Polis Signs Bills to Improve Disaster Mitigation, Promote Environmentally Friendly Building Materials

DENVER, CO — Governor Jared Polis today signed legislation that will help communities mitigate the threat from natural disasters like wildfires and promote the use of building materials for public projects that reduce emissions and help address climate change. 

“Colorado is seeing more intense natural disasters, often fueled by climate change, that are threatening people’s homes, lives and our Colorado way of life,” said Rep. Lisa Cutter, D-Jefferson County. “The bill Governor Polis signed today will help our communities access federal funds to pay for mitigation projects that will reduce damage and destruction and prevent greater losses from wildfires, floods and other natural disasters.”

“Mitigation projects are some of the best tools we have to reduce the threat of dangerous wildfires, floods and other disasters,” said Rep. Matt Gray, D-Broomfield. “Now, Colorado communities will have a new way to fund and access federal resources for these critical efforts to protect homes, property and infrastructure.” 

HB21-1208, sponsored by Representatives Lisa Cutter and Matt Gray, creates a natural disaster enterprise to draw down federal funds to help Colorado communities mitigate the impact and reduce the threat of climate-related natural disasters, such as wildfires. The bill establishes a small $2 per year flat fee on certain disaster related insurance policies that will be leveraged for three times as much federal funding. The funding will be used to finance disaster mitigation projects in communities that are actively working to increase their resiliency. The grant program will also provide technical assistance to local governments to help them address and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

“This new law signed today will help Colorado’s departments and agencies meet our climate goals by promoting the use of building materials that are made with and produce less carbon emissions,” said Rep. Barbara McLachlan, D-Durango. “I’m proud Colorado is looking at how we can use more climate-friendly building materials and create jobs along the way in rural areas and in growing industries.”

HB21-1303, sponsored by Representative Tracey Bernett and Representative Barbara McLachlan, also known as the “Buy Clean Colorado Act,” requires state agencies to look at public infrastructure projects and how the state can encourage the use of certain materials that are manufactured in a way that releases fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Under the bill, state departments would accept and evaluate Environmental Product Declaration information from contractors when materials are specified in bids, and define  policies that prioritize purchasing the cleanest materials available.

By selecting materials that are manufactured with lower Global Warming Potential (GWP), state agencies will reduce the state’s overall greenhouse gas emissions, helping meet Colorado’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. This encourages use of recycled materials, lower GWP emissions materials and manufacturing processes, use of renewable energy, and use of low emissions fuels. By selecting more environmentally friendly materials, Colorado can reduce smog, toxic emissions, particular matter, and greenhouse gasses released into our atmosphere, and reduce respiratory and other public health issues. Colorado is home to some of the greenest cement and steel manufacturers in the country.

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