Air pollution is worse near major roadways, refineries, chemical plants, fracking sites and power plants. The people living near them are often less affluent (61). And often are minorities (63). Click the button below to read more about a recent Oakland, CA study (54) and the map to the right.
We discuss this in more detail below...
Studies show that people living next to highways have worse health (54, 60). Additionally the EPA has estimated that closing the most polluting coal fired power plants and replacing them with renewable energy would save nationwide 3600 premature births, 1700 heart attacks, 90,000 asthma attacks and over 300,000 missed work days each year.(55) As noted above, people living close to roads and power plants are disproportionately less affluent and minorities. Their health suffers as a result (62, 63).
The less affluent and minorities are more severely affected by air pollution in numerous studies (61, 62, 63, 75,are a few). In Denver, neighborhoods like Globeville and Elyria-Swansea are perfect examples. These less affluent neighborhoods are right along the I-70 corridor and near the polluting Suncor refinery. Those living in these neighborhoods are exposed to much higher levels of air pollution than most other areas in the city. See 350 Colorado to read more about this local issue and join the local 350 Metro Denver to get involved.
Fracking is a technique used to drill wells for oil and natural gas. Although there are not many fracked wells in Denver, surrounding areas have thousands. Research has linked air pollution from fracking to unhealthy levels of smog and of toxic air contaminants.(46, 65) That unhealthy air comes into our city from neighboring counties creating our brown cloud and high ozone levels.(66, 67) There are efforts to monitor these wells to lower the pollution escaping but the state has a hard time keeping up and is underfunded.(68) We at DeSmog Denver advocate for rigorous air quality monitoring from the governor and state agencies like the Regional Air Quality Control Commission (RAQC) and the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC).