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 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.

Today, the Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance released a letter signed by more than 100 Colorado businesses in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), one of the nation’s premier conservation programs. The open letter encourages Colorado decision makers to support full and permanent reauthorization of LWCF as an investment in our state’s outdoor recreation economy.

LWCF uses federal revenues from offshore oil and gas drilling to support the conservation of our public lands and waterways. It has protected natural areas, local parks, ballfields, and walkways in almost every county of the U.S. Colorado has received more than $260 million to support projects in the state, from Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area and Cross Mountain Ranch on the Yampa River to urban parks like Montbello Open Space Park.

The business signers include outdoor recreation and tourism businesses, as well as other emerging industries, from all across Colorado.

“We’ve built our brand around those who dare to study maps and approach adventure differently,” said Sarah and Thor Tingey of Alpacka Raft in Mancos. “Programs like LWCF support that by creating more opportunities for people to access rivers and streams and explore public lands and archaeological sites that may not have been previously protected. But even more, LWCF is and has been, a major catalyst in getting local, community-driven projects completed on time. This program is essential to each and every one of us in this country — whether we enjoy exploring desert canyons in pack rafts or riding our bikes along paved river trails.”

LWCF has been a successful program and has bipartisan support. But it will expire on September 30, 2018, unless Congress acts to reauthorize it.

“The Land and Water Conservation Fund has served to bridge strong partnerships between federal land managers, local and state governments, the private sector and non-profits,” said Ned Mayers of Western Anglers in Grand Junction. “This is a critical connection in efforts to sustain and grow our outdoor recreation economy and in setting the stage for how we do that for years to come. We need programs like LWCF to spur conservation projects and help our local economies and governments to complete community-driven projects.”

The full text of the letter and list of business supporters is below.

The Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance is a program of Conservation Colorado. It aims to bring together Colorado’s leading businesses who recognize the fundamental role that public lands and a healthy environment play in sustaining Colorado’s emerging outdoor recreation economy.

An Open Letter to Colorado’s Decision Makers:

Since the 1960s, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has fulfilled a bipartisan commitment to natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation programs, while using zero taxpayer dollars to do so. From protecting natural areas and open space to local parks, ball fields, and walkways, LWCF has played a pivotal role in spurring local and regional economies and community well-being. As Colorado business owners and community leaders, we recognize the distinct advantage that our quality of life provides our companies, such as attracting and retaining a high-quality workforce, and LWCF has played a critical role in bolstering the competitive advantage of locating a business in Colorado.

We ask that you advocate for and support permanently reauthorizing and fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund before its expiration on September 30, 2018. LWCF is integral to meeting the needs of our communities, businesses and local chambers, improving access to the outdoors, conserving working landscapes, developing new urban parks, and protecting wildlife. An investment in LWCF is an investment in Colorado’s booming outdoor recreation economy, which supports nearly 230,000 direct jobs. Eliminating or placing restrictions on LWCF would directly undermine this economic asset, and place our outdoor recreation economy at risk.

All told, Colorado has been a major beneficiary of LWCF funding, receiving over $260 million to support projects across the state; projects that have multiplied across local economies around places like the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area and the Cross Mountain Ranch along the Yampa River. In addition to benefiting our communities and local economies, LWCF is a key component in maintaining clean, safe and reliable drinking water, improving public land access, ensuring our children have places to play, and attracting entrepreneurs, retirees, and tourists – all of which positively impact our local economies, businesses and quality of life.

With less than 100 days until the Land and Water Conservation Fund expires, we urge you to work diligently towards permanently reauthorizing this program with full and dedicated funding. Doing so is in the best interest of the Colorado business community, our local and regional economies and our quality of life. You can take immediate action by co-sponsoring H.R. 502 or S. 569 & 896. Supporting this program is supporting the Colorado business community and the outdoor recreation economy.

In spite of widespread public support of the rule, the Trump administration today took steps to repeal the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Methane Waste Rule. This 2016 rule was created to cut methane waste from oil and gas operations on public lands by requiring producers to fix leaky infrastructure and create gas capture plans prior to development.

“Again and again, the American people have spoken up for these rules that keep our air clean, help our communities stay healthy, and save taxpayers money. But the Trump administration refuses to listen,” said Jessica Goad, deputy director of Conservation Colorado. “Colorado has led the way with strong state-based safeguards that will remain in place, but smog and pollution don’t stay within state borders. Coloradans will certainly feel the effects of this harmful and short-sighted rollback.”

Undoing the BLM Methane Waste Rule will lead to greater air pollution from oil and gas development as producers won’t have to fix leaks or keep gas from escaping into the air. The methane will cause the same amount of short-term climate damage as 8.3 million cars driven over ten years.

In addition to methane, oil and gas operations release dangerous air toxins, including benzene, a known carcinogen, and smog-forming pollutants that can trigger asthma attacks and worsen respiratory diseases such as emphysema. The Trump Administration’s decision to undo this rule will cause more air pollution that will harm families, especially those living closest to oil and gas development.

Preventing methane waste saves taxpayers money. The BLM’s own analysis found that rolling back the rule will cost Americans more than $1 billion — $824 million of wasted natural gas and $259 million in lost public benefits — due to increased methane emissions.

This rule has been under attack since Trump took office, but every attempt to undo it has been met with immense public backlash. More than 600,000 public comments were submitted in the most recent public comment period in May, with 99.8 percent supporting the rule. The 2018 Conservation in the West Poll found that 74 percent of Coloradans support rules requiring oil and gas producers to prevent methane waste on public lands.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today officially began the process of rolling back safeguards that reduce waste and decrease air pollution from methane and other air pollutants. These safeguards are widely supported in Colorado; in fact, a recent poll by Center for Western Priorities showed that 67 percent of Coloradans oppose rolling back environmental regulations on oil and gas development.

“Colorado has led the way with strong state-based rules that have proven to be good for public health, for business, and for our environment. While these safeguards remain in place, smog and pollution don’t stay within state borders. Coloradans, especially working families and people of color, will feel the effects of this harmful and short-sighted rollback, which only serves to benefit oil and gas company profits,” said Kelly Nordini, executive director of Conservation Colorado.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas released into the air when oil and gas is extracted. The EPA’s New Source Performance Standards, which have been in place and working for almost a year, reduce emissions from more than 36,000 wells all around the country. These standards cut 21,635 tons of methane, around 6,000 tons of smog-forming volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and 450,000 pounds of toxic air pollutants each year. Capturing methane means less waste (because the methane is used for energy production) and less pollution (because toxic gases aren’t being released into the air).

While these critical safeguards are being rolled back at the federal level, Colorado continues to have strong rules, which served as a model for the EPA standards. While wells in Colorado will still be subject to these robust state regulations, Colorado’s air will be harmed by the undoing of the EPA rule. Air pollution doesn’t stop at state lines, and Coloradans will be impacted by this decision and the thousands of tons of methane pollution that the industry will again be allowed to emit.

After conducting a nationwide search, Conservation Colorado today announced Kelly Nordini will be its new Executive Director. Nordini is an experienced conservationist, political strategist, and policy expert. Her decades of experience at the intersection of Colorado politics and conservation policy and her vision for the future of Conservation Colorado distinguished her from an extraordinary field of more than 100 candidates.

Nordini has extensive experience in public policy, political strategy and campaigns, and community organizing, as well as a background in management. She was previously a partner at Hilltop Public Solutions, where she led efforts to advance clean energy policies in Colorado. She has also held leadership positions at Western Conservation Foundation and Project New America, and she served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Bill Ritter.

“Kelly is the leader we need to build on our legacy of advocacy and help mobilize the growing population of conservation-minded Coloradans to achieve even greater public policy success across the state,” said Diane Carman, Conservation Colorado board chair. “The fast-moving political environment demands that we are continuously adapting to meet our goals—protecting public lands, conserving water, and ensuring a healthy future for all Coloradans. Kelly will bring political savvy, strong relationships, and a deep commitment to organizing to lead Conservation Colorado into this new chapter.”

“I am so excited to join the exceptional team at Conservation Colorado, and I can’t wait to get started,” said Kelly Nordini. “We have so much to do in the next three months to ensure a pro-conservation Governor and state legislature. The organization is growing and in an incredibly strong position to advocate for bold policies that ensure we protect the Colorado we all love. I’m thrilled to be able to take on these challenges with such smart, thoughtful colleagues.”

Nordini has a deep history in Colorado, and the announcement of her new role was praised by leaders from across the state.

“This is a great move for Conservation Colorado. Kelly has a successful record of bringing people together to find creative solutions. With her at the helm, I have no doubt they will continue fighting to ensure Colorado has the cleanest air and water possible,” said Governor John Hickenlooper.

“Protecting our air, land, and water is critical to our state’s future, especially to the diverse communities that call Colorado home. I know Kelly will continue the transformational work of Conservation Colorado to ensure that it remains a model for conservation efforts across the country,” said Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran.

“Conservation Colorado’s work for our state is invaluable. I am confident in Kelly’s ability to continue moving our state forward. I look forward to continuing our strong partnership and protecting our public lands, clean water, and clean air,” said Senate Minority Leader Leroy M. Garcia.

“Ever since my time with Governor Owens, I have appreciated Kelly’s desire and ability to work across the aisle and with a variety of Colorado interest groups,” said Mike Beasley, Former Legislative Director for Gov. Owens and President of 5280 Strategies. “I look forward to working with her to ensure that we protect the environment and create economic prosperity across the state.”

Conservation Colorado is the largest state-based environmental organization in the country with nearly 40 staff in Denver and four field offices as well as 40,000 members across the state. The organization spent $1.3 million in the 2016 elections and had a 90 percent win rate of its endorsed candidates.

The Trump administration today released a rollback of national clean car and vehicle efficiency standards. These widely-supported standards save Coloradans money at the gas pump, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce smog and toxic pollution.

“Make no mistake: these rollbacks will hurt Coloradans,” said Sophia Mayott-Guerrero, transportation and energy advocate at Conservation Colorado. “Less efficient motor vehicles are a significant contributor to air pollution and climate change, and the Trump administration is putting more of them on the road to appease industry interests. Colorado must take bold action now to protect our health and environment.”

In anticipation of these federal rollbacks, Governor John Hickenlooper in June issued an executive order directing Colorado air quality officials to begin a process to adopt state clean car standards. Colorado could join 13 other states and the District of Columbia as leaders in clean car technology and clean air. Through this process, environmental, public health, and consumer groups will encourage the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to explore Colorado clean car standards that include both low emissions and zero emissions components. The AQCC will begin consideration of the clean car standards on August 16.

“Trump’s proposed rollback of vehicle pollution standards is yet another move to satisfy corporate interests at the expense of Coloradans,” said Zach Pierce, Senior Campaign Representative for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Colorado. “Here in Colorado, rolling back the standards means more air pollution and more money spent at the gas pump. Since the White House isn’t looking out for Coloradans, Governor Hickenlooper is defending clean air and family budgets with our own strong policies.”

This rollback will increase carbon emissions in Colorado by 3.9 million tons per year, undercutting Governor Hickenlooper’s goals to address our changing climate. Emissions of smog-causing air pollutants from vehicles would increase by about 15 percent, making it harder for places like Colorado’s Front Range to meet federal ozone standards that protect our health. For Coloradans, especially the 343,000 people who are living with asthma, more air pollution means more coughing and wheezing, increased risk of infection, and permanent damage to lung tissue.

“Coloradans must now protect their own clean air,” said Noah Long, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s outrageous that the Trump administration is trying to not only roll back basic health and environmental safeguards, but also remove the ability of states like Colorado to cut pollution.”

Coloradans have saved $550 million at the pump since the federal government set standards in 2012 to double fuel efficiency for cars and light trucks by 2025. Under these standards, the average Colorado household would have seen $2,700 in savings by 2030 – savings that won’t happen with this rollback.

“Inefficient cars are just wasteful – they cost consumers every time we go to the pump, and they hurt our health when they produce unnecessary pollution,” said Danny Katz, director of CoPIRG. “As technology continues to advance, we need to take advantage of even cleaner, more fuel efficient cars. That’s why we applaud Governor Hickenlooper’s action to make Colorado a leader around fuel efficient, cleaner cars.”

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.