Contact: Jessica Goad, 720-206-4235

In a huge win for the environment and the “resistance” against the Trump agenda, the vote to move forward with repealing a rule protecting air quality from oil and gas development just failed in the U.S. Senate. However, Colorado Senator Gardner voted the wrong way.

Here is a reaction from Pete Maysmith, Executive Director of Conservation Colorado.

This is an incredible day for the environment and for citizens across the country who have been telling their members of Congress to vote for clean air. The vote should have been an easy one for the oil and gas lobby to win, but the power of citizen activism has broken through the political morass.

 

With that said, we are deeply disappointed in Senator Gardner’s vote. Despite more than 10,000 emails and calls from Coloradans and multiple protests at his offices on this issue, Senator Gardner managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by voting against Colorado’s clean air in what amounted to a futile vote for him.

 

It’s obvious from this vote that Senator Gardner is much more interested in joining the Washington, D.C. political club rather than representing the values of Coloradans. This is not the leadership that Colorado needs, and we will double down on our efforts to make sure that Coloradans of all stripes know what a threat Senator Gardner’s voting record poses to clean air and environment.

Senate Republicans today attempted to use a little-known procedure (the “Congressional Review Act”) to kill rules from previous presidential administrations. Today’s vote on the “motion to proceed” was 51-49, with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Susan Collins (R-ME) and John McCain (R-AZ) joining all 48 Democrats in rejecting the resolution.

Senator Gardner has a 100% record of voting with Trump and has voted against the environment seven times already this year, the methane vote being the eighth.

The BLM’s methane waste prevention rule was modeled on Colorado’s successful 2014 methane rules. The federal rule was finalized in November 2016 after three years of public process that included eight public meetings held across the country and 300,000 public comments. The rule would minimize the amount of wasted natural gas resources from oil and gas facilities on public and tribal lands by requiring companies to look for and repair leaks, minimize flaring (burning) and prohibit venting of gas directly into the atmosphere. All told, the rule could save $330 million worth of natural gas each year, which would result in increased royalties paid to the federal treasury saving taxpayers more than $800 million over a decade.

Conservation Colorado, the state’s largest statewide environmental advocacy organization, announced today its endorsement of Phil Weiser for attorney general.

“When it comes to safeguarding our environment and our Colorado way of life, one of the most important elected officials in Colorado is the attorney general. As the lawyer for the people of Colorado, the attorney general has the power to act on behalf of all Coloradans and uphold our values,” said Maria Handley, acting executive director of Conservation Colorado. “Phil Weiser will ensure that Colorado prioritizes the health and safety of our people and our environment. As attorney general, he will be a leader in addressing climate change, preventing unsafe oil and gas development, and protecting our public lands and rivers.”

Phil Weiser added,  “I am honored to be endorsed by Conservation Colorado, Colorado’s largest state environmental organization. As attorney general, I will lead the fight to address the reality of climate change, not deny it. I will protect our public lands and ensure we have clean air and water, standing up to the Trump  agenda and suing our federal government when necessary to protect Colorado. I am proud to join Conservation Colorado, which has led the way for over 50 years to protect Colorado’s land, air, and water, to fight for our children and future generations.”

Weiser is a former dean of the University of Colorado Law School, served in the justice department under President Obama, and worked as a clerk at the U.S. Supreme Court. Weiser has made protecting Colorado’s environment a key part of his platform and has pledged to stand up for Colorado’s way of life. On the other hand, George Brauchler, Weiser’s Republican opponent, is a politician who is a favorite of special interests like the oil and gas industry. Surprisingly, he also just recently realized that water is a huge issue here in Colorado.

To protect what we all love about Colorado — our clear skies, wild places, rushing waterways, and diverse communities — we need leaders who share our values and are willing to take a stand,” said Handley. “We can count on Phil Weiser to do that. We are thrilled to support him in his bid for attorney general.”

Conservation Colorado Executive Director Kelly Nordini released the following statement on the election of Phil Weiser as attorney general:

Conservation issues played an incredibly important role in this year’s race for attorney general. From day one, Phil Weiser prioritized Colorado values and pledged to address climate change, protect our lands and water, and ensure our state’s continued leadership on conservation.

As the Trump administration continues to rollback critical environmental protections, we need an attorney general who will stand up and fight back on behalf of Coloradans. Phil Weiser is that attorney general.

At an unprecedented level, Coloradans were energized and engaged on environmental issues in this election because they clearly see the threat coming out of the Trump administration and want Colorado to be a national leader. That’s why in the 2018 election cycle, Conservation Colorado and its political committees spent more money, knocked on more doors, and engaged more voters than ever before. Our activities included:

  • Endorsing 55 candidates.
  • Spending $4.6 million on direct contributions to candidates, expansive digital ad programs, direct mail, canvasses, and TV and radio ads.
  • Knocking on 561,375 doors in targeted areas across the state and making 2,735 calls.
  • Sending more than 150,000 texts, including 110,000 texts to Latino voters.
  • Mobilizing more than 300 members and volunteers to knock doors, make phone calls, and take action to support pro-conservation candidates.
  • Contributing $1.3 million in opposition to Amendment 74.

Conservation Colorado Executive Director Kelly Nordini has released the following statement on the results of state Senate and House elections:

Coloradans have spoken, and their values are clear: they want leaders who will take action to protect what makes our state so special: our clean air, wild places, rushing rivers, beautiful vistas, and diverse people.

We are congratulating dozens of candidates at the state and local levels who have prioritized conservation issues as part of their campaigns. Their victories will ensure that our state Senate and House will be led by conservation champions who will take action on the issues that are so important to Coloradans.

We’re excited to work with all of our state legislators to ensure that we continue Colorado’s national leadership on protecting our air, lands, water, and people.

Conservation Colorado’s top priority race was Senate District 16, and the group spent $350,000 to help Tammy Story secure victory. Senator Tim Neville’s repeated attacks on our public lands was a key factor in his loss. It’s clearer than ever that Colorado voters — especially in Jefferson County, a bellwether area — value our open spaces and wild places and vote with them in mind.

At an unprecedented level, Coloradans were energized and engaged on environmental issues in this election because they clearly see the threat coming out of the Trump administration and want Colorado to be a national leader. That’s why in the 2018 election cycle, Conservation Colorado and its political committees spent more money, knocked on more doors, and engaged more voters than ever before. Our activities included:

  • Endorsing 55 candidates.
  • Spending $4.6 million on direct contributions to candidates, expansive digital ad programs, direct mail, canvasses, and TV and radio ads.
  • Knocking on 561,375 doors in targeted areas across the state and making 2,735 calls.
  • Sending more than 150,000 texts, including 110,000 texts to Latino voters.
  • Mobilizing more than 300 members and volunteers to knock doors, make phone calls, and take action to support pro-conservation candidates.
  • Contributing $1.3 million in opposition to Amendment 74.

Conservation Colorado Executive Director Kelly Nordini released the following statement on the failure of Amendment 74:

Tonight was a victory by a diverse, bipartisan coalition against an oil and gas industry that poured $11 million into a cynical attempt to write their own corporate profits into our constitution. Voters saw this deceptive measure for what it was – a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The only thing that the industry gained with their risky gamble with our state’s economy was an even further straining of their social license to operate in this state.

Conservation Colorado Executive Director Kelly Nordini has released the following statement on the failure of Proposition 112:

Let’s be clear: the oil and gas industry spent at least $30 million to beat this measure by fear-mongering about jobs. No one in this state would be foolish enough to say that tonight’s result mean that voters want an oil and gas rig closer to their homes, schools, or hospitals.

The fact remains: the oil and gas problem in this state has not been solved. Local communities still have too little say in where dangerous facilities are sited; the industry benefits from loopholes to laws meant to protect our environment; our state’s severance tax is the lowest effective severance tax in the nation; and spills, fires, explosions, and pollution remain all too commonplace.

In recent years, the oil and gas industry has stood in the way of basic, common-sense protections like keeping drilling away from our schools or tracking where pipelines exist so we don’t experience another Firestone tragedy. We need our leaders to take action in 2019 to ensure that Colorado has the strongest protections in the west.

Conservation Colorado released the following statement from Executive Director Kelly Nordini on the election of Jared Polis as governor:

Jared Polis said that we can protect the Colorado we love, and he set a bold path to a clean energy future. Colorado voters value our air, land, water, and people so it’s no surprise that they said “yes” to a leader who reflects these values.

Tonight’s elections show yet again that there is tremendous enthusiasm for environmental issues in Colorado. Now more than ever, states must lead the way when it comes to addressing the challenges ahead, and Governor-elect Polis will be at the forefront. Coloradans expect bold leadership from their governor, and we are thrilled to partner with him on his agenda.

At an unprecedented level, Coloradans were energized and engaged on environmental issues in this election because they clearly see the threat coming out of the Trump administration and want Colorado to be a national leader. That’s why in the 2018 election cycle, Conservation Colorado and its political committees spent more money, knocked on more doors, and engaged more voters than ever before. Our activities included:

  • Endorsing 55 candidates.
  • Spending $4.6 million on direct contributions to candidates, expansive digital ad programs, direct mail, canvasses, and TV and radio ads.
  • Knocking on 561,375 doors in targeted areas across the state and making 2,735 calls.
  • Sending more than 150,000 texts, including 110,000 texts to Latino voters.
  • Mobilizing more than 300 members and volunteers to knock doors, make phone calls, and take action to support pro-conservation candidates.
  • Contributing $1.3 million in opposition to Amendment 74.

I write as the enthusiastically wide-eyed recent addition to Conservation Colorado. My name is Koki Atcheson and I graduated from Colorado College this May with a BA in Environmental Science: Integrated and a minor in Education. I am so grateful to the Public Interest Fellowship Program and Conservation Colorado for this opportunity to start as a Communications Fellow.

I accepted a position in Colorado, far from my home base in Honolulu, Hawaii, because I recognize the state of Colorado as a national leader in advancing pro-environmental policies, public lands protections, renewable energy, and clean air and water for all people. I draw inspiration from Colorado’s green spaces of all sizes and the energy of city planners and community members working in partnership with nature. I see hope and great potential in the conservation movement, and I am eager to join a team who works relentlessly toward a better future for our environment and our people.

Once I walked through Conservation Colorado’s doors, I did not wait long to experience advocacy work firsthand. Moments after finding my desk, I listened in on a tele-press conference detailing Senator Cory Gardner’s voting history, and the implications of his anti-environmental votes. This was my introduction to what it means to hold elected officials accountable.

Senator Gardner has failed to fulfill his advertised commitments to renewable energy and the environment. Between 2015 and 2018 he voted against the environment 85 percent of the time. This record does not honor the conservationist identity that I share with 69 percent of Coloradans.

Reading Conservation Colorado’s report of Senator Gardner’s voting history, I was most upset to see that he has made surface-level claims of pro-environmental beliefs without stepping up as a leader in climate policy, sponsoring a wilderness bill, or consistently voting to secure the best interests of Colorado’s people and environment. These findings reinforce the necessity of digging deeper than political candidates’ promotional materials, and making this information easily accessible.

In Colorado, pro-conservation elected officials accurately represent the values and needs of residents. Pro-conservation actions promote public health through policies that minimize displacement and pollution, and maximize green spaces for all. In this way they are a vehicle for justice, and can work to counteract centuries of environmental racism.

Senator Gardner has an immense opportunity to represent Coloradan values and leave a positive legacy for the state he serves through working to advance clean energy, fully sponsor conservation bills, and protect the wilderness areas that keep Colorado wild.

If Colorado hopes to remain a proud champion for our environment, all of our elected officials must step up and boldly pursue action that honors our state’s human and natural needs. In my time as a Communications Fellow at Conservation Colorado, I look forward to learning from a wealth of mentors who are doing the political work to sculpt an equitable, environmentally connected future.

DENVER – Today, Conservation Colorado released a new report called “How Senator Cory Gardner’s Green Bonafides are in the Red” detailing the Senator’s failure to stand up for Colorado’s environment and way of life. From climate change to public lands to administrative nominees, the report assesses Gardner’s votes on the environment, highlights five instances of issues on which he is out of touch with Coloradans, and provides concrete examples of where Gardner’s media narrative does not match his voting record.

Specifically, the report finds that Gardner:

  • Voted against the environment in 85 percent of key votes; and,
  • Voted five times to block limits on carbon pollution, seven times to protect billions in subsidies for fossil fuels, seven times to undermine scientific reviews, and 10 times to make it harder to establish or enforce environmental protections; and,
  • Is out of step with Coloradans’ opinions on a suite of conservation issues.

Senator Gardner’s failure to stand up for our environment has real impacts for Coloradans across the state. Conservation leaders and citizens released the following statements in response:

“Senator Gardner’s voting record is unacceptable. He ran on promises to protect our land, air, water, and communities and he has failed to deliver on nearly all of those promises. Even worse, when faced with climate change — the defining issue of our time — he refused to step up and lead. Senator Gardner is running out of time to reflect Colorado values and should change direction before it’s too late.”
– Jessica Goad, deputy director, Conservation Colorado

“When he was first elected, Senator Gardner promised Coloradans that he would be ‘a new kind of Republican.’ Sadly, the ground he broke was becoming the only Colorado senator of either party since 1964 not to sponsor a single wilderness bill. Coloradans deserve a leader who truly fights for our clean air and water, public lands, and diverse communities.”
– Pete Maysmith, senior vice president of campaigns, League of Conservation Voters

“Adams County is doing our part to fight climate change, but we can’t do it alone. Our federal leaders, including Senator Gardner, should look to Colorado’s example when it comes to protecting our lands, reducing methane pollution, and combating climate change. Coloradans know we don’t have time to waste; Colorado leaders should heed their call.”
– Commissioner Emma Pinter, Adams County

“Politics isn’t a game. Every refusal to stop a reckless drilling plan or address the climate crisis puts the livelihoods and future of Colorado families at risk. Hotter summers, altered growing seasons, and unpredictable snowpack are threats that farmers can’t afford. Please, Senator Gardner: step up and lead.”
– Mark Waltermire, owner, Thistle Whistle Farms in Hotchkiss, CO

DENVER – Today, Colorado advocates for conservation, public health, consumers, and workers applauded Governor Jared Polis for signing into law HB 19-1261, the Climate Action Plan to Reduce Carbon Pollution, and six other bills that put Colorado on a path of bold climate action.

HB 19-1261 establishes science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets, putting Colorado on a path to reduce harmful climate-changing emissions at least 26 percent by 2025, 50 percent by 2030, and 90 percent by 2050, as compared to 2005 levels. The bill requires the state’s Air Quality Control Commission to develop cost-effective regulations to meet the targets and directs the Commission to solicit input from a variety of stakeholders, including workers and communities that are currently economically dependent on industries with high levels of carbon pollution.

“The Climate Action Plan ensures that, once again, Colorado is a national leader in the fight against climate change,” said Kelly Nordini, Executive Director of Conservation Colorado. “Thanks to the bold leadership of our pro-conservation trifecta, we now have economy-wide targets for reducing carbon pollution — targets that are critical for cleaning up our air, protecting our health, and preserving our Colorado way of life.”

“Coloradans have been calling on our elected leaders to take meaningful action on climate change, and this legislation is a critical step,” said Jon Goldin-Dubois, President of Western Resource Advocates. “The greenhouse gas pollution reduction goals included in the Climate Action Plan will lead to cleaner air, improved public health, and a healthier climate for this and future generations. Our window to take action is small and shrinking, and we applaud Colorado lawmakers for their leadership on this critical bill.”

“Coloradans love our public lands, but as the seventh fastest warming state we’re already facing the impacts of a warming climate which threaten our way of life and our $62 billion outdoor recreation economy,” said Jim Ramey, Colorado State Director at The Wilderness Society. “What’s important now is that we work with the Air Quality Control Commission to achieve the goals set by this legislation so that present and future generations can continue to enjoy our public lands, drink clean water and breathe clean air.”

“Frontline communities disproportionately bear the burden of environmental injustice and climate change and need to be at the center of Colorado’s climate solutions,” said Adrienne Dorsey, Executive Director of GRID Alternatives Colorado. “By signing an equitable Climate Action Plan, Governor Polis is making the benefits of clean energy accessible to Colorado’s underserved communities: reduced air pollution, savings on electricity bills, and access to jobs in our state’s growing clean energy economy.”

“Young people are at the forefront of the movements against climate change,” said Charley Olena, Advocacy Director for New Era Colorado. “We have tens of thousands of young voters across this state every year, and in every corner of Colorado, climate change looms large in the minds of these voters. HB 1261 is exactly the kind of bold action on climate that young voters called for when they turned out in droves in 2018. We’re thrilled with the end result and look forward to engaging in the rulemaking process moving forward.”

“Coloradans have been waiting for climate leadership, and the leaders that Coloradans sent to the Capitol delivered on their promises to take action,” said Jim Alexee, Director of the Colorado Sierra Club. “The legislation passed in the 2019 legislative session sets Colorado on a path to reach Governor Polis’ goal of powering our state with 100% renewable energy.  The Colorado Sierra Club supported legislation that moves us forward by supporting energy industry workers, meeting the demands of  electricity customers, and cutting pollution so our kids and grandkids can enjoy Colorado for generations to come.”

“We applaud Governor Polis for signing HB19-1261. A crisis such as climate change requires deliberate, bold action—and Colorado has just shown the country what that looks like,” said Carlos Fernandez, State Director for The Nature Conservancy in Colorado. “House Bill 19-1261 is a major victory for our state and our future.”

“Protect Our Winters commends Governor Polis for working with the legislature to sign strong climate goals into law. This bill is immensely important for the future of snowsports and outdoor recreation in our state, which pumps $28 billion into Colorado’s economy annually and suffers in the face of climate impacts, from a diminishing snowpack to increasing wildfires,” said Lindsay Bourgoine, Director of Policy & Advocacy for Protect Our Winters. “We are proud our governor recognizes these detrimental impacts to our industry and our community and his response is bold climate action.”

“Colorado’s economic future depends on our ability to tackle the issue of climate change. Agriculture, tourism, outdoor recreation, and many other industries are in danger of being irreparably harmed unless we act now,” said Carol Hedges, Executive Director of the Colorado Fiscal Institute. “Thank you to lawmakers and the governor for taking steps to ensure future generations will be able to enjoy the things that make Colorado an awesome place to live, work, and play.”

“Climate change, according to the American Public Health Association, is ‘the greatest threat to public health today,’” said Kate Stigberg, Director, Healthy Air and Water Colorado. “We want to commend Governor Polis for signing House Bill 1261, the Climate Action Plan, today. This is a huge step forward to ensure we can create a healthier future for Coloradans today and for generations to come.”

“Thank you, Governor Polis, for taking leadership on climate,” said Ning Mosberger-Tang of the Indivisible Legislative Table. “Coloradans have already experienced numerous extreme weather events in the past few years. Climate change is happening right now and it’s already affecting all of us. We need to protect our climate and our future while growing the economy and addressing environmental justice issues at the same time. By signing HB-1261 into law, we’re taking a giant step forward.”

“Thank you, Governor Polis, for understanding the connection between the climate crisis and the impact it has on our children’s health and our environment,” said Christine Berg, Colorado Field Consultant for Moms Clean Air Force. “It is imperative that states and local governments step forward with solutions, and Colorado is leading the way. We are grateful for the Governor’s vision and leadership.”

“Transition is never easy. The economic and technological transition necessary to keep climate change within the limits a consensus of scientists tell us is necessary to avoid unimaginable consequences will indeed be challenging,” said Ken Jacobs, Impact Investors and Chair of the Good Business Colorado Sustainable Environment Working Group. “The good news is that Coloradans have the expertise and resources to accomplish the ambitious goals set forth in this bill. Passage of this bill, and subsequent action by the AQCC will unleash a torrent of enterprises and productive business activity in the coming years.  Accordingly, Good Business Colorado strongly supports HB 1261 Climate Action Plan To Reduce Pollution.”