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Cumulative Impacts & Environmental Justice

Concerning measures to advance environmental justice by reducing cumulative impacts of air pollution, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
2024 Regular Session
Natural Resources & Environment
Public Health
Bill Summary

House Bill 21-1266, enacted in 2021, authorized the creation of the environmental justice action task force to develop recommendations for measures to achieve environmental justice in the state. The task force completed its work and published a final report on November 14, 2022, which report included a recommendation for the development of environmental equity and cumulative impact analyses (EECIA) in the state.

Section 2 of the bill creates the office of environmental justice (office) in the department of public health and environment (CDPHE) and section 1 requires the office to oversee a process to develop at least 2 EECIAs for specific geographic locations in the state. Once an EECIA is developed, various state agencies will be able to rely on the EECIA in conducting cumulative impact analyses regarding potentially polluting activities.

The office must choose as locations for the EECIAs communities that are disproportionately impacted communities, with priority given to communities that have a heightened potential for widespread human exposure to environmental contaminants. After selecting a location for an EECIA, CDPHE must contract with an academic institution or other third party to develop an EECIA. In developing an EECIA, the applicable contractor must perform a scientifically rigorous analysis that includes most of the recommendations made by the environmental justice action task force. Within 9 months after completing the first EECIA, the department shall prepare a report regarding the EECIA, including identifying any recommendations or resources needed for implementing the findings of the EECIA. The department shall submit the report to certain legislative committees. Section 3 makes a technical change regarding the assessment of civil penalties for air quality law violations. On or after January 1, 2026, section 4 authorizes the elected officials of a city, town, county, or city and county (local governing body) to request that the air quality control commission (commission) impose limits on any new or increased operational emissions of certain health-related air pollutants that would affect individuals located in the geographic region governed by the local governing body. To obtain approval of such a request, the local governing body must demonstrate to the commission's satisfaction that:

  • The geographic region over which the local governing body has jurisdiction is cumulatively impacted by pollution; and
  • An agency of the local government governed by the local governing body has a process to review exemption requests from the limits on any new or increased operational emissions.

An approved request for limits expires after 5 years and the local governing body must renew its request to further continue the limits. The commission may rescind its approval of the limits if the commission determines that the local governing body is not complying with its own processes regarding the limits.

On or before January 1, 2025, the division of administration (division) in CDPHE is required under section 5 4 to hire a petroleum refinery regulation expert to examine whether a specific petroleum refinery rule should be adopted by the commission and examine other regulatory or nonregulatory measures performed. Section 5 4 requires a petroleum refinery in the state to comply with certain monitoring requirements to provide real-time emissions monitoring data to the division. Section 5 4 also requires the division to establish a rapid response inspection team to respond quickly to air quality complaints received. Once the team is established, the team is required to develop processes and best practices for quickly responding to such complaints , and to engage in outreach to communities regarding events and conditions that lead to excess air pollution emissions in communities, and track and report on the division's website the number of complaints filed and the formal action, if any, taken on each complaint. Section 6 appropriates $1,180,087 to CDPHE from the general fund for implementation of the bill. Of the amount appropriated:

  • $310,449 is reappropriated to the department of law to provide legal services to CDPHE; and
  • Up to $959,301, if not expended before July 1, 2025, is further appropriated to the division through the 2028-29 state fiscal year for implementation of the bill.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)

(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)




Bill Text

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The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details