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April 27, 2023

Legislation to Fight Climate Change, Reduce Emissions Advances in House

DENVER, CO – The House today advanced legislation on a preliminary vote to propel Colorado’s clean energy transition forward and better combat climate change. 

SB23-016, sponsored by Representatives Karen McCormick and Emily Siorta, would establish interim greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets and incentivize investments in electrification.

“Every Coloradan deserves clean air and a livable climate, which is why we are passing this bold legislation to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Rep. Karen McCormick, D-Longmont. “This legislation creates interim targets to help Colorado reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and incentivize the use of clean alternatives in our homes and businesses. This bill puts Colorado on a strong path toward meeting our climate goals and creating a healthier state for all of us.” 

“This bill will help us mitigate the effects of climate change and improve our air by encouraging electrification and supercharging our transition to a clean energy economy,” said Rep. Emily Sirota, D-Denver. “Coloradans are counting on us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide and bring our state closer to reaching our climate goals. This legislation establishes critical emission reduction goals that will work to protect our families and children for years to come.” 

SB23-016 would update the state’s greenhouse gas emission reduction goals to match the latest climate science by adding interim targets, including a 65 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions relative to 2005 levels by 2035, and a new goal of 100% emissions reduction by 2050.

To help reach these targets, the bill would require the Public Utilities Commission and local governments to consider and prioritize upgrades and additions to the state’s electric transmission infrastructure system, and conduct a study on transmission capacity to pave the way for electrification across the state. Local permitting for projects to renovate, rebuild, or recondition transmission lines would be expedited, and the construction would be subject to the state’s labor standards. 

To further expedite electrification, the bill would incentivize the retirement of a major local ozone contributor: gas-powered lawn equipment. SB23-016 creates an income tax credit worth 30% of the purchase price of electric lawn mowers, leaf blowers, trimmers, and snowblowers and encourages climate-aware financial investing by requiring large insurance companies to complete a climate risk disclosure survey annually. Finally, the bill would expand the definitions of “pollution control equipment” and “clean heat resource” to include currently underutilized wastewater thermal energy, and enable Colorado to lead in carbon sequestration by allowing the state to apply to the Environmental Protection Agency for Class VI injection well primacy.

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