This content was originally published by the Longmont Observer and is licensed under a Creative Commons license.
The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) will consider proposals tomorrow (Thursday, May 21) to phase out a class of potent greenhouse gases known as HFCs and adopt updated rules on reporting and tracking greenhouse gas pollution.
Boulder County will join Colorado Communities for Climate Action (CC4CA)* and the Local Government Coalition (LGC)** — two networks representing 37 local Colorado governments — to focus on Regulation 22. These local governments are an official party to the rulemaking and will provide formal testimony during the hearing.
The rulemaking is a direct result of legislation adopted last year by the Colorado General Assembly establishing statewide greenhouse gas emissions goals, directing the AQCC and other entities to update their regulations in order to meet these goals, and to dramatically improve how the state measures and tracks these emissions.
Four issues are of particular interest, all of which are part of the Regulation 22 hearing:
- HFC Phaseout. HFCs (high-emitting hydrofluorocarbons) are a potent class of greenhouse gases primarily found in cooling and refrigeration. HFCs are up to ten thousand times more dangerous to the climate per pound than carbon dioxide, and HFC emissions are growing faster than the emissions of any other greenhouse gas. CC4CA and the LGC support the proposed phaseout of HFCs. Delaying the phaseout will result in significant unnecessary carbon pollution.
- Liquid Fuels. CC4CA and the LGC oppose the proposal to exclude liquid fuel suppliers from its greenhouse gas inventory. Liquid fuels, primarily transportation fuels and propane, make up a sizable portion of Colorado's carbon pollution. Omitting them will make it impossible for the state to meet its 2025 and 2030 carbon pollution goals.
- Underground Coal Mines. CC4CA and the LGC support including underground coal mines, which are another substantial source of carbon pollution.
- GHG Inventories. CC4CA and the LGC support the proposed plan for reporting and inventorying greenhouse gas emissions. Effective reporting and inventorying are essential for assessing progress and for evaluating which strategies are working and which aren't.
The AQCC meeting begins today (May 20) at 4:30 p.m. with a public comment session and resumes tomorrow morning (May 21) at 9 a.m. with another public comment session and continues throughout the morning as the Commission considers a range of proposed air quality rules changes. The "Regulation 22" hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m, but it is possible the AQCC will have to reconvene on Friday to make a decision.
* Colorado Communities for Climate Action is a coalition of 34 towns, cities, and counties across Colorado advocating for strong statewide climate policy.
** The Local Government Coalition is composed of 10 local government agencies from across Colorado, including the City and County of Denver, Boulder County Public Health, the City of Aurora, and Tri-County Health Department.