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Colorado Resources and Programs

Coloradans spend a large amount of time outdoors—biking, walking, hiking, running and getting to and from work, school, and home. With more people moving into our beautiful state, outdoor air pollution is on the rise. Here are some Colorado resources and programs that help turn the trend around:

  • Denver Metro Clean Cities Coalition
    A partnership between the government and local industry designed to expand the use of alternative fuels (housed at the American Lung Association's Colorado office.)
  • Southern Colorado Clean Cities Coalition
    A clean cities coalition based in Colorado Springs for the Southern region of Colorado. 
  • Clean Air For Schools : Engines Off
    An educational and curriculum-based program that has been implemented at over 40 schools in Colorado and has reduced idling by 60% on average for those schools. CASEO aims to reduce idling at schools because of the health effects that this unnecessary behavior has on our children.
  • FightingForAir.org/Colorado
    Stand up for your right to breathe clean air!

What can I do about air pollution?

  • Use alternative transportation. Carpool, bus, use the light rail, bike, or walk.
  • Maintain your vehicle. A poorly maintained vehicle can pollute as much as 25 times more than a well-maintained one.
  • Refuel your vehicle after 6:00 p.m. Since ozone pollution needs sunlight to form, the gasoline vapors that escape when refueling have less of an opportunity to be transformed into harmful ozone.
  • Stop at the click when filling up your vehicle
  • Avoid gasoline-powered lawn equipment
  • Explore telecommuting and teleworking as an alternative to driving to work
  • Teleconference instead of driving to a meeting

Lowering Methane Release in Colorado

The American Lung Association in Colorado works to combat climate change and the numerous lung health issues it will create due to increased drought, wildfires, more air particulate and higher pollen counts. When people think of the human generated greenhouse gases that cause climate change, carbon pollution is the first gas that comes to mind. However methane is 25 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide within a 100-year timeframe and more than 80 times as powerful within a 20-year timeframe. In October 2014 NASA discovered a methane cloud the size of Delaware over southwestern Colorado.

The vast infrastructure of natural gas, including processing facilities, storage tanks, pipeline leaks, and well pads are contributing to these methane leaks, and in particular super emitters within the industry. When methane is released, oil and gas operations also emit toxic chemicals, such as benzene, that can harm the health of oil and gas workers and families living near drill sites, as well as ozone-forming volatile organic compounds. Ozone can trigger asthma attacks and worsen chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, COPD, and is especially harmful for at-risk populations such as children, seniors, low-income populations, and minorities. 

Colorado has demonstrated success tackling this problem. Two years ago, we became the first state to create air rules that targeted leaks from oil and gas production. And they are working. Two years later, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported that the number of wells that needed fixing fell 75 percent in the state’s most heavily developed oil and gas field located in the northeastern part of the state. 

In order to address the cause of climate change federally, both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Bureau of Land Management have issued regulations on methane release that protect both our environment and public health. 

These are just the first steps we need to combat ozone pollution and climate change, which is a force that will increasingly contribute to lung health problems. Colorado’s Front Range is still struggling to achieve safe levels of ozone pollution. However, by working together and through smart regulation we can help keep the air clean of pollutants like methane and ozone precursors and prevent breathing problems.

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