Contacto: Jessica Goad, 720-206-4235

El gobernador de Colorado, John Hickenlooper, anunció el día de hoy importantes medidas para luchar contra el cambio climático, incluyendo el encaminar al estado de Colorado para cumplir con la reducción de emisiones cual tiene como objetivo el histórico acuerdo climático de París e ingresar a Colorado a la Alianza Climática de EE.UU., una coalición bipartidista de 12 estados comprometidos a cumplir con las metas y objetivos del Acuerdo de París.

“Le agradecemos al gobernador Hickenlooper por tomar acción para combatir el cambio climático y edificar la economía de energía limpia de Colorado,” dijo Hilda Nucete, Directora de Programa Protégete en Conservation Colorado. “Las comunidades en las líneas frontales son las más afectadas por la contaminación del aire y los impactos del cambio climático, y frente a los ataques a nuestro aire limpio por parte del presidente Trump y su administración, el gobernador Hickenlooper está en lo correcto al anteponer a nuestras comunidades y familias.”

Otras acciones en el anuncio del gobernador incluyen:
-Objetivos mensurables en la disminución de emisiones de carbono en el sector de servicios públicos, así como aquellos de eficiencia energética.
-Apoyar de los vehículos eléctricos.
-Ampliar los programa de edificios sostenibles.
-Adoptar requerimientos de reporte de gases de efecto invernadero, lo cual le permitirá al estado identificar oportunidades para disminuir la contaminación y por lo tanto, ahorrar energía y dinero.
-Impulsar el desarrollo económico en las comunidades de carbón de Colorado.
-Nuevas asociaciones con gobiernos locales.

El Acuerdo de París 2015 incluía un objetivo mundial de limitar el aumento de temperatura a no más de 2 grados Celsius e idealmente 1.5 grados Celsius. Como parte de esto, EE.UU. estableció una meta de disminuir las emisiones de gas de efecto invernadero de entre 26 y 28 por ciento por debajo de los niveles de 2005 para el año 2025, y también delineó metas de “mediados de siglo” para conseguir cero emisiones.

La economía de energía limpia de Colorado esta expandiéndose ampliamente, con 62,000 empleos ya en el sector de tecnología limpia y más de 2,000 compañías de tecnología limpia. Cerca de 90 empresas de Colorado se han comprometido a cumplir con las metas del Acuerdo de París.

On the final day for public comments during the Trump administration’s “review” of 27 national monuments, Coloradans across the state are standing up for our public lands, especially our most exceptional protected places like Canyons of the Ancients National Monument near Cortez.

“Coloradans have shown unequivocally that they support our national parks and monuments,” said Scott Braden, Wilderness and Public Lands Advocate at Conservation Colorado. “President Trump and Secretary Zinke’s morally bankrupt threat to shrink or remove protections for our public lands has backfired and has resulted in even greater support for them. This attack has also shown Secretary Zinke’s initial claim to be a devotee of President Teddy Roosevelt to be a cruel farce.”

Since the beginning of the monuments review, announced in early May, Coloradans have spoken out in many ways:

  • As of this morning, nearly 12,000 Conservation Colorado members had submitted comments supporting Canyons of the Ancients. See a sampling of Coloradans’ comments here, including those from MB McAfee of Cortez and the CEO of Icelantic Skis.
  • Nationally, more than 2.5 million comments in favor of protecting our nation’s monuments have been submitted.
  • Editorial boards from across the state have weighed in for keeping Canyons of the Ancients protected or for the Antiquities Act, including the Denver Post, Grand Junction SentinelDurango Herald, and Cortez Journal.
  • Elected officials have weighed in, including:

– The Colorado state House unanimously voted to pass a resolution in support of the Antiquities Act and all of Colorado’s national monuments.
– Colorado’s statewide officials (Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner and Governor John Hickenlooper) as well as local Congressman Scott Tipton have supported Canyons of the Ancients.
– 29 county commissioners from across the state signed a letter to the Secretary of Interior stating, “These monuments are our heritage, our future and our template for preservation.”
– The Cortez City Council signed a strong letter to the Secretary of Interior saying, “Canyons of the Ancients became a National Monument because it is a special place and merits the protections that Monument Status provides.”

While Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has made assurances to some of our Colorado leaders that Canyons of the Ancients will remain unharmed, other national monuments have come under direct attack, even in the face of widespread public support. Secretary Zinke has recommended that neighboring Bears Ears National Monument in Utah be shrunk.

Contact: Jessica Goad, 720-206-4236

Relocation Puts Spotlight on Colorado’s Progressive Public Lands Policies

The Outdoor Retailer Show and its partners today announced that Denver has been chosen as the new home for the $45 million biannual gathering. While the decision was based on multiple factors, the outdoor industry noted in a February press release announcing solicitations for new show venues that one of the most vital factors was whether the location “upholds [the outdoor] industry’s core values around the importance of America’s public lands system.”

“This announcement establishes Colorado as the national home of the fast-growing outdoor recreation industry,” said Pete Maysmith, Executive Director of Conservation Colorado. “We are thrilled to host the Outdoor Retailer Show and use the opportunity to show off our epic public lands, our forward-thinking conservation policies, and the $28 billion contribution that outdoor recreation makes to our state’s economy. There’s no better place than Colorado for the outdoor recreation industry to convene twice a year. We thank Governor Hickenlooper, Mayor Hancock, Luis Benitez of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office, and other leaders who stepped up for our lands and our state’s economy.”

In February 2017, when industry leaders announced that they were moving the show out of Utah due to the extreme anti-public lands stances of the state’s elected officials, Colorado launched an aggressive campaign to lure the show to Denver. One aspect of this campaign was advertisements that Conservation Colorado ran in the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News (seen to the right), communicating to the outdoor industry that Colorado has stronger beer, taller peaks, and higher recreation, but most importantly, a love for public lands.

 

“Today’s announcement confirms that the embrace of public lands is a winning combination for Colorado’s economy and way of life,” said Scott Braden, Wilderness and Public Lands Advocate at Conservation Colorado and member of Colorado’s Office of Outdoor Recreation Industry Advisory Council. “It is also a repudiation of extreme and short-sighted efforts by some politicians to seize and sell off our lands. While we hope that politicians in Utah have learned a lesson, unfortunately the desire to privatize or strip protections for our public lands has seeped into leadership in Washington, D.C. Politicians across the nation must know that public lands are critical infrastructure to our success and quality of life, and that any attempt to undo protections for them will be met with fierce resistance.”

Colorado has a storied history of investing in and protecting national, state, and local parks, monuments, forests, and other public lands. For example:

  • Colorado has 24 million acres of national public lands including four national parks, eight national monuments, and 44 wilderness areas.
  • Colorado was the first state in the nation to establish a state holiday day to celebrate public lands. The first-ever Colorado Public Lands Day was celebrated this May with more than 100 events and thousands of participants.
  • State legislators resoundingly defeated all eight attempts to pass land seizure bills in over the last five years.
  • In 1992, Colorado citizens passed a ballot initiative to send some lottery revenues to fund outdoors programs in the state. “Great Outdoors Colorado” has become a model for conservation funding across the nation.

The Trump administration has launched several attacks on Colorado’s public lands. These include:

  • Threatening to roll back protections for Canyons of the Ancients National Monument near Cortez.
  • Suspending public lands advisory councils.
  • Proposing to significantly slash the budget for managing our public lands.

Contacts:

Jessica Goad, Conservation Colorado, 720-206-4235

Mike Freeman, Earthjustice, 720-989-6896

Two of the state’s leading environmental advocacy groups today called upon Governor Hickenlooper to accept the court’s decision in Martinez v. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and not appeal the case. Governor Hickenlooper has until this Thursday, May 18 to decide whether to appeal the decision.

“Several bills that would have done a better job of protecting Colorado communities from oil and gas failed in the state Senate during this past legislative session,” said Pete Maysmith, Executive Director of Conservation Colorado. “Now, it’s up to the governor to take this opportunity to protect public health and the environment and do all that he can to prevent tragedies like Firestone. A critical way to achieve this is to ensure that the oil and gas commission fully utilizes all of the tools that it has been given to protect public health, safety, and welfare. One of these tools is a recent court decision that makes it clear that the agency does in fact have the ability and authority to protect Colorado communities from oil and gas drilling. In order to preserve this important tool, we urge Governor Hickenlooper to not appeal the Martinez decision.”

“All the Martinez decision says is that Colorado must protect public health, safety, and the environment when approving oil and gas development,” said Mike Freeman, Staff Attorney at the public interest law firm Earthjustice. “But the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has been telling Coloradans for years that it already does that. If the COGCC has been meeting its obligations to protect Coloradans the State should have no objection to the court’s ruling. By appealing the court ruling, the government and the COGCC would be making the case that public health and safety are not the commission’s top priority in managing oil and gas development.”

Background on the case:

In 2013, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and several other Colorado young people asked the COGCC to adopt a regulation stating that no drilling permits will be issued without a finding that drilling can occur without impairing Colorado’s air, water, and wildlife and that it does not adversely affect public health. The COGCC denied the request, holding that it lacked legal authority to issue such a rule. In March 2017, the Colorado Court of Appeals set aside the COGCC’s decision. The Court held that state law makes “protection of public health, safety and welfare, including protection of the environment and wildlife resources” a prerequisite for approving oil and gas development. While rejecting the COGCC’s legal interpretation, the Court did not address whether the agency should adopt the specific rule language requested by the Martinez plaintiffs.

The American Petroleum Institute, which has opposed the Martinez plaintiffs in the lawsuit, is expected to ask the Colorado Supreme Court to reverse the Court of Appeals decision. On May 1, the COGCC voted to join the American Petroleum Institute in challenging the court decision.

Contact: Jessica Goad, 720-206-4235

As the 2017 Colorado state legislative session comes to a close, Conservation Colorado celebrated seven victories but also lamented several important bills that were killed or left on the cutting room floor by the state Senate.

Pete Maysmith, Executive Director of Conservation Colorado, put it this way:
This year’s legislative session had several great, bipartisan wins for conservation issues. Conservation champions and legislators on both sides of the aisle stood up for our air, land, water, and communities, and we’re proud of the passage of meaningful and innovative bills to protect our environment.

 

But throughout the session, a group of obstructionist right-wing Republican senators repeatedly blocked progress by voting ideologically rather than for the needs of everyday Coloradans. Their opposition to simple, commonsense fixes to problems facing Colorado — such as giving citizens the opportunity to vote on a long-term sustainable funding to solve our transportation problems — should serve as a reminder about why voting matters.

Key victories that Conservation Colorado achieved were:

  • Extended a successful energy efficiency program (HB 1227)
  • Helped schools test for lead in their water (HB 1306)
  • Outlawed “rolling coal” (SB 278)
  • Defended tax credits for electric vehicles (SB 188)
  • Supported energy assistance to low-income households (HB 1116)
  • Secured funding for healthy rivers (HB 1248)
  • Prevented bills that would seize or sell off our public lands from being introduced

Despite the wins, several other environmental priorities were killed or stalled this session thanks to ideological opposition. These bills included:

  • Funding for the Colorado Energy Office and important clean energy programs, which Republicans held hostage in order to try to provide a windfall for natural gas companies (SB 301)
  • Improvements to transportation infrastructure and multimodal options (HB 1242)
  • Funding for our state parks (HB 1321)
  • Opening up new opportunities for investment in electric vehicle infrastructure (HB 1232)
  • Three measures to keep our communities safe from oil and gas drilling in neighborhoods:
    • Better protecting children from oil and gas wells located near schools (HB 1256)
    • Providing notice and transparency to property and mineral rights owners in the gas patch (HB 1372)
    • Securing mapping of and information about oil and gas lines, a critical necessity in the wake of the Firestone tragedy (HB 1336)

Conservation Colorado will be releasing its annual conservation scorecard with scores for legislators based on their environmental votes during the 2017 legislative session early this summer.

Contact: Jessica Goad, 720-206-4235

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

Contacts:

– Elizabeth Whitehead, Children’s Hospital Colorado, 720-777-6388
– Mike Wetzel, Colorado Education Association, MWetzel@coloradoea.org
– Brian Turner, Colorado Public Health Association, 303-257-7142
– Jessica Goad, Conservation Colorado, 720-206-4235

The Colorado state legislature today passed HB 1306, a bill that would provide funds for Colorado schools to voluntarily test for lead in their drinking water. The vote count was 29-6, and the bill is on its way to Governor Hickenlooper’s desk.

“Clean water in our schools is an expectation everyone in Colorado can get behind,” said Brian Turner, MPH, President of the Colorado Public Health Association. “As a public health professional, but more importantly as a parent, I’m happy to see our state moving in the right direction for our kids’ safety.”  

The bipartisan bill would provide funding for schools to voluntarily test their water for lead, and it prioritizes testing for older schools and schools with younger children. Schools that discover lead in their drinking water have several routes for securing more funding to mitigate the issue. Just seven of Colorado’s 178 school districts have tested their water for lead, and in these districts, 100 schools were found to have lead in their water.

“There are no safe levels of lead,” said Dan Nicklas, MD, pediatrician at Children’s Hospital Colorado. “The recent crisis in Flint, Michigan, brought the nation’s attention to this environmental hazard, though lead toxicity has always been a public health challenge. We fully support our state proactively addressing this risk to keep Colorado kids safe.”

“We recognize our school districts are badly underfunded and cannot perform this important work for student safety without assistance,” said Kerrie Dallman, president of the Colorado Education Association. “We appreciate our legislators for stepping forward with funding to help older schools meet the challenge of providing safe learning conditions for their students.”

“A safe environment is a human right,” said Kristin Green, Water Advocate at Conservation Colorado. “We’re thrilled that legislators from both sides of the aisle stood up for Colorado kids and will help keep them safe from lead pollution.”

Contact: Jessica Goad 720-206-4235

The Colorado state Senate just passed HB 1227, a bill to extend a successful energy efficiency program, on a 21-14 vote. The state House has already passed the bill, so it is going to Governor Hickenlooper’s desk.

Theresa Conley, Advocacy Director at Conservation Colorado, made the following statement:

This is an important win for Colorado. Energy efficiency programs have been wildly successful in our state, having saved consumers money and helped our environment. Despite misleading information that this bill would cost ratepayers money, its passage demonstrates that bipartisanship can be found on energy issues. We thank Senators Priola and Fenberg, as well as Representatives Winter and Lawrence, for their teamwork and for their commitment to Colorado’s consumers and our environment.

Colorado has long been a bipartisan leader in energy efficiency policies. Energy efficiency saves money for families and businesses and reduces air pollution. A Colorado bill passed in 2007 created the Energy Efficiency Resources Standard, which requires energy savings goals for utility companies, providing incentives for implementation of energy efficiency programs. This program is set to expire in 2018, and HB 1227 extends it through 2028.

Since its implementation in 2009, the EERS has created over 40,000 jobs, avoided 1.85 million metric tons of pollution, and saved Colorado consumers and businesses over $1.3 billion in utility costs. HB 1227 ensures the continuation of programs that help Colorado consumers and business save money, support existing jobs, create new jobs, and benefit our environment.

Contact: Jessica Goad, 720-206-4235

Highlights include dozens of events across the state, eight special beers, appearances by elected officials

Conservation Colorado and its partners have announced plans for celebrating the first-annual Colorado Public Lands Day, which will occur on Saturday, May 20th.

Ninety-five events are currently planned across the state, with more being added weekly. A map of all events can be found here, and highlights include:

  • “Governor Hickenlooper Celebrates Colorado Public Lands Day,” Grand Junction Off-Road Bike Race main stage, 12:00 PM, Grand Junction
  • The Future of Public Lands” featuring U.S. Congressman Ed Perlmutter and the band Elephant Revival, American Mountaineering Center, 5:00 PM, Golden
  • Events in Denver’s urban parks including Montbello Day of Beauty, 10:00 AM, and BBQ at Silverman Park, 12:00 PM
  • Party and live music, Powerhouse Science Center, 6:00 PM, Durango
  • Celebration featuring Colorado Public Lands Day architect state Senator Kerry Donovan, High Alpine Brewery, 5:00 PM, Gunnison

Eight special beers are being brewed by Colorado breweries to celebrate various aspects of public lands. Broken Compass’ spruce tip IPA, for example, pays homage to the mountains of Breckenridge, while Kannah Creek Brewing Company’s “Monument Irish Red” honors Colorado National Monument.

In addition, renowned Colorado-based band Elephant Revival is sponsoring a public lands trail cleanup on May 12th. The band has been dubbed the “official sound” of Colorado Public Lands Day 2017, and is hosting a contest to win free tickets to their show at Red Rocks on Sunday, May 21st, for anyone who helps promote Colorado Public Lands Day.

In May 2016 Colorado became the first state in the nation to establish a holiday recognizing the value of public lands to our state. The bill passed with bipartisan support and was signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper. Colorado Public Lands Day will occur on the third Saturday in May each year.

More information about all of the events can be found at copubliclandsday.com.

Contact: Jessica Goad, 720-206-4235

News is breaking that the tragic accident in Firestone, where two people were killed in a home explosion, was caused by natural gas leaking from a cut flow line.

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

The Firestone tragedy is the most recent– and heart-breaking– wake-up call that oil and gas exploration is a dangerous, heavy industrial activity that must be kept away from homes and schools. For years, communities across the state have raised concerns about the perils of siting homes and oil and gas facilities near each other, but these cries for change have fallen upon deaf ears. We have been left with empty promises from the oil and gas industry and tragedies such as this.

Our elected officials must act with great urgency to strengthen the rules and laws governing oil and gas drilling. This means taking any action necessary to put the burden of proof for showing that drilling is safe onto the industry, not onto concerned community members.

Moving forward, the COGCC must take decisive action and not allow any oil and gas activity unless it is proven to be safe to human health and our air and water. The fact that the commission is even considering appealing a court decision applying this standard is shocking.

A few items of interest regarding the state of play of oil and gas drilling in Colorado:
– In a case (Martinez v. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission) decided in mid-March, the Colorado Court of Appeals determined that protection of public health and the environment is “a condition that must be fulfilled” before the commission can issue permits. In its meeting yesterday, the commission noted that it is “still deciding whether to pursue an appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court.”
– The state Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, supported and encouraged by the oil and gas industry, recently voted down a simple, clarifying bill that would keep oil and gas well 1,000′ from school property, not just school buildings themselves.
– Oil and gas development is coming soon to even more suburban neighborhoods, as seen in maps of Adams and Arapahoe Counties.