GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - A group of nine Colorado counties—including Mesa County-- are challenging new rules on air quality established this past December.
These counties filed suit today in District Denver Court challenging these new rules from the Air Commission. All of the counties meet federal emission standards. The Western and Rural Local Government Coalition, or the WRLG, say that these new restrictions would be bad for business without helping the environment much. They’re afraid the new regulations will shut down wells and lay people off in the oil and gas industry. Environmentalists say these consistent regulations across the state will work to clean up the Front Range, but will also be a good step towards preventing Denver-like air quality here on the Western Slope.
"The percentage of people involved in the energy industries in these rural areas is more significant than on the front range,” says Mesa County attorney Patrick Coleman.
“The Western Slope has agriculture, it has tourism, it has the healthcare, it has education, it has universities… It's a chance to emphasize the growth in those sectors,” explains Jeremy Nichols with the Wildearth Guardians.
The new rules were adopted in February but since they have been appealed, the Western and WRLG is asking that these rules don't go into effect until these issues are resolved.