Northern Colorado air quality downgraded by EPA

FILE - Smog blankets Denver in this photo dated June 19, 2021.
FILE - Smog blankets Denver in this photo dated June 19, 2021.(Next 9NEWS / YouTube)
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 2:16 PM MDT
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STATEWIDE, Colo. (AP) - Stricter air quality regulations are coming for northern Colorado businesses after the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday downgraded the area to a category for “severe” violators of ozone standards.

Drivers may have to be pay higher gas prices too.

That’s because the reclassification prohibits the sale of conventional gasoline within one year.

Colorado state environmental officials, however, believe they can achieve better air quality without needing to switch to the reformulated blend of gasoline the EPA requires, said Colorado Air Pollution Control Division spokesperson Leah Schleifer in a news release. Colorado has asked the EPA to reassess that requirement and consider the state’s alternative plan.

The gasoline blend would raise gas prices 20-30 cents per gallon, AAA estimates, according to the Denver Post.

The area includes a large swath of northern Colorado including Denver, Boulder, Greeley, Fort Collins and Loveland.

Colorado estimates it will issue more stringent permits for 600 oil and gas facilities and about 100 more industrial sites, the news release said.

The Colorado area was one of six areas to get downgraded by the EPA along with the Chicago area; the Dallas-Forth Worth and Houston areas in Texas; parts of Connecticut, the New York-New Jersey-Long Island area and the Morongo Band of Mission Indians in southern California.