Due to a lack of leadership in Washington, states must lead on climate action

(May 30) – Gov. Polis signed a package of bills to address climate change, reduce carbon pollution emissions and deploy more renewable energy.

First up was a bill sponsored by Speaker of the House KC Becker, D-Boulder, and Rep. Dominique Jackson, D-Aurora, to the Governor.

“Acting on climate will help protect clean air and water, and spur clean energy jobs, innovation, business development, and economic growth,” said Speaker Becker. “Coloradans take pride in the fact that we are doing our part to address the impacts of climate change. This new law sets goals to reduce carbon pollution and certain utilities have already set carbon-free goals.”

“Hazy, bad air quality impacts the air we all breathe. Pollution changes how Coloradans live their lives and threatens everything we love about our state,” said Rep. Jackson, chair of the House Energy and Environment committee. “We’ve all heard the stories about elderly individuals who have been physically harmed because they couldn’t cool their home. Our seniors, low income people and especially communities of color are more likely to bear the impacts of climate change. This new law will help us preserve our Colorado way of life.”

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 leads 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.

The Gov also signed Rep. Chris Hansen’s bill to collect long-term climate change data.

“Colorado’s way of life is threatened by climate change and carbon pollution emissions, and we need a data-driven approach to protect it. But we are falling short on reducing carbon emissions because we are not collecting adequate information. This law will lay a strong foundation of data that we can build upon to evaluate emissions,” said Rep. Hansen, D-Denver.

Under SB19-096, the Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) would be required to collect carbon emissions data across Colorado. This commission would then produce a report and forecast future emissions, as well as propose the most cost-effective way for Colorado to meet our carbon emissions reduction goals. The AQCC, which is part of the Department of Public Health and Environment, must complete all legislative requirements by July 1, 2020.

The Gov also signed a Community Solar Gardens bill sponsored by Rep. Chris Hansen, D-Denver, and Rep. Alex Valdez, D-Denver. This law modifies Colorado’s community solar garden program by increasing the maximum size of these facilities as well as eliminating burdensome regulations restricting their location. HB19-1003 will take Colorado’s community solar garden program to the next stage of development by increasing the maximum size of a community solar garden from 2 megawatts to 5 megawatts.

Gov. Polis also signed Rep. Cathy Kipp, D-Fort Collins’ bill with Rep. Meg Froelich, D-Englewood HB19-1231 to set in place energy and water efficiency standards for 15 commercial and residential products for which there are no existing federal standards, saving Coloradan families their hard-earned income while ensuring the overall quality of the products they purchase. 

The bills were signed into law at Sunshare’s JeffCo Community Solar Garden this morning.

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