Colorado governor announces plan to cut ozone emissions

The governor’s office said Colorado would be the first state in the U.S. to require the cuts. Nitrogen oxides are the main precursor to ozone, according to the EPA.

DENVER — Gov. Jared Polis, D-Colorado, announced a plan Thursday for the oil-and-gas sector to cut nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, which are the main precursor for ozone pollution, over the next two years.

The plan would be the first comprehensive nitrogen oxide reduction program in the United States to reduce oil-and-gas emissions, the governor’s office said.

Polis said he’s directing the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission (COGCC) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to come up with rules by the end of next year that would require upstream oil-and-gas operators to cut their NOx by at least 30% during the 2025 ozone season.

Oil-and-gas producers would have to cut NOx by at least 50% by 2030, the governor said.

Oil-and-gas production is projected to become the largest contributor of ozone precursor emissions on a ton per day basis, the governor said. Extraction activities are responsible for nearly half of the total ozone in the Denver metro area, according to the governor’s office.

“These actions will significantly improve air quality and reduce levels of ozone pollution, with immediate cuts in ozone-causing chemicals in Colorado’s air in the next two years and the largest ongoing reduction in NOₓ from oil and gas in Colorado’s history,” Polis said in a letter that was sent to the heads of the COGCC and CDPHE.

9NEWS has reached out to the Colorado Oil and Gas Association for comment about the proposal. We have not yet received a response.

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