Kevin Bell, a lawyer for the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which filed the complaint on behalf of the whistleblowers, said the permitting problems were irresponsible and put the state further behind in its efforts to improve air quality.
Foul air continues to cause health problems, especially for people with asthma and other respiratory problems. Already this year, the EPA announced plans to downgrade Denver and the northern Front Range to “severe” violators of federal ozone standards, which would mean higher gas prices and more permitting for industries such as oil and gas, trucking and mining.
“The reason the air quality is so bad now is because of the policy that has been in place for a decade,” Bell said. “It’s been building up for decades and it’s going to take just as long to fix it.”