Take Action: Protect Air Quality During A Respiratory Pandemic

Jared Polis - Governor of Colorado, CO State Land Board, CDPHE & COGCC

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We are living in the midst of a global pandemic present in our state and our communities. This pandemic, COVID-19, results in respiratory illness, respiratory distress, and even death, at alarmingly high rates. People with reduced lung capacity, those immuno-suppressed and the elderly are at higher risk. Many are being made more vulnerable and may be lost to this deadly virus due to avoidable air pollution according to research, such as the Harvard study released this month.

Oil and gas activities are responsible for as much as 40% of the pollution that resulted in the EPA reclassifying Colorado air quality as in “serious” violation of air quality laws, forcing stricter efforts to reduce air pollution. This pollution is greatly increasing our population’s risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. Many businesses that increase public risk are being asked to shut down during this pandemic, and the fossil fuel industry should be no exception.  Those following stay at home orders living by oil and gas fracking operations and dangerous polluters such as Suncor are most vulnerable. Meanwhile, oil and gas workers must be supported and their families provided with assistance and resources to ensure that they also have stability through this crisis. Workers and local residents alike will benefit from the improved air quality in the region and reduced pollution exposure.  

Please sign and share the petition below calling for all fossil fuel extraction and production activities known to release harmful VOCs and air pollution to be ceased, without exception, throughout the state for at least 30 days and until the pandemic is contained in Colorado (i.e. hospitals are not overwhelmed and the number of cases are on the decline). Thank you!

To: Jared Polis - Governor of Colorado, CO State Land Board, CDPHE & COGCC
From: [Your Name]

We, the people of Colorado, declare that:

We are living in the midst of a global pandemic present in our state and our communities. This pandemic, COVID-19, results in respiratory illness, respiratory distress, and even death, at alarmingly high rates. People with reduced lung capacity, those immuno-suppressed and the elderly are at higher risk.

Oil and gas activities are responsible for as much as 40% of the pollution that resulted in the EPA reclassifying Colorado air quality as in “serious” violation of air quality laws, forcing stricter efforts to reduce air pollution. This pollution is greatly increasing our population’s risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19. Many businesses that increase public risk are being asked to shut down during this pandemic.

We, as Colorado residents, must be afforded all available protections by our government; and we thereby submit that our elected officials:
Shall immediately and without hesitation or reservation, with emergency status employed, do all in their power, including the use of their protective police powers and the use of all available legal remedies, including those that stipulate the prioritization of health and safety, to require that all fossil fuel extraction and production activities known to release harmful VOCs and air pollution be ceased, without exception, throughout the state for at least 30 days and until the pandemic is contained in Colorado (i.e. hospitals are not overwhelmed and the number of cases are on the decline).

As the governor of our great state said during this crisis:

"These are historic times and they call for historic measures."

We call on you to act.

Co-Sponsoring Organizations include: 350 Colorado, ACCDAN, Broomfield Active Moms, Broomfield CAN, Call to Action - CO, CatholicNetwork.US, The Climate Mobilization - Colorado, Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate, Colorado Latino Forum, Colorado Renewable Energy Society, Colorado Rising, Earthworks, Eco-Justice Ministry, Fort Collins Sustainability Group, Friends of the Earth, GreenLatinos, Kids Against Fracking, The Larimer Alliance, League of Oil and Gas Impacted Communities, Mothers Out Front, NAACP CO MT WY State-Area Conference, North Range Concerned Citizens, Our Children's Trust - CO, Physicians for Social Responsibility - CO, Rocky Mountain Peace & Justice Center, Rebel4Life, Sunrise Boulder/Denver, System Change Not Climate Change, Together Against Neighborhood Drilling, Wall of Women, Weld Air and Water, What the Frack?! Arapahoe, Wild Earth Guardians

Supporting Colorado Leaders:
Colorado State Senator Joann Ginal
Colorado State Representative Jeni Arndt

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1.Air Pollution Increases Coronavirus Vulnerability, Experts Say”, By Christopher Carbone, Fox News, March 19, 2020. https://nypost.com/2020/03/19/air-pollution-increases-coronavirus-vulnerability-experts-say/

2. "If You Live With Air Pollution You're Already More Vulnerable", By Yessenia Funes, Gizmodo, March 17, 20120. https://earther.gizmodo.com/if-you-live-with-air-pollution-youre-already-more-vuln-1842366934

3. "People Living In Polluted Cities May Be At Higher Risk From COVID-19", By Emanuela Barbiroglio, Forbes, March 20, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/emanuelabarbiroglio/2020/03/20/people-living-in-polluted-cities-are-at-higher-risk-from-covid-19/

4. "Now Is the Time to Take Care of Your Lungs" By Zoë Schlanger, New York Times, March 27, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/27/climate/climate-pollution-coronavirus-lungs.html

5. "New Research Links Air Pollution to Higher Coronavirus Death Rates" by Lisa Friedman, New York Times, April 7, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/07/climate/air-pollution-coronavirus-covid.html