DENVER (CBS4)– The state of Colorado is taking a new approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and this could affect the way you get to and from work. A new rule from the Air Quality Control Commission would require hundreds of companies to limit the number of people who drive to work.
It’s called the Employee Trip Reduction Plan, and it aims to address the number one cause of pollution in Colorado – transportation.
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“Today is ozone warning day and we have unhealthy air and if we want to do something about it, and I really want cleaner air, then we have to reduce pollution from our transport sector,” says Danny Katz, head of CoPIRG, an advocacy group for the environment and consumers .
The rule would affect any company with more than 100 employees in the nine ozone-free counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, Jefferson, and parts of Larimer and Weld.
The state estimates that these companies employ approximately 900,000 Coloradans. A total of 25% or 225,000 of them would have to work from home or walk, bike or take the bus to work by 2023, and 40% or 360,000 workers would have to do so by 2025.
The rule also requires companies to hire a transportation coordinator by January next year to keep track of how each employee gets to work, develop a plan to reduce employee travel expenses, and submit a progress report to the state each year. Exceptions are first aiders, truckers and people who drive electric vehicles.
“That’s the absolute definition of bureaucratic absurdity,” says Kelly Sloan of the Freedom to Drive Coalition.
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He says the rule is unrealistic: “Whether the retailers, manufacturers, hospitals, airports, whatever, they are trying to restrict access to jobs that don’t have these options.”
Katz says nearly half of those who have a job in downtown Denver come to work without a car: “It can work because we can already see it.”
But he says the state must expand local transport: “We’re all sticking together and if we want cleaner air, we all have to do our bit.”
Sloan says the state should also do its part and measure how much CO2 reduction the rule will achieve, and he says it does not: “If you should ask people to sacrifice this way, you should they at least be able to tell us what the benefit will be. “
At this point there is no penalty for not reaching the goal, but that could change.
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The Air Quality Control Commission will hold hearings over the next few months and finalize the regulation.