House Committee Approves Bill to Ensure Colorado Leads on Climate Action

Becker-Galindo also introduce companion bill to ensure just transition for workers

(Apr. 5) – Today, the House Energy and Environment committee passed Speaker of the House KC Becker and Rep. Dominique Jackson’s legislation to take meaningful action to address climate change. Acting on climate will help protect clean air and water and spur clean energy jobs, innovation, business development, and economic growth for Colorado. Speaker Becker also introduced a companion bill to support Colorado workers affected by the energy transition.

“Colorado can act on climate, create clean energy jobs, cut carbon pollution and grow our economy at the same time,” said Speaker Becker of HB19-1261. “We can’t afford to wait. Air pollution doesn’t respect county or governmental boundaries. I thank everyone who came to testify on this bill and all of the stakeholder input throughout this process.”

“When I look outside the capitol and in my community, I frequently see the smog, the hazy, bad air quality affecting our public health and the air we breathe. Pollution is changing how we live our lives and threatening the things we love about Colorado,” Rep. Jackson, D-Aurora, said during the hearing. “As the effects of climate change increase, the harms to communities of color will continue to worsen. Sadly, we are not seeing any movement on the federal level so we have no time to waste.”

Rep. Jackson is Chair of the House Energy and Environment committee.

Speaker Becker and Rep. Rochelle Galindo, D-Greeley, also introduced HB 19-1314 today, a companion bill to create the Just Transition Office within the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to support the livelihood of coal transition workers, their families and their communities, and to help provide these workers access to training and job opportunities.

“The time to take action on climate is now, but we cannot work towards a clean energy economy without also working on solutions to support workers who are affected by this transition,” Speaker Becker, D-Boulder, said of the companion bill. “Workers and communities whose livelihoods are threatened by shifting economic tides and advancements in technology need support.  We can support these communities in this transition, and today I introduced HB19-1314 to address this issue.”

Coloradans are already seeing the negative impacts of climate change on a daily basis:

Coloradans are experiencing poor air quality affecting our health; mountain residents are seeing more frequent and destructive wildfires; increased drought is harming our farms; smaller snow packs are resulting in shorter ski seasons; and shallower rivers for fishing and rafting are threatening our thriving outdoor economy and the Colorado way of life.

The overwhelming majority of Coloradans support climate action. This reasonable, science-based legislation directs the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to develop rules limiting carbon pollution, ensuring Colorado lead on climate action. HB19-1261 puts pollution reduction goals into statute to reduce Colorado’s greenhouse gas pollution by 26 percent by 2025, 50 percent by 2030, and 90 percent by 2050 of 2005 levels. The AQCC will hold an extensive stakeholder process throughout the rulemaking period.

At today’s hearing on HB19-1261, proponent after proponent testified in support of taking action to address climate change, reducing carbon pollution and creating clean energy jobs.

House Republicans remain in denial about the economic and moral impacts of climate change.

HB19-1261 passed through the committee with a vote of 7-4. It now heads to the House Appropriations committee.

HB19-1314, a bill to ensure a just transition for Colorado workers, was assigned to the Business Affairs and Labor Committee.

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