What We’re Watching: House Bill 1244

With legislative session well underway, the Colorado Chamber has been closely following all of the bills that could impact employers across the state. One major bill of concern that our team is working on this week is HB 1244, which would create a new one-size-fits-all air emissions program that could have a sweeping effect on businesses with industrial or manufacturing operations in Colorado.

For background, Colorado businesses, regulatory agencies, and lawmakers have made significant progress on reducing air emissions in recent years – from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Roadmap to the Clean Power Plan to other recent rulemakings. Electric utilities have also crafted and implemented resource plans to meet ambitious benchmarks moving forward. In addition, the federal EPA and Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment already have extensive regulations in place on hazardous air pollutants in particular.

HB 1244 would impose a completely new and complex layer of law and regulation over hazardous air pollutants, using a strict standard that goes beyond any other state in the country. It applies to all major and synthetic minor emission sources in Colorado, creating impossible barriers for siting new facilities. The bill would allow the state to review or close any facility operating under a minor or major source permit. The bill’s reporting requirements are also incredibly costly and burdensome.

The bill lacks scientific rigor and creates a new standard that contradicts federal regulations and existing Colorado thresholds. The criteria in the bill for a health-based standard process fails to include epidemiologists, toxicologists, and other public health experts from CDPHE, using extremely broad, problematic language.

The bottom line: The impacts of HB 1244 would be far-reaching. It would make Colorado less competitive with other states, creating one more disincentive for companies to locate, remain or expand here. It would create a costly and unsustainable bureaucracy in the regulatory process that lacks a scientific basis.