Center for Biological Diversity

Media Advisory, March 20, 2019 

Contact: Robert Ukeiley, (720) 496-8568,  

Colorado Air-quality Commission to Consider Petition Seeking to Blame Metro-Denver Smog on China, Other Nations

DENVER— Colorado air officials on Thursday will consider a petition by a mysterious group called “Defend Colorado” to declare that the smog problem in the Metro Denver/North Front Range area is due to international pollution from countries like China and India. 

The oil and gas industry is responsible for the vast majority of smog pollution in the Metro Denver/North Front Range region, which has been violating the federal smog standards for 15 years. In fact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that Colorado could reduce smog to safe levels by addressing local sources of pollution such as oil and gas.

The petition by Defend Colorado, a group that has refused to identify its funders, seeks to shift the blame away from the fossil fuel industry.

Ground-level ozone, or smog, threatens public health in various ways, including by exacerbating asthma attacks, and can even kill people. It also damages native vegetation such as ponderosa pine trees, which make up a significant part of the forests in the foothills of the Front Range.

In February Defend Colorado filed the petition seeking to invoke the International Border Area section of the Clean Air Act, which states that if pollution from outside of the United States is the cause of an area violating an air-quality standard, the area does not need to make further reductions in its locally generated pollution.

What: Air Quality Control Commission consideration of a petition by Defend Colorado to blame the Metro Denver/North Front Range smog problem on pollution from outside the United States.  

When: 9 a.m. Thursday, March 21

Where: Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Sabin Room, Denver, CO

Who: Open to the public. Center for Biological Diversity staff and other groups opposing the petition will be in attendance and giving oral comments to the commission, and will be available to speak with media.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

More press releases