Progress made for our environment and communities — but more to be done

When Colorado’s legislative session kicked off in January, our goal was to continue passing nationally leading policies that would protect our environment and communities. Colorado has an outsized leadership role to play in setting an example for the nation.

This year’s legislative session took an unexpected turn when it temporarily adjourned mid-way through due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the legislature reconvened on May 26 the importance of most of our legislative priorities had been reinforced as the pandemic made it clear that science, public health, leadership, and racial justice matter now more than ever. 

Our focus with legislative leadership was to help Colorado begin to rebuild better in the wake of this global catastrophe. For us, that means protecting public health, advancing racial justice, and ensuring that we make investments in our communities that protect air, lands, water.

Your support was critical to passing the following ten bills to continue our progress:

Air pollution 

  • SB 204 increases fees on polluting industries to ensure that our state regulators have the necessary resources to effectively regulate those industries. 
  • HB 1143 increases the allowable daily fine for violations of air and water permits to the limit allowed under federal law. 
  • HB 1265 requires corporate polluters who release toxins like benzene and hydrogen cyanide over the allowable limit to notify nearby communities through a reverse 911 notification.

Protecting our lands & waters

  • HB 1157 enhances the state’s “instream flow” program to keep water in our rivers.
  • HB 1095 provides authority for local governments to include water savings into their comprehensive plans.
  • HB 1403 allocates money for grant programs that support water projects that are beneficial to the environment.
  • HB 1119 requires monitoring and clean-up of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that are found in fire-fighting foam and contaminate drinking water.
  • SB 218 establishes a cash fund to support the PFAS grant program.
  • SB 3 secures $1 million to support the buildout of a newly acquired state park in Southeastern Colorado that is slated to open later this year.

Other progressive issues

  • SB 217 improves oversight and accountability of law enforcement in Colorado. 

Despite the challenges we had a very successful legislative session, meeting the moment and protecting Colorado’s environment. However, there is still a tremendous amount of work left to do. There are many systemic problems facing Colorado and our country, and our communities and economy will face serious challenges. Moving forward, Colorado’s leaders must rebuild better, and we look forward to working with them to make sure that any recovery prioritizes and centers investing in the environment, public health, and racial justice.