Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, March 17, 2023


Robert Ukeiley, (720) 496-8568,

Court Voids Colorado’s OK of Increased Air Pollution From Tanker Truck Facility in Commerce City

DENVER— A state judge has voided a permit issued by the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division allowing a tanker truck repair shop to emit more asthma-causing air pollution. Polar Service Center is located in a part of Commerce City already heavily overburdened with pollution.

Thursday’s Adams County District Court decision follows a lawsuit filed by North Range Concerned Citizens and the Center for Biological Diversity challenging the division’s approval. Adams County is part of the Denver Metro/North Front Range area, which has for more than 15 years violated the national smog standard set to protect the health of people and wildlife.

The court’s decision comes in response to a request jointly submitted by the two organizations and the Air Pollution Control Division itself. By submitting this request, the division admitted it wrongly authorized the increased pollution.

“This truck repair shop is located in a part of Commerce City which already bears a disproportionate burden of pollution from a variety of other sources,” said Kristi Douglas, chair of North Range Concerned Citizens. “Voiding this permit is a small step towards environmental justice, but we won’t rest until all people in Commerce City, regardless of their race or economic status, have clean air to breathe all the time.”

State law prohibits the division from issuing permits for more air pollution unless it has evidence that the new source will not cause or contribute to violations of the science-based pollution thresholds set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

State officials originally approved this permit after one employee spent only 10 minutes on it and said he did not “feel” like there would be any violations of the science-based thresholds.

“This ruling is another step toward heeding the science that shows we need to get off fossil fuels quickly to protect our health and our forests and wildlife,” said Robert Ukeiley, an environmental health attorney at the Center. “The Air Pollution Control Division needs to consistently spend the time and effort needed to ensure all pollution permits are as strict as possible to facilitate our transition to a renewable energy economy.”

Those most at risk of getting sick from smog include children, the elderly, people who exercise or work outdoors, and people with asthma and other lung problems. Smog also makes it harder for bees to pollinate wildflowers and agricultural crops because pollution prevents bees from smelling flowers.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

North Range Concerned Citizens is a coalition of Commerce City neighborhoods and neighbors formed to inform residents and protect their health, safety and welfare and the environment and wildlife from harmful impacts of industrial activity. They oppose industrial activity in residential areas.

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