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DENVER, CO — Conservation Colorado, the state’s largest environmental group, today reiterated its solidarity with recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and support for partners working on behalf of immigrants in our state and nation. The announcement comes on the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the legality of President Trump’s 2017 decision to rescind the program.

DACA has protected 17,000 Colorado residents and the economic impact to our state of removing DACA workers would be approximately $857 billion.

Juan Gallegos, Protégete Director at Conservation Colorado, is available for interviews today and made the following statement:

As a DACA recipient, I know how important this program is for young people to achieve their American dream. Deferred action has allowed me the opportunity to gain lawful employment in the U.S. It has allowed me to pursue my dreams and to protect the environment and planet for future generations by supporting the training of environmental leaders from Latino community members.

Working for an organization that organizes Latino and immigrant communities, I see firsthand how DACA recipients contribute to our movement, to their families, to our society, and to our economy.

Our Protégete organizers are often working with mixed-status and immigrant families where it is common for some of the young family members to have DACA. We have seen the effects on community, when people trust their government. As that same government acts on the enforcement of a broken immigration system — and against DACA recipients — I fear that our gains in civic participation will be eroded by a president and administration intent on targeting the same folks who already live on the frontlines of many injustices. We will keep a close eye on the Supreme Court decision because we know that for many young climate champions and their family members #HomeIsHere.

The hard work you put in to organize, advocate, and make your voice heard made a difference. Our conservation movement is stronger than ever.

New polling validates what we’ve known for years: Coloradans value protecting public health and safety, the environment, and wildlife over profits for the oil and gas industry.

To me, public lands stewardship means dismantling barriers so that all people may access the protected landscapes in perpetuity. Which is why I support the CORE Act.

The conservation community — which has traditionally excluded Indigenous voices — needs to recognize tribal outreach as a top priority as we strive to achieve our values of inclusion and intersectionality.

We took to the streets to answer this question and see what else Coloradans know — or ought to know — about methane.

CARBONDALE, COLORADO – Today, Conservation Colorado, the state’s largest statewide environmental advocacy organization, announced the opening of a new Roaring Fork Valley office based in Carbondale to serve this ecologically unique and politically important region.

Central Mountains Organizer Erin Riccio released the following statement in response:

“As Conservation Colorado’s organizer in the region, I’m excited to bring the voices of my neighbors along the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys to the State Capitol and other decision-making spaces. Together we can fight climate change, protect our lands, waterways, and wildlife, and stand up against powerful interests.

“Calling this area ‘home’ is a dream come true.”

The Roaring Fork Valley is already a conservation leader, including:

  • The only municipalities in our state — Glenwood Springs and Aspen — to be powered 100 percent by renewable energy;
  • Cancellation of 18 oil and gas leases along the Thompson Divide, an important landscape renowned for its hunting and recreation opportunities;
  • Creation of the Crystal River Management Plan to better manage water usage and enhance the ecological integrity of the river; and,
  • A goal to electrify one-third of the Roaring Fork Valley Transportation Authority’s bus fleet.

“I’m thrilled that Conservation Colorado has established a permanent presence in the Roaring Fork Valley,” said Jacque Whitsitt, the Mayor of Basalt. “Their focus on state and national policy will be a great asset to the robust conservation community that already calls this area home.”

Riccio, a fluent Spanish-speaker, will work with local citizens and leaders to capitalize on this progress, including:

  • Conserving our public lands that support a high quality of life and booming outdoor economy by passing the CORE Act;
  • Protecting our unique communities from the health and safety hazards of oil and gas activities through continued engagement with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission;
  • Addressing climate change by implementing the Climate Action Plan to reduce statewide carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050; and,
  • Ensuring our rivers are healthy and flowing with full funding of the Colorado Water Plan.

The Central Mountains Region is rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. And the issues it faces are as diverse as the landscapes it spans.

Application for school districts to apply for funding for clean buses opens October 7th

DENVER – Today, Conservation Colorado, the state’s largest statewide environmental advocacy organization, released Cleaner Air for Denver with Electric School Buses. The new report, by VEIC Research, finds that replacing diesel buses with electric buses will result in more than $100,000 in savings on maintenance and fuel costs and cut harmful pollution.

The report arrives as Colorado school districts prepare to apply to this round of the Regional Air Quality Council’s “Alt Fuels Colorado” Program — which is funded through the multi-million dollar VW settlement with Colorado — opens on October 7th and runs through November 8th. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is administering over $68.7 million in funds as part of the settlement, including $18 million to replace and scrap diesel school buses. 

“Every day, kids across across the state are exposed to harmful air pollution from diesel bus fumes,” said Juan Gallegos, Protégete Program Director for Conservation Colorado. “This new report shows that electric school buses will deliver cleaner air to our communities today as we move toward clean, renewable electricity. And in an era of tight budgets, our leaders will be thrilled to know that they can deliver these benefits while saving money. This report is a call to action for school districts, especially those with majority Latinx students, to take action now and apply for the VW settlement money to replace their bus fleets.” 

Specifically, the report finds that:

  • With each bus replaced, DPS will see a total of $112,353 in fuel and maintenance savings over the lifetime of the vehicle. 
  • And for each bus replaced, there are $13,044 in societal benefits from the reduced air pollution. 
  • Electric buses produce less nitrous oxide (NOx) and greenhouse gases (GHG) than new and existing diesel buses, even when including upstream impacts from electricity generation and diesel refining.
  • Denver’s grid is getting cleaner so electric buses will offer even cleaner operation in the future.

Denver Public Schools (DPS) is the largest and most populated school district in the state and is a leader in sustainability practices. DPS is one of the few school districts that has a climate change plan.

“We support the efforts of the DPS Sustainability Office and Conservation Colorado, and value the findings from this report,” said Albert Samora, Executive Director of DPS Transportation Services. “Our team has begun to look at alternatives to diesel buses and will incorporate the findings of this report as we progress with our analysis and planning for the future.”

“VEIC was thrilled to work with Denver Public Schools, with the support of Conservation Colorado, to identify a pathway toward a cleaner bus fleet,” said Jennifer Wallace-Brodeur, Director of Clean Transportation at VEIC. “Investing VW Settlement dollars in Denver’s school transportation will yield long term benefits for children’s health and we’re excited to see Denver advancing this important work.” 

“Every time we get on a diesel school bus we’re putting our health in jeopardy,” said Joyce Lopis, a DPS student attending Vista Academy High School in Green Valley Ranch. “Transitioning buses to electric will help reduce hospital bills, absent days, and air pollution. We have the right to breathe clean air without putting our health in danger.”

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