Air Toxics Regulation Passes Committee

DENVER, CO– The House Committee on Energy and Environment today approved Representative Adrienne Benavidez and Alex Valdez’s bill to regulate air toxics emissions. The bill passed 7 to 4. 

“My constituents in Commerce City and Coloradans across the state have a right to know what factories, refineries, and coal plants are putting into the air,” said Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Commerce City. “We’re moving forward today to deliver environmental justice and protect the health and safety of our families while holding polluting corporations accountable.”

“Today we’re standing up for our neighborhoods, our families, and our state,” said Rep. Alex Valdez, D-Denver. “The toxic chemicals that this bill would regulate can cause ailments ranging from headaches and nausea to cancer and death. Since the bulk of the damage done by these chemicals is borne by those living closest to the facilities, it’s no surprise that communities of color are the hardest hit. Enough is enough– it’s time to take action.”

HB20-1265 would regulate certain hazardous air toxics, including hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen sulfide, benzene, and other hazardous air pollutants specified by the Air Quality Control Commission in rulemaking. 

The bill would create a program to regulate these pollutants in a manner more strict than required by the Federal Clean Air Act. The bill would also require facilities emitting these chemicals to monitor their emissions of covered air toxics and set health-based emission limits for covered air pollutants. Finally, the program would be tasked with creating a real-time community alert system for informing communities when pollution “incidents” occur. 

The bill also requires facilities that frequently emit the air toxics specified by the legislation monitor their emissions of toxic air pollutants and create transparency by promptly and thoroughly providing information regarding a pollution incident.