Stage 1 fire restrictions, enacted for unincorporated areas of western Boulder County.

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July 20, 2022

Studies confirm urgent action needed to protect air quality, public health

Boulder County and other Front Range communities to present independent research to Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC)

Boulder County, COAir quality studies commissioned by Colorado city and county governments reveal that local oil and gas sources continue to contribute to dangerous ozone levels in the Denver Metro/North Front Range region, negatively affecting the health of residents and fueling the climate crisis. The research will be presented to the AQCC on Thursday, July 21, 2022, where representatives from Boulder County, Broomfield, Erie, and Longmont will explain how they have responded to concerns from residents about air quality, health, and climate change with their own independent air quality studies.

  • Boulder County’s studies show the link between ozone exceedances and elevated emissions alongside no decline in emissions from 2017 through 2021.
  • The City and County of Broomfield’s study found that individuals living less than one mile from multi-well, horizontal oil and gas sources report upper respiratory and acute health symptoms more often than residents living at greater distances.
  • The Town of Erie will share details of their monitoring program designed to characterize emissions from the hundreds of active and plugged and abandoned wells in and near the town.
  • The City of Longmont will share key findings from their air quality study, with a focus on oil and gas-related pollutants.

“Colorado has emerged as a leader in climate and air quality action,” said Cindy Copeland, Boulder County Air & Climate Policy Advisor. “And Colorado's local governments are stepping up to study impacts on our air and climate so that Colorado can continue to lead. We are concerned about the climate and health ramifications of ozone and air toxics in our community, especially for community members who are disproportionately affected by climate change and air pollution, including children, people living in poverty or who are unhoused, and communities of color. We look forward to working with the AQCC to find ways to address this.”

“Local governments have valuable data that needs to be considered alongside data from industry and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, said Bill Hayes, Boulder County Public Health’s Air Program Manager. “One key takeaway is that our emissions inventories need to be improved so that all pollution from local sources is accounted for. All of this critical data should be carefully scrutinized.”

The online meeting is open to the public and scheduled for 9 am on Thursday, July 21, 2022. The meeting agenda, link, and the full presentation is available on the AQCC website. The public can register to make comments during the meeting or send written comments to the AQCC by email


Boulder County residents are experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis in the form of high heat days, extreme weather, drought, poor air quality, and devastating wildfires. As a global leader in climate action, Boulder County is committed to the radical transformation needed to meet this challenge. Through programs and policies that foster innovation, coalition-building, and equitable outcomes, Boulder County is cutting emissions, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and supporting systemic change to fight the climate crisis.

Boulder County engages with the Colorado regulatory process on oil and gas, regional haze, transportation, greenhouse gas, and ozone rulemakings and advocates for Colorado state legislation to reduce GHG emissions and help Coloradans avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

In 2018, Boulder County, San Miguel County, and the City of Boulder filed a lawsuit against two oil companies that bear significant responsibility for climate change. The communities are demanding that Suncor and ExxonMobil pay their fair share of the costs associated with climate change impacts on local governments so that the costs do not fall disproportionately on taxpayers.

Oil and gas operation

Mission of the Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience

Our mission is to advance policies and programs that conserve resources, protect the environment, and safeguard our climate in order to build a sustainable, just, and resilient community.

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