Metro Denver air pollutants hit minority areas hardest in a new form of redlining, study shows

"Air pollutants from auto and industrial sources concentrate in metro Denver’s most Hispanic and Native American neighborhoods, in part because of historic redlining that denied minority housing in whiter communities, according to a new study from University of Colorado scientists.

While statewide policy efforts focus on air pollution from a wide geographic area, including oil and gas wells in Weld County and agricultural sources of methane and nitrogen, Denver’s more urban neighborhoods are heavily impacted by nitrogen dioxide and particulates from vehicles and highways, the study says.

Policymakers could focus air pollution cuts more precisely and have a greater impact on historically exposed neighborhoods, according to scientists from the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES.

Policy changes could include redirecting heavy truck traffic, accelerating the switch to clean electric vehicles, or addressing pollution from single industrial sources having the most impact, they said. Suncor’s Commerce City refinery is one of the heavily polluting industrial complexes at the heart of the study’s most impacted areas."

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