REGIONAL NEWS: What’s polluting Colorado’s air? 125 million tons a year of heat-trapping and hazardous gases

State leaders say current level of pollution is unacceptable, some major polluters are taking action

PUEBLO, CO – JANUARY 07: Xcel Energy’s Comanche Generating Station, a 1410 megawatt, coal-fired power plant January 07, 2020.
/Photo by Andy Cross/The Denver Post

By Bruce Finley | The Denver Post

More than 125 million metric tons of hazardous and heat-trapping gases pollute Colorado’s air every year, hurting public health and accelerating warming of the planet at a time when world leaders are trying to clean up the atmosphere and fight climate change.

While that’s relatively little compared with larger states such as Texas or California, or total global emissions, Colorado officials under Gov. Jared Polis told The Denver Post this level of air pollution — the equivalent of about 4 tons per second — must not continue.

A Post review of federal and state data found Colorado has been one of 15 states where, due in part to the oil and gas boom, pollution increased after 2005 before leveling off around 2016, reversing previous progress.


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