Polis Signs Bill to Protect Communities from Toxic Pollution

DENVER, CO – Governor Jared Polis today signed legislation into law that will protect communities from toxic pollution. 

“Everyone should have access to clean air and water, but toxic pollution threatens the health of too many Coloradans,” said Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Commerce City. “Under the bill governor Polis signed today, we’ll collect more real-time data through fenceline monitoring in communities, and more people will know when facilities release air toxins. We’ll also better understand the cumulative health effects of toxic pollution on disproportionately impacted communities, often lower-income Coloradans or people of color.”

HB21-1189 requires facilities to collect and publicly report real time air monitoring data and fund community-based monitoring programs to better understand the cumulative health impacts of air toxics emissions from multiple sources. Air toxics are pollutants that cause or may cause cancer or other serious health effects, such as adverse reproductive effects or birth defects, or adverse environmental and economical effects. Specifically, the law expands the type of facilities covered by air toxin pollution limits. 

Importantly, the law requires real-time “fenceline” monitoring and public reporting on the results of the monitoring. Facilities are required to notify the public when emissions breach thresholds for toxic levels or exposure. Covered facilities must take corrective action within 15 days of a violation. The law requires covered facilities to conduct outreach to communities near the facilities, in particular disproportionately impacted communities. Outreach must be conducted in the two most prevalent languages spoken in the communities. Disproportionately impacted communities often include low-income neighborhoods and residents who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latino, and people of color. 

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