Feb 112011
Authors: Christopher Boan

The state of Colorado, including the region encompassing Fort Collins, isn’t up to par with vehicular emissions standards, and if nothing improves the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, has threatened to cut the state’s highway funding.

Emissions from motor vehicles play a large part in pollution, and recently, the EPA has threatened to further tighten its environmental standards.

According to The Coloradoan, the EPA ozone standard for the entire nation is 75 parts per billion. Currently the greater Fort Collins region is right at that number, which could mean trouble if he EPA were to follow through and make standards even more stringent.

Fort Collin’s high level of pollution stems from a variety of factors, ranging from the counter-clockwise movement of air currents that causes pollution from Denver to wander north, to the high levels of traffic on the I-25 and 85 corridors.

The increased production of oil in Colorado has also led to an increase in smog, as it’s extraction can cause byproducts to rise in the air.

“The problem is caused by the ‘sloshing’ back and forth of air currents in a counter-clockwise motion,” said Christopher Dann, the public information officer Air Quality Colorado.

This had led to a newly adopted vehicular emissions program, operated by Clean Air Colorado, that is currently being used in the greater Denver area, which has a higher danger of violating the EPA standard than Fort Collins.

There are plans, however, to extend the program to Larimer and Weld counties within the next two years.

Parts of Larimer County, however, already mandate that residents consent to some form of vehicular emissions test.

In December, it was mandated that vehicles in the Fort Collins and Loveland areas are subject to emissions tests every other year for vehicles made after 1982, and yearly tests for vehicles made before this date. These tests cost $25 and $15 respectively.

The Clean Air Act of 1970 was the first act that mandated federal guidelines for pollution, establishing a national benchmark that states were obligated to meet. Despite the positives of the Act, it does not have power to track degrading emissions standards, and relies on the states to provide the agency with data on their compliance.

“The issue is that if certain regions don’t ass regulations then the state needs to work with the EPA on a plan to reach national standards,” said Anthony Marchese, an associate professor in the mechanical engineering department.

Staff Writer Christopher Boan can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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