According to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, the state's plan to relieve regional haze has received preliminary approval by the Environmental Protection Agency.
* The plan was submitted as part of the EPA's regional air quality rule that was approved by Congress to improve air quality in national parks and wildlife areas around the country, the governor's office said Friday.
* An important component of the plan is the Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act, which was passed by the Legislature in 2010. The act calls for emission controls, the retirement of older coal-fired power plants and the conversion of some plants from coal to natural gas.
* According to the governor's office, by 2018, the plan will result in the reduction of 70,000 tons of pollutants annually, including 35,000 tons of nitrogen oxides. The plan impacts 30 units and 16 facilities, including coal-fired power plants or cement kilns.
* Colorado's State Implementation Plan for Regional Haze includes a number of federally required sections, including: a monitoring strategy, the addressing of existing stationary facilities and a plan for preventing impairment from future facilities, baseline current and natural visibility conditions, and a strategy for addressing future pollution issues in the state. The plan also addresses conditions in Colorado that are not federally enforceable, including open burning, wildfire smoke management and renewable energy.
* According to Tisha Conoly Schuller, president and CEO of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act will support jobs in the natural gas sector while reducing emissions.
* Christopher Urbina, the executive director and chief medical officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said the plan would improve visibility in the state's scenic areas, including Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde, Maroon Bells and the Great Sand Dunes.
* The EPA will take public comment on its proposed approval of Colorado's plan with finalization expected in September.