Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 4, 2022


Robert Ukeiley, Center for Biological Diversity, (720) 496-8568,
Kristi Douglas, North Range Concerned Citizens, (720) 205-2627,

Lawsuit Challenges Colorado’s Approval of Increased Air Pollution From Tanker Truck Facility in Commerce City

DENVER— Conservation and community groups sued the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division today for issuing a permit allowing Polar Service Center, a tanker truck repair shop, to emit increased asthma- and cancer-causing air pollution.

The lawsuit was filed by North Range Concerned Citizens and the Center for Biological Diversity in the Colorado state district court in Adams County. The county is part of the Denver Metro/North Front Range area, which, for more than 15 years, has violated the national smog standard set to protect the health of people and wildlife.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently downgraded this area to the category of severe smog problems. And the truck repair shop is located in a part of Commerce City already heavily overburdened with pollution.

“It is outrageous for the state’s Air Pollution Control Division to rubberstamp a permit to emit more air pollution in this 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. “While there may be a lot of talk coming from the agencies these days about environmental justice, the first step in that direction is to stop issuing permits for more pollution in neighborhoods that are already getting hammered with pollution.”

The law prohibits the state Air Pollution Control Division from issuing permits for more air pollution unless it has evidence that the new source of pollution will not cause or contribute to violations of the science-based pollution thresholds set by the EPA.

“The scientific methods and tools to determine if a new pollution source will cause violation of EPA’s standards are well-established and readily available,” said Robert Ukeiley, a senior attorney at the Center. “We are going to court to force the state to follow the science and obey the law, especially in cases like this where a community is already burdened with more than its fair share of pollution.”

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. Scientific studies have also found that air pollution increases the chances of people getting, and dying from, COVID-19.

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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