Feds approve Colorado clean air compromise

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DENVER -- Colorado environmentalists and energy executives joined Gov. John Hickenlooper Friday in celebrating the EPA's approval of the state's landmark compromise to reduce pollution and improve public health.

"We're the only state doing this and we have everyone working together," said Pete Maysmith, executive director of Colorado Conservation Voters.

Hickenlooper announced Friday that the EPA has given initial approval to Colorado's Regional Haze Plan, a state-specific plan to meet looming federal environmental mandates.

Much of the plan stems from 2010's Clean Air Clean Jobs Act, which passed the state legislature with bipartisan sponsorship and support. Specifically, that bill directs that several coal-fired power plants be closed and others be converted to cleaner-burning natural gas.

“This approval is an important endorsement of Colorado’s state-led collaboration,” said Tisha Conoly Schuller, President & CEO of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association. “The Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act will support job creation in Colorado’s natural gas sector while measurably reducing air pollutant emissions,”

"Colorado’s bipartisan clean air plan will provide healthier air for our children and help clear the brown cloud over Denver while strengthening our economy,” said Pamela Campos, an attorney in the Environmental Defense Fund’s Colorado office.

“EPA has shown strong leadership by proposing approval, clearing the way for historic pollution reductions from the single largest emitters in Colorado so that we can all breathe easier.”

The EPA must give final approval to the proposal by September.

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