Garfield County Suing State Air Quality Commission

GLENWOOD SPRINGS—Garfield County and eight other rural counties in Colorado are taking the state to court. The Western and Rural Local Government Coalition filed suit Wednesday in Denver District Court over the new pollution regulations passed by the Air Quality Control Commission last December. Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky says the new regulations lump in rural communities with the densely populated cities along the front range. Jankovsky says the AQCC has also ignored the grave economic consequences that will follow once the statewide air quality standards are implemented. “In this particular case, he says, we have a simple ask of the commission, which is for rules developed in a fair manner that recognize our needs as well as our successful efforts to protect air quality without unnecessarily damaging our local economy.”  All of the counties; Garfield, Mesa, Moffat, Phillips, Rio Blanco, Cheyenne, Sedgewick and Yuma are out of the ozone non-attainment area of Denver and the North Front Range. Jankovsky says in addition to older wells shutting down, all of the local taxing districts that depend on severance tax revenue would suffer including schools, libraries, community health centers and a slew of social services. Jankovsky says every county involved in the lawsuit agreed it was time to push back against the state of Colorado. He says state leaders have gone too far.  Jankovsky says he hopes this suit will get their attention and the AQCC will pay heed to scientific data and air monitoring statistics compiled over the years that shows the air in rural Colorado is good. There has been no comment yet from the state commission.

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