Air Pollution Worsens in Denver and Golden

Todd Hartman of the Rocky Mountain News wrote a lengthy article in today's paper describing recent air quality violations and the Denver Region's worsening air pollution:

Tuesday, for the sixth day in a row, the Regional Air Quality Council issued an Ozone Action Alert, encouraging residents to limit driving, painting, mowing and refueling during the hottest daytime hours.

Sadly, Golden too is suffering harmful levels of air pollution:

On Sunday, a pollution monitor at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden registered levels above federal health standards for ozone – the first such reading of the season.

The pollution is the result of a combination of explosive growth in oil and gas drilling, especially in Weld County, continuing increases in traffic across the Front Range, and other sources.

We used to have an air quality monitor in town but I don't remember why it was removed. Does anyone recall?

So what do we do about these air pollution problems in Golden and throughout the Denver region? Here are a few of my thoughts (and I welcome any other contributions):

  • For one thing, make sure your City Council is working with other communities across the Front Range to plan for growth and transportation management that reduces air pollution, not adds to it. This is one of the main reasons I represent Golden on the Board of Directors of the Denver Regional Council of Governments, and one of the main reasons I spend so much time in meetings working with our neighbors to solve some of these challenges.
  • For another, ask those people running to represent you in the state legislature and in the Governor's mansion what they are going to do about our worsening air quality. The Governor gets to appoint some of the people that make key decisions, like how much to regulate oil and gas wells. A governor who prioritizes clean air and the health of our kids will probably do a lot more to deal with our air quality problems than someone who doesn't.
  • Finally, consider not driving to work or to the store whenever you can avoid it, especially on the really hot days when ozone levels are particularly high and particularly hazardous. Bike, bus, carpool, vanpool, or walk if it's at all possible. And hang tight, because in another five years we'll have our very own light rail station to help those with a commute to other parts of the Denver Metro region.

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