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 Oregonians ultimately repealed the law.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.”

Conservation Colorado today released its 2018 Legislative Scorecard, an annual look at how every legislator voted on key environmental bills in the state legislature. The scorecard provides Coloradans with the information they need to advocate for our air, land, water, and communities.

“Although this legislative session was a contentious one, we were able to move Colorado forward with several important victories: investing in our great outdoors, expanding the use of reclaimed water, ensuring responsible funding for public transportation, and increasing renewable energy options,” said Conservation Colorado Acting Executive Director Maria Handley.

Here are top-line results from the 2018 Legislative Scorecard:

Senate

  • The average score was 68 percent.
  • 15 Senators had a perfect score.
  • Female senators had an average score of 85 percent.
  • Senators of color had an average score of 90 percent.
  • The lowest score was Senator Jim Smallwood at 11 percent.

House

  • The average score was 60 percent.
  • 36 members had a 100% score.
  • Female representatives had an average score of 70 percent.
  • Representatives of color scored an average of 94 percent.
  • The lowest scores were Representatives Perry Buck, Justin Everett, Stephen Humphrey, Steve Lebsock, Timothy Leonard, Kimmi Lewis, Paul Lundeen, Patrick Nevill, Kim Ransom, Lori Saine, Shane Sandridge, Dave Williams, and Alexander Winkler at 0 percent each.

Handley continued: “Our victories this year show that Coloradans are passionate about the environment. Unfortunately, these values are not reflected in the leadership of the Colorado Senate, which once again prioritized corporate profits over people and blocked bills to protect our rivers from mining pollution, keep oil and gas drilling away from playgrounds, and limit our carbon pollution. That’s why Conservation Colorado will work tirelessly to elect a pro-conservation Senate, House, and Governor in November — to advance bold policies to clean up our air and water, protect our communities, and preserve our land.”

Conservation Colorado, the largest statewide environmental advocacy organization in Colorado, today announced its endorsement of Jared Polis for governor.

“Jared Polis is one of the strongest voices for conservation in the state and the nation, and he will work hard to protect what we all love about Colorado: our clear blue skies, rushing rivers, wild places, and diverse communities,” said Maria Handley, acting executive director of Conservation Colorado. “Conservation is a key part of Jared’s bold vision for Colorado’s future, which is backed up by his long record of fighting fearlessly to protect Colorado’s outdoor spaces along with the thousands of businesses and jobs they sustain. We couldn’t be more thrilled to work on behalf of such an accomplished and qualified candidate.”

Jared Polis added, “Conservation Colorado has been working for more than 50 years to protect Colorado’s wild places by electing environmental champions and fighting at the grassroots level for strong policies that protect our planet and strengthen our communities. I’m proud to have their endorsement and look forward to working with their 40,000 members to defend our public lands, grow our outdoor recreation economy, create good-paying green jobs that can never be outsourced, and make sure we can continue to enjoy our Colorado way of life.”

Polis will face Republican Walker Stapleton in the general election in November. Stapleton has undermined the benefits of renewable energy for consumers, opposes efforts to clean up air pollution from transportation, and openly pleaded with the oil and gas industry to spend more money on his campaign.

“The contrast between Jared Polis and Walker Stapleton couldn’t be more clear. While Walker Stapleton has pledged his allegiance to polluting corporations, Jared Polis is committed to protecting the health and safety of all Coloradans and the state we call home,” said Handley. “We need a leader who will fight for our families, and who will always put Coloradans first. That choice is clear, and that leader is Jared Polis.”

Conservation Colorado’s family of organizations is poised to spend millions of dollars in support of Jared Polis and state legislative candidates who have committed to protecting the environment. In 2016, Conservation Colorado invested $1.3 million on expansive digital ad programs, mail, paid canvasses, and TV and radio ads. The organization mobilized nearly 1,000 volunteers to knock on more than 76,000 doors, resulting in a 90 percent win rate in terms of candidates endorsed.

Written by Emilie Frojen

If you want to support Colorado’s environment and way of life, the most important thing you can do is vote for Congressman Jared Polis for governor.

We are proud to endorse Jared Polis in Colorado’s election for governor. He is one of the strongest voices for conservation in the state and the nation, and he will work hard to protect what we all love about Colorado: clear blue skies, rushing rivers, wild places, and diverse communities. Here are the top six reasons we are proud to support him in the race for Colorado’s next governor:

1) Jared Polis is a fearless champion for the environment in Congress.

Jared Polis doesn’t just talk the talk, as seen in the fact that he has a 100 percent conservation voting record from the League of Conservation Voters. He’s sponsored and cosponsored many bills to protect the environment, and time and time again has proven that he will follow through for our environment and communities.

2) He’s outspoken against the dangerous Trump agenda.

The Trump administration is doing tremendous damage to our environment and Colorado way of life, from rolling back air pollution protections from oil and gas wells to unraveling the progress we made in addressing climate change. He also protested against Trump’s review of our national parks and monuments, the proposed national park fee increase, and the shrinking of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments. His opponent, Walker Stapleton, is a huge Trump supporter and has opposed Colorado taking the lead on the environment in the face of attacks from Washington, D.C.

3) He knows we need to act on climate.

The drought and fires across Colorado this summer show that Colorado unequivocally needs to be a leader in climate solutions and economic growth. Jared Polis agrees and has bold plans to get Colorado’s grid to 100 percent renewables while saving ratepayers money on their utility bills and creating clean energy jobs right here at home.

4) He works to protect our public lands and outdoor recreation economy.

Jared Polis is the lead sponsor of the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act and lists it as one of his top priorities as a Congressman. This bill has been a large part of Conservation Colorado’s work over the past ten years and will continue to be until these wild places are protected. He is also a strong supporter of our outdoor recreation economy and the businesses and jobs it creates.

5) He fights for clean air, clean transportation, and healthy communities.

Jared Polis knows first hand what it’s like to have oil and gas wells too close to your home, friends, and family, and he has prioritized the health and safety of Coloradans above industry profits. He has also supported cleaning up air pollution from vehicles. Specifically, he stands for more, and better, bike lanes as wells as stronger electric vehicle incentives and opportunities. He plans to introduce new policies that will support the adoption of electric vehicles that will reduce pollution in our state.

6) Jared Polis fights for issues that matter to our communities.

He has been an outspoken supporter of the DACA program and was honored at the Latino Eco Festival in 2017. Jared Polis believes that Colorado needs to lead the way in building diversity in our economy that creates jobs and increases wages but also reduces the racial wealth gap.

 

We are confident in Congressman Polis’s passion and determination to make Colorado a better, greener state, but we need your help to win this next election. Polis will face Republican Walker Stapleton in the general election in November. Stapleton has undermined the benefits of renewable energy for consumers, opposes efforts to clean up air pollution from transportation, and openly pleaded with the oil and gas industry to spend more money on his campaign.

Conservation Colorado had a 90 percent win rate of candidates endorsed in 2016, and we need your help to make that 100 percent this November. Support our election work here to help make Jared Polis Colorado’s next governor.

Written by Audrey Wheeler

Colorado oil and gas lobbyists and money keep Senate Republicans in their pocket.

In 2017, during Colorado’s legislative session, a deadly explosion killed two people in Firestone, CO. The explosion was due to an uncapped flow line from an oil well.

After such a tragedy, most Coloradans believed the oil and gas industry would work harder to keep people safe. But recently, several former Anadarko employees came forward during an investor lawsuit against the company, saying Anadarko can’t be trusted to maintain their equipment to protect health and safety, calling their operations in Colorado “a ticking time bomb.”

In 2018, on the one-year anniversary of the Firestone tragedy, state legislators had repeated opportunities to enact safeguards for people’s health and safety as the Colorado oil and gas industry moves closer and closer to our neighborhoods and schools. They didn’t take that opportunity. Instead, we saw one commonsense measure after another get shut down by the strength of the oil and gas industry’s lobbying.

Here are some of the stories that unfolded at the state Capitol:

Killed: a bill to keep oil and gas drilling away from kids


Currently, Colorado’s laws require oil and gas activity to be 1,000 feet away from school buildings. But there is no legal limit to how far this industrial activity should be from school playgrounds, outdoor lunch areas, modular classrooms, or athletic fields. HB 1352 would have required oil and gas activity to be 1,000 feet away from school property boundaries. This is in line with what all other industries have to do near schools, like liquor stores.

In support of this bill, dozens of students and parents came to the state Capitol and testified in committee, asking lawmakers to protect them and future students from the impacts of oil and gas, ranging from air pollution to dangerous explosions. In addition, 55 students, teachers, and parents signed on to an open letter to lawmakers to make their voices heard on this issue.

In an emotional moment, a young activist spoke out of turn when a legislator asked if an oil and gas explosion has ever happened near a school. “Why does it need to happen first?” she flatly responded.

Those powerful voices speaking up for this bill didn’t stop a Senate committee from killing it and continuing to put our kids at risk.

Killed: three oil and gas bills with small changes that would have made a big impact


One bill — HB 1071 — was an attempt to clarify the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). It currently states that the COGCC is in charge of fostering and regulating oil and gas in Colorado. This bill would have changed this contradictory mission to prioritize health, safety, and the environment over industry profits.

Another, HB 1157, would have ensured the industry is tracking and reporting all spills, fires, explosions, injuries, and deaths due to oil and gas well operations and production facilities. This bill would have made incident reports mandatory and required more detail for major and minor accidents, improving transparency to the public.

Third, HB 1419 was a bill to require pipeline mapping and transparency so we all know where oil and gas operations are taking place — exactly the kind of information that would have prevented the Firestone tragedy. It would have also prevented leaks, groundwater contamination, and explosions by ensuring wells are strong and up to industry standard.

All three of these bills were killed by Senate Republicans who continue to pander to oil and gas companies.

Killed: a bill to expand local government authority


While local governments (like cities, counties, or towns) cannot permanently ban oil and gas development in Colorado, they can put in place temporary halts on the industry. SB 048 would have protected the authority of local governments to regulate oil and gas facilities, allowing governments to determine oil and gas regulations according to the needs of residents. As is the story with most of these bills, this bill was killed in a Senate committee.

But there’s good news, too. We managed to block the passage of SB 192, a bill that would have forced local governments to pay oil and gas companies for any loss in profits due to a temporary moratorium or ban. This would have added a financial penalty to any local government trying to do the right thing by their residents. We helped keep this bill from going anywhere!

Protecting homeowners from forced pooling


Forced pooling is when an oil and gas operator wants to acquire rights to extract oil and gas, but a mineral rights owner — like a homeowner — does not want drilling in their backyard. In Colorado, if there are 100 homes in a development and one of them agrees to lease the mineral rights for oil and gas development, all 99 of the other homes are “force pooled,” and the operator can develop there.

Currently, forced pooling laws and practices are unfair to the mineral rights owners and are advantageous to oil and gas operators. Highly technical notices are sent to property owners who are given only 30 days to respond. People with little or no experience with the oil and gas industry are forced to make a tough decision without enough time or clear information.

One bill (HB 1289) would have prevented local government and school district minerals from being force pooled. This bill was blocked.

Finally, one bill that provided some improvements for mineral owners’ property rights passed this year. This bill (SB 230) was a compromise that will provide some immediate relief to homeowners by extending the amount of time homeowners have between getting notified about forced pooling and their hearing, and providing more easily understandable information about the process of being force pooled. Even with the passage of this bill, property owners still face an uphill battle when it comes to negotiating with industry. Compared to the many other commonsense bills that were killed this year, this one is a small step.

While it can be easy to feel disappointed that these bills we all fought so hard for did not pass, even bringing up these issues at the Capitol is a step in the right direction. Thank you for standing with us to fight for these bills, especially if you sent a message, called your legislator, came to testify, or took action in another way to protect our communities.

The best way to change this story next year and into the future is to elect more pro-conservation champions into office. This November, many of our state senators and all of our state representatives will be up for re-election. Help us build the majority we need to pass more life-saving bills that put our communities over the industry!

Written by Audrey Wheeler

Colorado’s Senator Cory Gardner has claimed many times that he values our outdoors and environment. Unfortunately, when it comes to conservation and environmental issues, Senator Gardner has little to brag about. In fact, Gardner has voted with President Trump 92.4 percent of the time since Trump took office, both on environmental issues and everything else that’s come up in the Senate.According to the League of Conservation Voters’ 2017 National Environmental ScorecardSen. Gardner received a zero percent score. According to the 19 Senate votes scored, Gardner could not have been a worse ally for the environment. Let’s take a look at some of his votes.

1. For Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

Protesters outside of Gardner’s Denver office raise the cry against Scott Pruitt.

In spite of hundreds of calls to his office, protests outside of his office, and social media campaigns, Gardner supported Scott Pruitt. Pruitt has denied man-made climate change and is known for his many lawsuits against the EPA. Now he is the head of the agency.

2. For Rick Perry to be the Secretary of Energy.

Perry’s famous slip where he forgot the Department of Energy was one of the agencies he wanted to eliminate is not even his biggest disqualifier for being Secretary of Energy. He has ignored the consensus around climate science and has many financial ties to energy companies, yet Congress — and Sen. Gardner — approved him for the position.

3. For Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon Mobil, to be Secretary of State.

Tillerson led Exxon during its long-term campaign to spread lies about climate science and deceive the public. He also has deep ties to Russia and Putin, which should have disqualified him from representing our country on the international stage. Instead, Congress voted to confirm him.

4. For Ryan Zinke to be Secretary of the Interior.

At first, Zinke seemed like the least extreme member of Trump’s cabinet. However, his financial backing from the oil and gas industry makes him less than suitable to manage our public lands. His record since becoming Secretary of the Interior has been peppered with misuse of funds and efforts to undermine public land protections, like shrinking Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah.

5. To undo a rule that would have made it easier for the public to influence decisions about our public lands.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had recently made a rule to update land management processes. Both experts and the public agreed it was a much-needed step to improving management of our public lands. Senator Gardner’s vote overturned this rule and prevented the BLM from ever making a similar rule. This is an example of shutting out local voices while putting our public lands at risk.

6. His vote to repeal the stream protection rule allows coal companies to have a freer hand in dumping mining debris in streams.

This debris pollutes streams with toxic heavy metals, which can have dire health impacts on the communities nearby. It was yet another move to stand up for fossil fuel companies at the expense of our health and people.

7. To move forward with repealing a rule that protects our air from oil and gas emissions.

Methane, a potent greenhouse gas, leaks from oil and gas sites across the country, wasting taxpayer dollars and exacerbating climate change. The Bureau of Land Management’s Methane Rule established commonsense standards that require oil and gas companies to deploy readily available, cost-effective measures to reduce methane lost through venting, flaring, and leaks. While the rule itself is still in question, there’s no doubt that Sen. Gardner went against the wishes of most Coloradans and voted to repeal the rule.

9. To open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. 

This vote was snuck into the Tax Bill that Congress passed in December 2017. There was a proposed amendment to remove the piece of the Tax Bill that allowed for drilling in the Arctic Refuge — but Sen. Gardner voted against the amendment, and voted to pass the Tax Bill. Now the largest protected wilderness in the country, known to the indigenous Gwich’in people as “the sacred place where life begins,” is open to drilling.


In an increasingly blue state which Gardner won by a slim margin in 2014, he’s becoming one of the country’s least-liked politicians. Not only did Coloradans vote decisively for Hillary Clinton, but they care about the issues Gardner has attacked. The environment is a key example.

During his 2014 campaign, Gardner repeatedly claimed to be “Not That Kind Of Republican”. In order to win Colorado, he tried to separate himself from the extreme partisanship and positioning of his party. He advocated for clean energy and protecting future generations.

Cory Gardner’s 2014 campaign video was all about the environment.

“What can we do to make sure we are protecting this beautiful environment?” he asked on the campaign trail. However, Senator Gardner’s promises to be a “new kind of Republican” have proved to be empty.

On environmental issues, Gardner’s track record leaves much to be desired. Despite his efforts to portray himself as a Westerner who values public lands and protecting our future, his voting record tells the truth.

At the same time, Gardner still claims to love the environment. In February, he and Senator Bennet introduced a package of public lands bills designed to fix a couple of tiny issues with Colorado’s public lands. These bills would affect a grand total of less than 1,000 acres of public lands — out of 24 million acres in Colorado. Although Gardner says he’s “proud” to work on bills like this “that will ensure future generations of Coloradans are able to enjoy our state’s natural treasures,” these bills are a distraction from his anti-environmental onslaught.

We must continue to tell Senator Gardner that Coloradans don’t want to see him siding with Trump. Especially when it comes to our air, land, and water, which he campaigned for and claims to support, Gardner needs to vote with his constituents.

DENVER – The League of Conservation Voters, Conservation Colorado’s national partner, today released the Colorado delegation’s scores on the 2017 National Environmental Scorecard.

Notably, Senator Cory Gardner received a zero percent score.

“We knew Senator Cory Gardner was bad on environmental and public health issues, but looking at his entire voting record from 2017, we now know he couldn’t be any worse. We deserve lawmakers who represent the needs of their constituents, not President Trump’s extreme anti-environmental agenda and his attacks on Colorado’s air, water, land, and wildlife,” said Maria Handley, Acting Executive Director of Conservation Colorado. “We need our representatives in Congress to fight for Colorado values. Thankfully we can count on champions like Senator Bennet and our pro-conservation representatives to push back.”

The 2017 League of Conservation Voters (LCVScorecard measures votes cast during the first session of the 115th Congress. The delegation from Colorado earned the following scores for 2017:

Senator Bennet – 84 percent
Senator Gardner – 0 percent
Representative Degette – 89 percent
Representative Polis – 100 percent
Representative Tipton – 6 percent
Representative Buck – 6 percent
Representative Lamborn – 0 percent
Representative Coffman – 6 percent
Representative Perlmutter – 100 percent

“This Congress repeatedly refused to stand up to President Trump’s extreme anti-environmental agenda and his attacks on our air, water, land, and wildlife,” said LCV Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld. “In a year where devastating hurricanes and wildfires showed why the need to fight climate change is so urgent, Congress instead inflicted lasting damage on our communities by reversing clean water protections, confirming industry favorites to key environmental posts, and opening up the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling. Our environmental champions are more important than ever as the administration’s hostility toward our communities continues to grow.”

The 2017 Scorecard includes 35 House votes and 19 Senate votes, including 8 Senate votes to confirm anti-environmental Cabinet and sub-Cabinet nominees who have wasted no time implementing Trump’s dangerous agenda.

LCV has published a National Environmental Scorecard every Congress since 1970. The Scorecard represents the consensus of experts from about 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations who selected the key votes on which members of Congress were scored. The votes included in the Scorecard presented members of Congress with a real choice and help distinguish which legislators are working for environmental protection. More information on individual votes and the Scorecard archive can be found at scorecard.lcv.org.

Contact:

Jace Woodrum, 720-412-3772
Alyssa Roberts, 202-454-4573