DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado expects to cut nearly 4,000 tons of emissions a year under new pollution rules aimed at cleaning the air in the state’s national parks and wilderness areas.

The plan “would be achieved by significant operational changes at a number of facilities, including the Suncor refinery in Commerce City,” according to a news release from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

On Friday, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission gave final approval for the rules. They aim to cut emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOX), sulfur dioxide (SO2) and particulate matter (PM), all of which impair visibility, the state said.

The rules come under a long-running Environmental Protection Agency program that requires states to plan on how to improve air quality and visibility in national parks and wilderness areas, of which Colorado has 12. The goal is to achieve natural visibility conditions by 2064.

Haze monitored at Colorado parks, wilderness areas

Colorado has 12 parks and wilderness areas that are monitored for haze conditions:

  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison Wilderness Area
  • Eagles Nest Wilderness Area
  • Flat Tops Wilderness Area
  • Great Sand Dunes Wilderness Area
  • La Garita Wilderness Area
  • Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area
  • Mesa Verde National Park
  • Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area
  • Rawah Wilderness Area
  • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Weminuche Wilderness Area
  • West Elk Wilderness Area

Greenhouse gas reduction goals in Colorado

Colorado has adopted a framework for reducing greenhouse gases in the state through its Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap.

Also on Friday, the state approved new rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas industry, as well as on the state’s own transportation projects.

Colorado’s statewide goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions include:

  • a 26% reduction of statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2025;
  • a 50% reduction by 2030;
  • and a 90% reduction by 2050 as compared to 2005 levels.