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Conservation Colorado on 2023 legislative session:

Important progress made, and future action is needed to address air quality, affordable housing, and water conservation

DENVER —The close of the 2023 legislative session marks important progress on some environmental issues as well as missed opportunities on others.

“The legislative session saw important progress on water quality, tackling climate change, advancing clean energy and ending subsidies for dirty energy, but it fell short of delivering the bold action that Colorado communities expect in addressing drought and bad air quality. It also missed the opportunity for a once-in-a-generation policy to tackle our twin affordable housing and climate crises through land use reform,” said Kelly Nordini, Conservation Colorado’s CEO.

Along with partners, we fought for bold solutions to some of the state’s most pressing environmental concerns: clean air, drought, climate change, water quality, and sustainable and affordable housing. 

“This session, some of the key issues —housing, drought, and air quality— were challenges the state has wrestled with for many decades, and often that means success takes more than one session. The bar for leadership is going to be high next session, as we’ll be a year further behind on the progress Coloradans expect,” added Nordini.

Recognizing the importance of addressing drought and poor air quality, legislative leaders prioritized a legislative task force and interim committee to work on both issues over the summer and fall in preparation for action in the next legislative session. 

Conservation Colorado, the state’s largest statewide environmental organization, will prepare for substantial interim work to fight for water conservation and clean air.

We worked on over 90 bills with implications for Colorado’s climate, lands, air, water, and communities. We led several major coalitions and partnered with a wide array of advocacy and grassroots community organizations to shape this session’s key environmental policies and help ensure communities’ concerns were heard.

Some of the most notable bills we helped pass include legislation that will:

  • Improve water quality in mobile home parks (HB23-1257)
  • Create a task force to address threats from drought on the Colorado River (SB23-295)
  • Support stream restoration projects (HB23-270) 
  • Study solutions for our ozone crisis and address the cumulative impacts of oil and gas production (HB23-1294)
  • Strengthen climate pollution reduction targets (SB23-016)
  • End subsidies for natural gas line extensions (SB23-291)
  • Prohibit local housing growth caps that contribute to high housing costs and sprawl (HB23-1255) 
  • Update environmental and health standards for household appliances (HB23-1161)
  • Incentivize more electric vehicles, e-bikes, and heat pumps (HB23-1272)
  • Secure additional protections for climate, consumers and communities for clean hydrogen projects (HB23-1281)