industry but says it's not enough.

"We can do better, and we have to do better," Schatz said. "We appreciate the efforts that industry has made in the changes they've made to clean up emission so far, but we need to do more. The fact remains we are still in violation of the Clean Air Act."

Colorado Oil & Gas Association with support from dozens of business groups sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis and state legislative leaders, urging them to oppose the proposed bills.

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