On Election Day 2018, nationwide voter turnout for the midterm elections was the highest its been in more than 50 years. In Colorado, an astounding 2.5 million ballots were returned, earning our state one of the top five highest-midterm-turnout rates in the country.

Coloradans were energized and engaged on environmental issues in the 2018 election by the threat that the Trump administration poses to our Colorado way of life and by our determination to make Colorado a national leader. That’s why this election cycle, Conservation Colorado spent more money, knocked on more doors, and engaged more voters than ever before.

With the help of our members, donors, and volunteers, we:

  • Spent $4.6 million on direct contributions to candidates, expansive digital ad programs, direct mail, canvasses, and TV and radio ads
  • Knocked on 585,375 doors in targeted areas across the state and made 2,735 calls
  • Registered 10,360 Coloradans with the goal of registering younger, less affluent and more racially and ethnically diverse voters
  • Mobilized more than 300 members and volunteers to knock doors, make phone calls, and take action to support pro-conservation candidates

Thanks to all of you, our hard work in the 2018 election paid off! We helped elect environmental champions to all of our state executive offices and establish a pro-conservation trifecta.

Governor



In the governor’s race, conservation was a key part of Jared Polis’ bold vision for Colorado’s future, and he has a long record of fighting to protect our clean air, public lands, and climate. “I look forward to working with [Conservation Colorado’s] 40,000 members to defend our public lands, grow our outdoor recreation economy, create good-paying renewable energy jobs that can never be outsourced, and make sure we can continue to enjoy our Colorado way of life,” Polis said. We’re proud to have knocked more than 500,000 doors to help elect a true conservation champion!

Attorney General



In the race for attorney general, the health of Colorado’s environment and communities was at the forefront of Phil Weiser’s platform, propelling him to victory over an opponent with a history of favoring special interests like the oil and gas industry. “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…to protect Colorado’s land, air, and water, to fight for our children and future generations,” said Weiser. We’re thrilled to have an attorney general who will stand with us in fighting back on behalf of all Coloradans.

Legislature


In state legislative races this year, we fought hard in key districts to uphold the pro-conservation majority in the state House and to take back the state Senate. This work paid off on election night when we saw victory after victory for pro-conservation candidates! In each of our toughest races, candidates who prioritized the protection of our clean air, clean water, and public lands won by more than 10 percentage points over their opponents. Such massive margins make it clear that Colorado voters value our conservation and vote with it in mind.

Dylan Roberts, representing Eagle and Routt counties in House District 26 added: “Up here in the mountains, this is what voters really care about: protecting our environment, protecting our water. I look forward to working on those issues.”

Ballot Measures


In addition to our efforts to get pro-conservation leaders elected, we worked on several ballot measures — and had mixed results. We fought with all of our strength to defeat Amendment 74, one of the scariest measures we’ve seen on Colorado’s ballot in years. Even though the oil and gas industry spent more than $10 million to support 74, our side helped voters see through the deception and vote for local communities to have power over big industries. We’re grateful voters rejected this disaster!

Unfortunately, Proposition 112 failed on the ballot. We endorsed this measure to increase the setback for new oil and gas development to 2,500 feet from buildings. We supported 112 because the health and safety of our communities should come above all else, but a $30 million campaign bankrolled by the oil and gas defeated this community-led initiative. Though 112 did not pass, more than 800,000 people voted for it because they’re fed up with the oil and gas industry. We need our legislators to listen to these voters and make sure Colorado has the strongest safeguards in the West for the oil and gas industry.

A Winning Percentage

In all, 53 out of our 55 endorsed candidates in the 2018 election won their races, resulting in a 96 percent win rate and a continued track record of electing environmental champions who will protect our air, lands, water, and people.

Thanks to your help, we are excited to work closely with all of our elected officials to enact bold policies that prioritize our conservation values during the the 2019 legislative session and beyond.

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.

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 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 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 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.

Ballot measures

Written by Conservation Colorado staff

✅ Amendments Y and Z – YES Congressional and Legislative Redistricting

 Amendment 74 – NO Just Compensation for Reduction in Fair Market Value by Government Law or Regulation

 Proposition 109 – NO  Authorize Bonds for Transportation Projects

✅ Proposition 110 – YES Increase Sales Tax to Fund Transportation

✅ Proposition 112 – YES Setback Requirement for Oil and Gas Development

✅ Denver County: Measure 2A – YES Denver Parks and Open Space Sales Tax

Fair Maps Colorado


Official Ballot Envelope☑ YES on Amendment Y

☑ YES on Amendment Z

These measures create fair and competitive congressional and state legislative districts. They will set up a new process that empowers independent commissions to draw district lines and keeps elected officials and lobbyists from drawing electoral districts because voters should choose their politicians, not the other way around.

Colorado’s population growth means we will likely have an eighth congressional seat by 2022. That means now is the time to improve our system for drawing districts. Together, these measures will help achieve fair and equal representation for all citizens of Colorado. Amendments Y and Z will:

  • Create balanced independent commissions (4 Republicans, 4 Democrats, and 4 unaffiliated voters)
  • Set clear criteria for map-drawing and prohibitions on gerrymandering
  • Limit the roles of partisans and courts
  • Heighten open meetings, public records, and ethical rules
  • Secure fair and effective representation for all Colorado voters
  • Maximize competitive districts

Stop Amendment 74 and Save Our Neighborhoods


☒ NO on Amendment 74 – “Just Compensation for Reduction in Fair Market Value by Government Law or Regulation”

A backlit, gold lighting oil rigIf Amendment 74 passes, it will allow any corporation or property owner to sue local governments over any law they disagree with, opening the floodgates to frivolous and costly lawsuits. Taxpayers would have to foot the bill.

When a similar measure passed in Oregon, there were nearly $20 billion in claims in just the first three years. These costly claims threatened funding for local schools, roads, and public safety. Oregonians ultimately repealed the law. Now Coloradans are facing a choice to repeat Oregon’s costly mistake or reject this risky amendment that will mainly benefit the wealthy developers and oil companies who wrote it. Amendment 74 is supported by out-of-state corporate interests who want to change the character of Colorado neighborhoods and our rural landscapes by giving developers loopholes to build anything they like, anywhere they like.

Although 74 claims to help property owners, property rights are already protected in the constitution. While 74 might sound good, it is really risky to amend the constitution with such a flawed measure. Once it’s in the constitution, the unintended consequences are permanent and can’t be undone.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT AMENDMENT 74

A Dead End for Colorado


Two lanes of congested traffic☒ NO on Proposition 109 – “Authorize Bonds for Transportation Projects”

Proposition 109 would dedicate existing state funds to projects that address road and bridge expansion, construction, maintenance, and repairs. These funds are not to be used for roads managed by local governments—88 percent of all roads—or public transportation. But Prop.109 takes $3.5 billion away from schools, public safety, and other vital services by forcing the state to reallocate existing resources and exclusively fund highway projects. We need a transportation system that invests in solutions, not one that will bankrupt our government and leave our roads in disrepair.

Let’s go Colorado


Four lanes of congested freeway traffic☑ YES on Proposition 110 – “Sales Tax Increase for Transportation Funding”

It’s been decades since we last changed how Colorado funds transportation. Our streets and transportation systems need improvement, and it’s time to stop the “band-aid” approach. Proposition 110 is the statewide solution we need. It fixes our roads; ensures local governments have the resources to meet demands; promotes options like walking, biking, and transit that reduce congestion; and ensures that we protect the environment by investing in solutions that move people, not just cars.

We need a new funding source to fix our roads. A sales tax asks everyone to chip in, including the 80 million out-of-state tourists who use our infrastructure every year. This proposition will increase the state’s sales tax by 0.62%, a little more than half a cent on a dollar purchase, to fund transportation projects across the state.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT LET’S GO COLORADO

Protect Colorado Neighborhoods


An oil rig near residential area☑ YES on Proposition 112 – Setback Requirement for Oil and Gas Development

Prop. 112 requires new oil and gas development projects to be located at least 2,500 feet from occupied buildings and other areas designated as vulnerable. Conservation Colorado has long worked to ensure a responsible, transparent, and accountable oil and gas industry, which has included efforts to increase the distance between oil and gas development and the places where we live and where our children play. Yet, the industry has blocked even the most modest efforts to address the growing conflicts between its operations and our communities, such as keeping drilling and fracking away from schools. Ultimately we must prioritize the health and safety of our communities above all else.

Read more at Colorado Rising.

Healthy Parks and Rivers for Everyone


A kid in a green jacket catches bubbles☑ YES on referred measure 2A in Denver

This measure will increase the city’s sales tax by 0.25% (about $3 per month) in order to create a dedicated funding source to address the city’s $127 million park maintenance backlog and help add new parks, rivers, trails, and open space. Denver is growing quickly, but its investment in parks and trails is not keeping pace with growth. One of six of our parks is in poor condition and in need of repairs. Worse, our park system is inequitable, as wealthier neighborhoods can make private donations to address their park needs while low-income neighborhoods are left behind.

The Denver City Council referred this measure to the ballot, and which will raise over $45 million in its first year alone to help make the dream of “a park in every neighborhood” a reality for ALL Denver residents.

Learn more at Yes for Denver Parks.

Voting is one of the most important things you can do to protect our environment and what you love about our state. Help us spread the word about Colorado ballot measures and how they impact the environment.

Conservation Colorado Victory Fund to spend $3.2 million on upcoming elections

Walker Stapleton has been named to the signature “Dirty Dozen in the States” list for 2018. This list, modeled after LCV Victory Fund’s federal “Dirty Dozen,” identifies the 12 worst state-based candidates for our environment and way of life running for state office across the nation.

In order protect the Colorado way of life and ensure that our Governor reflects the conservation values of voters, Conservation Colorado Victory Fund is announcing a $3.2 million political program to defeat Walker Stapleton and elect pro-conservation candidates to the state legislature.

“Colorado voters expect their governors to value our way of life and our land, air, and water as much as they do,” said Conservation Colorado Victory Fund Executive Director Kelly Nordini. “Walker Stapleton seems to be almost completely focused on drilling for oil and gas rather than making Colorado a leader on renewable energy, clean air, and public lands.”

Conservation Colorado Victory Fund’s 2018 program will be the largest political program the committee has ever run. It will feature a robust field program to knock doors throughout the state and include a comprehensive digital and mail program to ensure voters know where candidates stand from the governor’s race to the state House.

The reasons for Walker Stapleton’s inclusion in the “Dirty Dozen” are clear. As state treasurer, Stapleton chose to work for himself and side with special interests, not the people of Colorado. As a candidate for governor, he is running on policies that will benefit corporate polluters.

“When Coloradans need a smart leader who shows up and fights for their priorities, Stapleton would let corporate polluters and other special interests dictate the future of our state,” said Nordini.

Background

About the “Dirty Dozen in the States”
Modeled after LCV Victory Fund’s federal “Dirty Dozen,” the state version highlights 12 of the most anti-environment state-level candidates from around the country who state LCVs are working to defeat for the 2018 election cycle. Members of the “Dirty Dozen in the States” have consistently sided against the environment and — regardless of party affiliation — are running in races in which an LCV state affiliate has a serious chance to affect the outcome.

About Conservation Colorado Victory Fund
Conservation Colorado Victory Fund is a program of Conservation Colorado, a grassroots organization that mobilizes people to advance pro-conservation policy and elect conservation-minded leaders.

Paid for by Conservation Colorado Victory Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. Nikki Riedt, registered agent.

Here at Conservation Colorado, we believe that to protect the environment we need strong laws and policies, championed by leaders who share our values and are willing to fight for them.

When it comes to protecting the environment and our Colorado way of life, one of the most important elected officials in Colorado is the attorney general. Here’s three reasons why this office matters, and why we’ve endorsed Phil Weiser for the election in November.

Fighting the Trump Administration

The attorney general (AG) is the lawyer for the people of Colorado, and, as such, the AG can act on behalf of Coloradans and our values. The AG can sue the federal government, join “friend of the court” briefs, and speak up for Colorado’s rights. See this document from the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center at New York University for more information as to how attorneys general across the nation have resisted Trump.

Unfortunately, Colorado’s current AG, Cynthia Coffman, has thrown her weight behind the Trump administration and taken actions that are tremendously out of step with Coloradans. Coffman has undermined several key environmental laws, like the Clean Power Plan and curbs on methane pollution.

We need an attorney general who will stand up and fight back to force the Trump administration to do its job of protecting our waterways, land, and air. Phil Weiser knows that Colorado has a right to pursue its own path, and he won’t let Trump and DC stand in the way of environmental progress.

Protecting Communities from Big Polluters

One of the key roles of the attorney general is to enforce the law against big polluters. The AG is essential to ensuring that we are balancing economic growth with protecting our environment. As one observer put it, “…in enforcement of environmental cases, [the attorney general] can pursue strong judgments that repay the people…instead of the polluters.”

Here in Colorado, Cynthia Coffman hasn’t protected our communities from big polluters. She has sided with climate change deniers and the fossil fuel industry to challenge the Obama administration’s clean energy agenda. She has undermined Governor John Hickenlooper’s leadership on restricting methane from oil and gas extraction. She has joined a federal lawsuit to prevent cities from taking big polluters to court over climate change.

Cynthia Coffman’s record on conservation is a stark reminder of how important it is to elect an attorney general who will stand up to protect our communities from corporations who are just looking to profit. Phil Weiser has promised to protect the health and safety of Coloradans and the environment by working collaboratively with the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission and local communities.

Making Progress For Colorado

Attorneys general are able to shape policies that impact our lands, air, water, and communities. As the AG’s office represents state agencies, including Colorado the Department of Natural Resources, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, and the Colorado Energy Office, he or she has significant influence over how administrative policy is created and implemented.

Rather than lead the way on environmental progress, Cynthia Coffman has stood in the way. As just one example, she opposes the notion that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission should consider health and safety before permitting oil and gas wells.

We can count on Phil Weiser to work with our agencies to protect our environment. As attorney general, he will be a leader in addressing climate change, preventing unsafe or harmful oil and gas development, and protecting our public lands.

In November, with the end of Cynthia Coffman’s term and a candidate like Phil Weiser running, we have a chance to elect an attorney general who will truly represent our values – a welcome shift from the last four years. We’re proud to endorse Phil Weiser for attorney general, the lawyer for the people of Colorado. Weiser is facing George Brauchler, 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. While Brauchler is just beginning to learn about the environment while following the lead of polluting industries, Weiser will be a leader in addressing climate change, preventing unsafe oil and gas development, protecting our public lands and water, and prioritizing the health and safety of our communities.

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.”