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County Commissioners back petition to the EPA

Marshall Fire a factor
Colorado historic and projected Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Metric Tons CO2 Equivalent File image

With the Marshall fire still emblazoned on their minds, the Boulder County Commissioners, Wednesday, endorsed a petition to phase out greenhouse gas emissions under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

The act gives the EPA the authority to require reporting, record-keeping and testing requirements, and restrictions relating to chemical substances, and/or mixtures, according to the agency’s website.

The petition, brought by James E. Hansen, Donn Viviani. John Birks, Richard Heede, Lise Van Susteran, Climate Science Awareness and Solutions and CPR Initiative, also calls on the EPA to compel oil and gas companies to remove excess “legacy” carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and other GHGs — or pay into a carbon dioxide removal fund to ensure it is done, according to a Boulder County news release.

Commissioner Matt Jones said in a news release that the destructive Marshall fire — fueled by high temperatures and wind — settled the debate about the climate crisis being a matter of opinion.

“Climate change is already affecting us here in Boulder County and the EPA has the power to do something about it,” Jones said. He thanked the petitioners for bringing the petition forward and EarthRights International, city of Boulder and San Miguel County for endorsing it.

“By using existing laws, the EPA has the power to protect our environment and people at increased risk and thereby most impacted by climate change, including children, people living in poverty or who are unhoused, Indigenous and Native communities, and other communities of color,” Boulder County Commission Chair Marta Loachamin said in the news release. 

“The latest scientific findings, including the most recent United Nations reports from experts across the world, make clear that reducing greenhouse gasses and removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere needs to happen now, and not in future decades, if we want to protect our planet and our quality of life,” added County Commission Vice-chair Claire Levy.

The petition to Phase Out GHG Pollution to Restore a Stable & Healthy Climate was filed on June 16. By law, the EPA has a 90-day period to either accept or reject the petition.