Today, Senator Michael Bennet and Representative Joe Neguse announced they are introducing the Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act, the most significant and broadly supported effort to protect Colorado’s public lands in a generation.

This public lands package combines several popular proposals into a single bill that will protect wild places across the state, including:

  • The Continental Divide and Camp Hale in the White River National Forest, the most-visited national forest in the U.S. New wilderness and special management areas, as well as the country’s first National Historic Landscape, will preserve the history, wildlife, clean water, and booming outdoor recreation economy in the area;
  • The iconic mountains in the San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests of southwestern Colorado, by expanding popular wilderness areas and including lands that were left out of initial wilderness designations;
  • The Thompson Divide in the White River National Forest, by ensuring that no future oil, gas, or mining development occurs on its rugged, wild lands. This will protect historic ranching and agriculture, outdoor recreation opportunities, and the state’s largest intact aspen grove along Kebler Pass; and,
  • The Curecanti National Recreation Area, which will be formally established by Congress as a unit of the National Park system, includes an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities including boating, hiking, and fishing.

Together, this bill will protect approximately 400,000 acres of iconic Colorado public lands for future generations.

“Coloradans love our lands and this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that Senator Bennet and Representative Neguse have put together— protecting some of Colorado’s most popular, iconic and historic public lands in a way that is widely supported by locals. We urge the entire Colorado delegation to listen to Coloradans and pass the CORE Act in this Congress.”

  • Kelly Nordini, Executive Director, Conservation Colorado

“The CORE Act continues a proud Colorado tradition of protecting our wild lands, clean water and outdoor recreation opportunities for future generations.  This legislation would protect some of the best that Colorado’s public lands have to offer, including pristine watersheds and key wildlife habitat along the Continental Divide, three popular fourteeners, and the rugged mountains and ranching heritage of the Thompson Divide. The CORE Act has something for everyone and all Coloradans stand to benefit. We are thankful for the leadership from Senator Bennet and Representative Neguse in writing the next chapter of Colorado’s proud history of supporting wilderness and public lands.”

  • Jim Ramey, Colorado State Director, The Wilderness Society

“We are grateful for Senator Bennet’s ongoing work to protect public lands in Colorado, and that Representative Neguse is championing these important issues as well. Both of them understand how important these lands are to residents of Colorado and our way of life — as well as people throughout the country who utilize and cherish these public lands.”

  • Will Roush, Executive Director, Wilderness Workshop

“The Colorado Mountain Club is pleased to see the CORE Act protect some of the most iconic landscapes in our state. This legislation protects an array of recreation opportunities —  backcountry skiing in the Ten Mile Range, climbing and mountaineering in the San Juans, mountain biking in Summit County, and hiking and camping along the Gunnison River –- and these designations will ensure that Colorado’s unique outdoor experiences are preserved for future generations.”

  • Julie Mach, Conservation Director, Colorado Mountain Club

“Over the past 10 years, a wide diversity of constituents has hammered out compromise agreements to ensure the future of treasured iconic Colorado landscapes in the San Juan Mountains.  We and other local proponents are tremendously appreciative that Senator Bennet has responded to the call from recreationists, businesses, landowners and local elected officials in Ouray, San Juan and San Miguel counties by sponsoring Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act.”

  • Jimbo Buickerood, Lands and Forest Protection Program Manager, San Juan Citizens Alliance

“Considering how long and hard so many people have worked on protections for the San Juan Mountains and the expansion of the Sneffels Wilderness Area itself, it’s rewarding to see Senator Bennet honoring local community’s wishes in introducing the Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act.  This reflects the consensus reached by citizens, stakeholders, and local elected officials.”

  • Jim Stephenson, Public Lands Chair, Ridgway-Ouray Community Council

“We thank Senator Bennet for his strong leadership in introducing the CORE Act in Congress.  In our area, the lands included for permanent protection include all those in the previously introduced San Juan Mountains Wilderness Bill.  In the decade since the bill was first introduced, its boundaries and delineations have been refined to ensure that existing uses are still allowed, while critical areas are protected.”

  • Lexi Tuddenham, Executive Director, Sheep Mountain Alliance

“Colorado hunters, anglers and recreationists have long understood the need to proactively conserve those intact tracts of wildlife habitat and fisheries that sustain our longstanding outdoor traditions.  We appreciate Senator Bennet’s continued leadership to advance legislation in Colorado’s central and southern mountains that would help maintain the opportunities to experience the unique sense of solitude and challenge that our wild public lands and waters provide.  We standby ready to help move this legislation forward.”

  • Tim Brass, State Policy and Field Operations Director, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

Resources
Video B-roll for Broadcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikDq0XHzsWI&feature=youtu.be
Images for Reproduction: https://www.wilderness.org/articles/media-resources/media-resources-colorado-outdoor-recreation-economy-core-act

DENVER — Today, in one of his first major administrative actions, Governor Jared Polis signed an Executive Order that will reduce carbon emissions for Colorado’s transportation sector, the second-largest source of carbon pollution in our state. Governor Polis’ action sets in motion a plan to accelerate large-scale adoption of, and increase consumer choice of, Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) in Colorado.

Additionally, the Executive Order:

  • Creates a transportation electrification workgroup to develop, coordinate, and implement programs and strategies to support widespread transportation electrification.
  • Directs the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to develop a rule to establish a Colorado Zero Emission Vehicle program.
  • Revises how the state will allocate nearly $70 million from the Volkswagen “Dieselgate” case to focus all remaining, eligible investments on electrification of transportation, including transit buses, school buses and trucks.
  • Orders the Colorado Department of Transportation to develop a ZEV and clean transportation plan to support the widespread deployment of electric vehicles in ways that save energy, reduce congestion and improve our transportation network.

In response to the Governor’s announcement, advocates released the following statements:

“Governor Polis hit a stand-up triple today — cleaner air, more car choices for consumers, and an important first step on climate. We are eager and excited to continue working together to bring nationally leading climate policy to Colorado.” — Kelly Nordini, Executive Director, Conservation Colorado

“We should not have to choose between clean air and getting to where we need to go. Electric vehicles will cut pollution in a way that will save us money. The cost to fuel an electric vehicle is a third of the cost of filling up at a gas pump and electric vehicles have fewer maintenance costs. We applaud Governor Polis for speeding up our transition to an electric-powered future.” — Danny Katz, Executive Director, Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG)

“Governor Polis is leading on critical environmental issues right out of the gate. By attacking tailpipe pollution he taking on climate change and pushing for cleaner skies for Colorado at the same time. This action is good for the economy, great for the environment and shows Colorado leadership. With the federal government AWOL on all these issues, Colorado is stepping up.” — Noah Long, Senior Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

“Colorado is a national leader in fighting greenhouse gas pollution from power plants – but the science is clear that we must also reduce pollution from cars and trucks if we want to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change. Governor Polis’ executive order will allow us to leverage Colorado’s increasingly green electricity generation fleet to achieve further and compounding reductions in pollutants from the transportation sector. Governor Polis’ leadership will help our state prepare for growing consumer demand for electric vehicles while cleaning up our air and reducing greenhouse gas pollution that causes climate change.”  — Erin Overturf, Clean Energy Program Deputy Director, Western Resource Advocates

“The Colorado Sierra Club applauds Governor Jared Polis for making one of his first actions in office one that addresses the climate crisis in our state. While the federal government goes backward on climate action, Governor Polis showed today that Colorado will charge ahead on solutions to cut pollution from transportation, putting at least one million more electric vehicles on the road by 2030.” — Jim Alexee, Director, Colorado Sierra Club

“It’s already clear that Coloradans are calling for action on climate. Utility providers and municipalities are making bold commitments to protect our environment and now our state government is following suit. Governor Polis’ charge to clean up Colorado’s transportation sector is exactly what communities across Colorado want to protect our health, our air, our environment, and our economy.” — Kelsey Maxwell, Clean Cars Organizer, Environment Colorado

“This executive order is a significant commitment by the new governor to support forward-thinking policies that will advance the adoption of electric vehicles, saving Colorado residents money at the fuel pump, and helping to lower electric rates, all while making our air cleaner and lowering carbon pollution. SWEEP congratulates Governor Polis for this bold action.” — Howard Geller, Executive Director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP)

“By committing to electric vehicles, Colorado is investing in a clean transportation future. We know electric vehicles run cleaner, reducing the pollution that causes climate change—and that advantage is only going to increase as Colorado invests in renewable electricity. We know they’re cheaper to operate and maintain—a driver in the Denver area can save more than $700 a year fueling their car on electricity instead of at the pump. Thanks to Governor Polis, Colorado could join the forward-looking states who are building a strong electric-vehicle market. With smart policies, more Colorado drivers could reap the benefits of electric vehicles.” — Michelle Robinson, Clean Vehicles Program Director, Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)

“We are thrilled to have Governor Polis joining us here at The Alliance Center to sign this executive order. Colorado has long been a leader in sustainability, and it is encouraging to see our new governor committing to our citizens’ health, to stronger environmental protections and to our clean energy economy.” — Brenna Simmons-St. Onge, Executive Director, The Alliance Center

“Today Governor Polis took an important step forward by announcing his commitment to increase the deployment of electric vehicles and improve Colorado’s readiness for a clean, zero-pollution transportation system. We’re excited about Governor Polis’ vision, and look forward to working with the new administration to accelerate these critical clean technologies while simultaneously rolling up our sleeves to secure the science-based reductions in climate pollution essential to protect Colorado’s environment and its economy.” — Pam Kiely, Senior Director of Regulatory Strategy, Environmental Defense Fund

Today, the Colorado Supreme Court released its ruling on Martinez vs. Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, retaining the status quo of an under-regulated industry.

In response, Kelly Nordini, executive director of Conservation Colorado, released the following statement:

“For too long, Coloradans asking for stronger health and safety protections have lost at the legislature, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and in the courts. That needs to change.

“Today’s Martinez decision is yet another reminder that we need to tilt the balance back in favor of Coloradans’ health and safety. With a new administration in place, we look forward to working with Governor Polis, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and legislative leaders to reform this broken system and put our communities first.”

Background on the Case

In 2013, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and several other young Coloradans asked the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to adopt a regulation stating that no drilling permits will be issued without a finding that drilling can occur without impairing Colorado’s air, water, and wildlife and that it does not adversely affect public health. The COGCC denied the request, holding that it lacked legal authority to issue such a rule. In March 2017, the Colorado Court of Appeals set aside the COGCC’s decision. The Court held that state law makes “protection of public health, safety and welfare, including protection of the environment and wildlife resources” a prerequisite for approving oil and gas development. While rejecting the COGCC’s legal interpretation, the Court did not address whether the agency should adopt the specific rule language requested by the Martinez plaintiffs. Today, the Colorado Supreme Court issued a ruling overturning the appeal and siding with the COGCC.

DENVER — Today, Conservation Colorado, the state’s largest environmental organization, announced the addition of two senior staff members: Government Affairs Director Katie Belgard and Communications Director Garrett Garner-Wells.

“We’re at a pivotal moment for Colorado, as our pro-conservation legislature and new governor take the reins to steer our state into the future.” said Kelly Nordini, Executive Director of Conservation Colorado. “With the addition of these two new staff members, we are gearing up to make Colorado a national leader on climate policy.”

Katie Belgard joins the team after nearly a decade working for organized labor and looks forward to bridging the two movements in her new role. She enjoys exploring Colorado on horseback, especially the mountains outside of Redstone.

“This is going to be a big year for Colorado’s air and climate. We all saw voters in November elect leaders across the board who promised to stand up for our air, land, water and communities,” said Belgard. “I am proud to join this powerhouse team in shaping Colorado’s conservation future.”

Garrett Garner-Wells most recently served as State Director of Environment Colorado. In his free time, he likes to rock climb and camp with his son while exploring new places in pursuit of his goal to visit all 64 Colorado counties and 41 state parks.

“The Colorado way of life is second-to-none, but preserving that way of life requires action on behalf of our air, water and climate,” said Garner-Wells. “I am excited to lead an exceptional team in sharing the stories of Coloradans who love our state. Together we will lay the groundwork for nationally leading policies that will protect Colorado for generations to come.”

¿Será 2019 nuestro tiempo para la acción climática?

Vivimos en un momento crucial para la protección del medio ambiente de Colorado. Con la apertura de la legislatura de Colorado y el Gobernador Jared Polis juramentado, entraremos a la sesión legislativa después de una nueva era de líderes que fueron elegidos por sus promesas de proteger nuestro aire, tierra, agua y personas.

De acuerdo a una encuesta de Colorado Los votantes tomados justo después de las elecciones de noviembre, el medio ambiente fue un factor importante para las elecciones de los votantes. Cuando se les preguntó qué tema de política era “más importante” en su voto para gobernador, el 42 por ciento de los independientes eligió “energía y medio ambiente” como una de sus dos principales opciones: la mayoría de los problemas probados. En otras palabras, no fue la economía, el cuidado de la salud, la educación, la inmigración o los impuestos los que llegaron a la cima de los votantes de Colorado, sino la energía y el medio ambiente.

Coloradanos votado por campeones pro-conservación para dirigir a nuestro gobierno estatal, ¡así que ahora tenemos la oportunidad de aprobar políticas audaces que protegerán nuestro futuro! Este año es muy prometedor para tomar medidas para proteger nuestro aire, tierra, agua y personas. Con el gobernador Jared Polis al mando, quien ganó su carrera en una plataforma de Energía 100% renovable. — Nos estamos preparando para un fuerte liderazgo de Colorado.

En 2019, nuestro objetivo es hacer de Colorado un líder en acción climática, priorizar la salud y seguridad de las comunidades sobre el petróleo y el gas, y proteger nuestras tierras y aguas.

Nuestros mayores esfuerzos

  • Tomando medidas audaces para proteger nuestro clima. Un informe reciente de las Naciones Unidas encontró que tenemos 12 años para actuar para prevenir un cambio climático desastroso. Colorado puede llevar a la nación hacia una economía de energía limpia. El reciente compromiso de Xcel Energy. Para una red de energía libre de carbono para 2050 es un gran comienzo, y podemos hacer más por nuestro clima. Como nuestra directora ejecutiva, Kelly Nordini, dijo en una noticia reciente: “El carbono es un contaminante. Tenemos que establecer un límite a esa contaminación y decir como estado cómo vamos a limitar esa contaminación por carbono “.
  • Asegurarse de que la salud, la seguridad y el medio ambiente sean lo primero en lo que respecta al desarrollo del petróleo y el gas. La industria del petróleo y el gas ha tenido demasiada influencia sobre los procesos políticos y regulatorios en Colorado. Debemos poner en primer lugar la salud y la seguridad de nuestras comunidades y tener las mejores garantías en Occidente.
  • Protegiendo las tierras públicas, ríos y arroyos que hacen de Colorado un excelente lugar para vivir. A medida que nuestra población crece, debemos asegurarnos de que nuestras tierras públicas estén preservadas, nuestros ríos sigan fluyendo y nuestros lugares silvestres sean accesibles para que todos puedan disfrutar.

Únete a nosotros

Obtenga más información sobre estos objetivos y cómo planeamos alcanzarlos en Futuro de conservación de Colorado.

Con estas políticas, podemos tomar nuestro futuro en nuestras propias manos. Podemos avanzar en la acción climática de Colorado, haciendo de nuestro estado un líder para la nación en materia de aire limpio y cambio climático, así como con medidas de seguridad que pongan a las personas por encima de las ganancias de la industria del petróleo y el gas. Trabajemos juntos para aprovechar esta oportunidad para proteger el estado que todos amamos.

El momento de dar forma a nuestro futuro es ahora.

Written by Audrey Wheeler

We are living during a pivotal moment for the protection of Colorado’s environment. With the opening of Colorado’s legislature and Governor Jared Polis being sworn in, we will enter the legislative session following a new era of leaders who were elected on their promises to protect our air, land, water, and people.

According to a survey of Colorado voters taken just after November’s elections, the environment was a major factor for voters’ choices. When asked which policy issue was “most important” in their vote for governor, 42 percent of independents chose “energy and the environment” as one of their top two options – the most of any issue tested. In other words, it wasn’t the economy, healthcare, education, immigration, or taxes that rose to the top for Colorado voters — it was energy and environment.

Coloradans voted for pro-conservation champions to lead our state government, so now we have the opportunity to pass bold policies that will protect our future! This year holds a lot of promise for taking steps to protect our air, land, water, and people. With Governor Jared Polis at the helm — who won his race on a platform of 100 percent renewable energy — we are gearing up for strong leadership from Colorado.

In 2019, we aim to make Colorado a leader on climate action, prioritize the health and safety of communities over oil and gas, and protect our lands and waters.

Our biggest efforts for climate action will be:


  • Taking bold action to protect our climate. A recent report from the United Nations found we have 12 years to act to prevent disastrous climate change. Colorado can lead the nation toward a clean energy economy. Xcel Energy’s recent commitment to a carbon-free energy grid by 2050 is a great start, and we can do more for our climate. As our executive director, Kelly Nordini, said in a recent news story: “Carbon’s a pollutant. We need to set a limit on that pollution and say as a state how we’re going to limit that carbon pollution.”
  • Making sure health, safety, and the environment are put first when it comes to oil and gas development. The oil and gas industry has had far too much influence over political and regulatory processes in Colorado. We need to put the health and safety of our communities first and have the best safeguards in the West.
  • Protecting the public lands, rivers, and streams that make Colorado a great place to live. As our population grows, we need to make sure our public lands are preserved, our rivers keep flowing, and our wild places are accessible for everyone to enjoy.

Learn more about these goals and how we plan to reach them at Colorado Conservation Future.

With these policies, we can take our future into our own hands. We can move forward on Colorado climate action, making our state a leader for the nation on clean air and climate change, as well as with safeguards that put people ahead of oil and gas industry profits. Let’s work together to seize this opportunity to protect the state we all love.

The time to shape our future is now.