CONTACT: Sasha Tenenbaum
Senior Manager, Media and Public Engagement
Denver, CO— Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will award more than $2.9 million to 7 community air pollution monitoring projects in Colorado as part of the agency’s plan to invest a historic $53.4 million in 132 air monitoring projects across the US. Funding comes through the Inflation Reduction Act and the American Rescue Plan and will support projects in underserved communities that are overburdened by pollution.
Moms Clean Air Force organizers in Colorado, Shaina Oliver and Laurie Anderson, work closely with several of the awardees, including 350 Colorado and Black Parents United Foundation. They also work with Cultivando, which is set to receive $500,000 to monitor air quality in the Commerce City, Globeville, and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods, where families are exposed to high levels of air pollution from trucks, cars, and industry. The Suncor Refinery in Commerce City is a major source of toxic pollution in this area and has a long history of polluting the air at levels above legal limits.
In response to EPA’s announcement, Shaina and Laurie issued the following statements:
“The bottom line is that we need to know what’s in our air and how it’s impacting our health. This is how we pave the way to addressing the problems we face as communities,” said Shaina Oliver, a Moms Clean Air Force Colorado organizer in Denver. “I live in North Denver, near Commerce City, and pollution from the Suncor Refinery directly impacts my family’s health. My community–and others that are also disproportionately impacted by pollution– have a right to clean air and public health protections. Accurate, accessible air quality data is the first step toward environmental justice and a safe, healthy future for all.”
“We know that low-wealth families and communities of color often live, work, and play in areas with the highest levels of air pollution, but lack of air quality data has been a hurdle to tackling this long-standing environmental injustice,” said Laurie Anderson, a Moms Clean Air Force Colorado organizer in Broomfield. “With accessible air quality information, Colorado parents and caregivers will be better equipped to protect their families from the health-harms of air pollution and our leaders will have the opportunity to take data-driven action.”