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On September 29th, Earthworks Colorado Field Advocate Andrew Klooster testified before Colorado’s Legislative Interim Committee on Ozone Pollution. The committee is a result of a victory passage of the Protecting Communities From Air Pollution Act back in May of this year. The bill was unforutnately pared down to ensure passage of key components this year following strong opposition from the oil and gas industry. That is why communities and advocates urged legislators to convene an interim committee this summer to advance the strongest possible action on ozone pollution.

Colorado legislators acted and the Earthworks was invited to testify.

The American Lung Association recently released its 2023 State of the Air report. Denver is now the 6th worst city in the nation for high ozone days, up from 7th in last year’s report. Colorado Springs has now joined Denver and Fort Collins among the 25 worst cities for ozone nationwide, highlighting the need for statewide action on ozone.

Oil & gas pollution contains climate harming methane gas, health-hazardous toxics, AND pre-cursors to ozone pollution. Ozone triggers serious health problems—causing shortness of breath, damaging airways, and aggravating lung diseases. Communities of color and low-income areas disproportionately experience harmful impacts. Children, the elderly, and other sensitive populations suffer even more from high ozone.

As Andrew Klooster testified, the failures by Governor Jared Polis’ administration to cut industry pollution from drilling and fracking must be remedied for Colorado to improve air quality — particularly for historically marginalized Black and Latino communities. Check out Andrew’s presentation to legislators below!

All eyes will be on Governor Polis and legislators to act in the coming 2024 Colorado Legislative Session, which starts in January.