350 Colorado Springs is growing a grassroots movement of committed individuals and businesses that want to promote the health and vitality of Colorado Springs through education and local advocacy.
We seek to educate the community about actions that can reduce our carbon footprint in order to mitigate the adverse impacts from a warming climate. These include actions to improve energy efficiency and implement renewable energy solutions, choose local products for food and consumer goods, and consume organic and local foods when possible, and eat less meat!
350 Colorado Springs supports the Peak Alliance for a Sustainable Future – 2030 Plan, as the Pike Peak’s Region’s long-term sustainability plan to guide major decisions for our community’s future. The PPR 2030 Plan can be found by clicking HERE.
CURRENT and RECENT ACTIVITIES and CAMPAIGNS:
Add your name to a Petition to Colorado Springs Utilities that concealing air quality violations info is NOT OK! – Please sign this petition to tell the City of Colorado Springs government that it’s not ok to try to punish a resident simply seeking information about violations of air quality that they have been withholding from us all. This has been reported in the Colorado Springs Gazette . Contact 350 Colorado Springs member, Amy Gray through the petition for the latest developments, or check back here.
NO on Amendment 71 – Sadly this Trojan Horse gift from the oil & gas industry passed by majority vote, and this well-funded ballot initiative will now restrict citizens’ rights to participate in the legislative process. 350 Colorado and other organizations are currently assessing how we might overcome this coordinated industry attempt to stifle citizen’s voices and have access to unrestricted fracking and other energy development. We will not back down! And we will need your participation.
Remember to Vote, and to Vote Climate!
Earth Day Happy Hour: This past Earth Day, many celebrated our Earth home with a happy hour of drinks, food, friends, and learn about what Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs have planned to make our cities more sustainable in the Silver Room at the Mining Exchange. The event was free and open to the public.
Colorado Springs Chief of Staff to the Mayor Jeff Green and Manitou Springs Mayor Nicole Nicoletta each spoke about efforts each city has made to be more sustainable.
PRESS RELEASE: March 30, 2016
Colorado Residents and Organizations Call on the EPA to Protect Public Health from Sulfur Dioxide Emissions
Colorado Springs – More than 450 Coloradans have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider their evaluation of the sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from the Martin Drake Power Plant in Colorado Springs. Community members will deliver their signatures to the EPA office in Denver on March 31. The EPA has proposed that the SO2 concentrations in El Paso County are “unclassifiable” due to insufficient information, despite multiple professionally-completed air models revealing dangerously high spikes in SO2 along the foothills of the Front Range. Coloradans are asking EPA to designate El Paso County as a “non-attainment” region for SO2 based on studies completed by Air Expertise Colorado, LLC and others commissioned by the Sierra Club.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) has been found by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to cause severe health impacts in concentrations as low as 75 parts per billion. Exposure to SO2 for as little as five minutes can cause respiratory distress, increased asthma symptoms, and aggravate heart disease; impacts are felt most acutely by children, the elderly, and asthmatics.
A letter by 350 Colorado (350Colorado.org) to EPA, signed by more than 450 citizens, Sierra Club, Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission, and Green Cities Coalition stated that “credible data on this matter has been provided to you [EPA] by multiple air quality professionals showing that violations of this air quality regulation caused by the coal burning power generation from the Martin Drake Plant is a regular occurrence. Yet, by dismissing this data, the EPA grants the Colorado Department of Public Health & the Environment (CDPHE) more time to obtain compliance with the Standard, while knowingly and willingly prolonging the amount of time over a half million people are exposed to harmful levels of SO2.”
“EPA is discounting professional analyses that show public health is threatened,” said 350 Colorado Springs local leader Laura van der Pol. “If your doctor told you that two reliable tests showed you have a life-threatening but treatable illness, would you wager more years of your life to conduct more tests just to be sure? It’s fine to do more testing, but not at the immediate expense of our health.”
350 Colorado found that communities most directly impacted by the pollutants from the Martin Drake Power Plant—residents within a three-mile radius of the plant—are nearly three times more likely to live below the poverty level and half as likely to have completed high school as residents outside of that radius.
“The pollutants from the Martin Drake plant have a disproportionate effect on low-income and minority communities. . . . . A designation of unclassifiable would undermine the intended purpose of the 2010 NAAQS regulation, which is to protect vulnerable populations from short-term exposure to harmful levels of SO2,” 350 Colorado’s letter stated.
While EPA’s ruling applies only to SO2 concentrations, residents in Colorado are concerned about all of the by-products of burning coal. As Colorado resident John Whitcomb said, “Coal power plants emit substances that frustrate the health of all species, and cause cancer, birth defects and respiratory ailments.”
Others yearn for cleaner forms of electricity generation. Said Elizabeth Frey, “We all have a stake in the air we breathe. We must move beyond old, polluting coal power plants to clean renewable power sources, which will immediately benefit all of us.”
The EPA intends to finalize its proposed designations of SO2 nationwide by July 2, 2016. A non-attainment designation for the Colorado Springs region would require CDPHE and Colorado Springs Utilities to develop a compliance plan to ensure the safety of residents and visitors to the region.
 EPA on Health Impact of SO2: https://www3.epa.gov/airquality/sulfurdioxide/health.html
Please add your name in support of this request for EPA to change its designation of Colorado Springs regarding the National Air Quality Standard for sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions from the downtown Martin Drake coal plant, from ‘unclassifiable’ to ‘nonattainment’ to protect the residents and visitors of this second largest urban area and highly visited tourist area in Colorado.
We look to the EPA to:
- Prioritize the health and safety of people and the environment over the convenience of industry and government regulators,
- Avoid playing politics with matters of public health and safety, particularly when low income and minority populations are disproportionately affected,
- Promote the transparency of information from our government regulators, and
- Defer to the best available scientific data collected, not the conjecture and inadequate presentation made on this topic by Colorado Department of Health & the Environment (CDPHE).
A designation of non-attainment for SO2 is the only way to allow for swift and necessary action to stop harmful SO2 emissions, and provide sufficient oversight to protect public health to ensure the air we breathe is safe.
How much are we paying to burn coal in Colorado Springs?
- Join the 350 Colorado Springs email list to get updates about our events by filling out your contact information at this link and select “Colorado Springs email list” to get the latest updates and events.
- Visit our Facebook Events page for our next meet-up and action. Generally, we host a happy hour event once a month and regular actions in the community
- Recruit & Mobilize: Join the outreach team to identify and meet with local employers who are interested in securing a fixed, (low) electric rate that aims to meet their company’s sustainability goals. We are asking these employers to sign onto a letter to City Council that would show widespread business support for long-term planning at the city level.
- Spread the Word: Share events and information through email and social media to keep others & us informed. We’d love to work together! Please share ideas about how we can multiply our efforts. A couple ways to stay in touch:
If you have questions, ideas, or want to talk directly with the local team, please email 350ColoradoSprings@gmail.com.
We look forward to hearing from you!