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April 15, 2024

Legislation to Protect Colorado’s Air and Water Advances House

Bills reduce the aviation-caused air pollution and update the Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) Chemicals Protection Act

DENVER, CO - The House today advanced two bills to protect Colorado’s air and water. HB24-1235, sponsored by Representatives Kyle Brown and Shannon Bird, would protect communities from aviation lead and noise pollution. SB24-081, sponsored by Representatives Cathy Kipp and Manny Rutinel, would help prevent highly toxic chemicals from seeping into our environment and negatively affecting Coloradans’ health. 

“Though not used in commercial planes, leaded aviation fuel is still present in Colorado and can have adverse health effects on our communities, especially children and youth,” said Rep. Kyle Brown, D-Louisville, sponsor of HB24-1235. “This bill will improve our public health and help transition aircraft away from the use of leaded fuel. This community-driven legislation works to ensure that airports are good neighbors to their surrounding communities by addressing both the dangers of lead exposure and the quality of life impacts of noise pollution. I’m proud to champion this bill because it’s good for our environment and our public health.”

“As our state’s population grows, smaller airports are seeing more traffic than ever before, which means increased noise and air pollution in our communities,” said Rep. Shannon Bird, D-Westminster, sponsor of bill HB24-1235. “This bill will help aircraft owners to phase out leaded fuel and ensures Coloradans living in aviation-affected communities are represented on the Colorado Aeronautical Board. There is no safe level of lead exposure for our children, and this bill works to clean up our air while prioritizing the health of our neighbors.” 

HB24-1235 would help ensure communities are protected from aviation noise and lead pollution by easing the transition to unleaded fuels for aircraft owners and airports. Specifically, this legislation would: 

  • Incentivize aircraft owners to transition their planes from using leaded to unleaded fuel by providing a refundable income tax credit for qualified expenses

  • Ensures that the lesser of 10-percent or $1.5M of State Aviation System grant funding per year goes toward aiding the transition to unleaded aviation gasoline, and requires grant recipients to both adopt a plan for phasing out sales of leaded gasoline by 2030, and enforce a noise abatement plan 

  • Add two members to the Colorado Aeronautical Board who are residents of communities affected by aviation

  • Requires the Division of Aeronautics to work with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment to evaluate, educate,  and provide technical assistance to airports regarding adverse impacts of aircraft noise and leaded aviation fuel

This bill aims to respond to community concerns about increased aviation activity in the Denver Metro area which is home to two of the top five airports and the most general aviation activity in the country. Leaded fuel, commonly used by aircraft owners, recreation pilots and pilots-in-training, is a leading source of lead emissions and excessive exposure to lead has many harmful health effects across various bodily functions.

“We’re one step closer to reducing PFAS, also known as ‘forever chemicals,’ in our water and environment,” said Rep Cathy Kipp, D-Fort Collins, sponsor of SB24-081. “Over the years, we’ve made good progress to phase out these dangerous chemicals in our everyday household items, and this bill continues our efforts to fully transition away from ‘forever chemicals’. This bill works with businesses to establish a reasonable timeline to phase out their reliance on ‘forever chemicals’ and prioritize our environment.”

“Coloradans are counting on us to fully eliminate PFAS, or ‘forever chemicals’ to protect our water supply and public health,” said Rep. Manny Rutinel, D-Commerce City, sponsor of SB24-081. “This bill builds upon important work to reduce ‘forever chemicals’ in common household items. By effectively phasing out these harmful chemicals, we can protect our communities from toxic chemicals commonly found in the water we drink and the environment where we all live.”

SB24-081 would make updates to the Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) Chemicals Protection Act. This 2022 law prohibits the sale or distribution of certain consumer products that contain intentionally-added PFAS chemicals and regulates the use and storage of Class B firefighting foam containing intentionally added PFAS. 

PFAS are synthetic chemicals developed to coat products to make them resistant to heat, water and oil. They are prevalent in a variety of products including nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain-resistant fabrics, cleaning products, and firefighting foams. PFAS break down very slowly in the environment and make their way into water sources, both poisoning the water supply and burdening water districts with billions of dollars in clean-up costs. Scientific research also suggests that exposure may lead to adverse health outcomes.

The bill adds additional products with intentionally added PFAS to the scheduled phase-out, including certain outdoor gear and cookware, ski wax, personal hygiene products, cleaning products, artificial turf and other textile articles. The bill also requires a disclosure to consumers of intentionally added PFAS in certain consumer products. 

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