WildEarth Guardians

A Force for Nature

Select Page

Current work in wildlife, rivers, public lands, and climate

Press Releases

WildEarth Guardians Files Suit Over EPA’s Failure to Protect Coloradans from Smog

March 27, 2019
Rebecca Fischer, (406) 698-1489, rfischer@wildearthguardians.org
In This Release
Climate + Energy  
Denver – Yesterday, WildEarth Guardians filed a lawsuit in federal district court in Colorado against the Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to protect Coloradans from hazardous ground-level ozone, a key ingredient in smog.

“For nearly a decade, high ozone levels, much of it from oil and gas operations, have harmed the health of Coloradans, causing asthma and other respiratory impacts,” said Rebecca Fischer, Climate & Energy Program Attorney for WildEarth Guardians. “EPA’s failure to take action on this issue and find that the Denver area is continuing to violate federal air quality standards is a gross abdication of its responsibility to protect our public health and environment.”

Ground-level ozone is the key ingredient of smog and forms when two key pollutants–volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides–react with sunlight.

Colorado’s Front Range, including the Denver Metro area and North Front Range region, has been struggling with ground-level ozone pollution for years. The region’s oil and gas industry is one of the largest sources of smog-forming pollution. Ramped up fracking in the last year has pushed ozone levels to unhealthy highs.

The suit involves EPA’s 2008 ozone standards. EPA designated the Denver area as in “nonattainment” with the 2008 air quality standards in 2012. Unfortunately, clean air violations have only worsened in the last 11 years.

“EPA’s finding is critical because it forces the state to clean up its act and ramp up controls on air pollution,” said Daniel Timmons, Staff Attorney for Guardians and one of the attorneys litigating the case. “The sooner it takes action, the sooner Coloradans will be able to breathe clean air.”

EPA was required to make a determination as to whether the Denver Metro-North Front Range Area met the 2008 ozone standards by January 20, 2019.  EPA’s failure to take action is now two months overdue.

Other Contact
Daniel Timmons, (505) 570-7014, dtimmons@wildearthguardians.org