Advocating strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a level supportive of a livable climate.

Author: Kevin Cross Page 1 of 5

Ensure that PERA Fossil Fuel Sections Remain in Senate Bill 23-016!

SB23-016, a bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado, has two sections regarding PERA’s fossil fuel investments, one of which is in danger of being amended out in a Senate Finance Committee Hearing on Tuesday, 2/21. Section 2 of the bill would require the PERA board to adopt proxy voting procedures to ensure that PERA’s shareholder votes in the companies they invest in align with and support statewide greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. Section 3 requires PERA to publicly report a description of climate-related investment risks, impacts, and strategies.

We have three urgent action alerts to ensure that the PERA fossil fuel sections remain in Senate Bill 23-016! Please take action to help pass legislation that ensures PERA is held accountable for its role in financing the climate crisis! 

If you are a PERA member, your voice is especially powerful on this issue – please make note of your PERA membership when taking any of the following 3 actions:

1) Please take 30 seconds to send a letter to members of the Senate Finance Committee, urging them to keep the PERA fossil fuel sections in SB23-016 during next week’s committee hearing!

Click Here to send your letter!

PERA’s leadership has been actively working to get Section 2 removed, and have recently sent out a form letter to PERA members, telling them to urge the Senate Finance Committee to remove PERA from the bill. In the lead-up to next Tuesday’s Senate Finance hearing, we need committee members to hear from constituents loud and clear: PERA must be held accountable for their role in financing the climate crisis. 

If you are a PERA member, please make note of your PERA membership in your letter.

We encourage you to personalize the letter, but feel free to submit the letter as-is.

2) Please sign up to testify at the Senate Finance Committee Hearing on Tuesday, February 21st, and urge the committee to keep the PERA sections in the bill! 

You can testify remotely via Zoom, in-person at the Denver Capitol, or via written testimony. This Factsheet and Testimony Toolkithas talking points and instructions to register to testify.  Please note that comments to the Senate Finance Committee should focus on the PERA provisions of the bill only.

3) If you are a constituent of Senator Kolker or Senator Mullica, please reach out to them and urge them to keep the PERA sections in SB23-016! 

We need PERA members and constituents to contact two Senators on the Finance Committee: Senator Kyle Mullica and Senator Chris Kolker, and urge them to ensure that Section 2 remains in SB23-016. If you are a PERA member and/ or a constituent of these Senators, your voice will be crucial in ensuring this piece of the bill remains intact. You can use this email/ call script to help with outreach – it should only take 2 minutes. 

Senator Kolker represents Senate District 16 which includes Littleton, Columbine Valley, and Bow Mar and the areas around those towns.

He can be reached at or 303-866-4883.

Senator Mullica represents Senate District 24, which includes Thornton and Federal Heights. 

He can be reached at or 303-866-4451.

If you are unsure whether you are a constituent of these Senators, you can find out here. 

Testify on 3/16 to Keep Colorado Nuclear-Free!

In our efforts to keep Colorado nuclear-free as our state plans our necessary transition away from fossil fuels, we have an important hearing coming up related to nuclear power, which would benefit tremendously from public testimony to ensure it does not pass:

Thursday, 3/16 at 1:30pm – Urge House Energy & Environment Committee Members to vote NO on HB23-1080 “Reliable Alternative Energy Sources”. This bill would fund a feasibility study for introducing Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) to Colorado. For instructions to register to testify, and talking points to help craft your testimony, please see this toolkit:

Three questions for the next mayor of Denver

Published in the Colorado Sun on February 11th, 2023

The next mayor of Denver must have a heart that longs to keep all of Denver safe from the effects of the changed and changing climate. The next mayor of Denver must have the skill to lead the city to make Denver a world leader in dealing with the changed and changing climate.

The next mayor must clearly prioritize the transition away from burning fossil fuels with initiatives — both established and new — that lead the residents of Denver toward cleaner air, safer indoor spaces, and the new sustainable economic future.

Knowing that racial justice and climate justice are tied together, the next mayor must see that the city must aid those who cannot afford the steps that must be taken to stop burning fossil fuels. More difficult, the next mayor must find ways to persuade those who can afford the steps that must be taken, to take them.

Whatever other good priorities the next mayor has, he or she and the city will face the consequences of our burning fossil fuels: smoke, more heat, ozone, drought, dying forests, erratic weather, potential shortages, and climate refugees.

When new housing is built to help solve our housing crisis . . .

When considering how to help cars, bikes, and pedestrians share the roads . . . 

When trash is collected . . .

When the police do their work, and we strive for justice . . .

When the firefighters do their work . . .

When the city purchases equipment, when it buys its vehicles, when it heats and cools its buildings . . .

When the recreation centers open their doors . . .

When the planes take off from DIA . . .

. . . the mayor must direct the city to do these things in ways that protect Denver from the consequences of the changed and changing climate.

Over the course of 12 years, by 2035, the mayor will know if he or she succeeds if Denver as a whole powers itself by 90% renewable energy.

But which of the many candidates for mayor will care for the health of the city the best? Here are some questions to ask at the forums and debates with the candidates.

These questions are listed in degree of difficulty to show knowledge and commitment to addressing the climate crisis in a just way. The first question is the hardest to answer and the most concrete for city-wide action. The last question might be interpreted as a softball. But if you get a chance to ask all three, they do outline the areas where we Denverites must push on a mayor over the next twelve years.

Q: Do you support the recommendations of Denver’s 2020 Climate Action Task Force and how will you fund the hundreds of millions of dollars it calls to raise?

Acceptable answers will range from a basic familiarity with the Climate Action Task Force; to a basic familiarity with the office of Climate Action, Sustainability and Resiliency and a clear prioritization of the climate problem; to a detailed knowledge of both the task force and the climate action office; to a clear prioritization of the climate crisis and a plan for getting Denver to its stated goal of 65% renewable by 2030 (or a similar plan), with paths that raise up those who have suffered environmental injustice.

Where will Denver get the money? What part must come from the city? As for the rest, how would the candidate put together  public-private partnerships? How would he or she obtain state and federal funding? How do we electrify environmental justice homes and businesses, and work with landlords? Has the candidate given this serious consideration?

The candidate should be talking in the range of $160 million to $240 million a year through 2035.

Q: What opportunities present themselves with the renewal of the Xcel Franchise agreement in 2026?

Acceptable answers acknowledge that the renewal does present opportunities to get Xcel to support more rooftop solar with batteries, community solar, and to rapidly move its transition to renewable technologies.

Q: How would you as the mayor help create a city-wide culture that will lead to accomplishing the 100% carbon neutral goal in 2040?

The answer to this question will tell a lot about the style of the candidate. Bringing a whole city along such a transition is the job of a good politician. Being unnecessarily divisive doesn’t help, being skillfully courageous does help.

Potentially, the next mayor of Denver will have 12 years to achieve his or her goals. The Denver mayor has limited but powerful tools at his or her disposal. Some of those tools can indeed effect substantial change; others are tools of persuasion. The next mayor needs to build a city-wide culture that looks forward to the new electrified economy.

To do this, the new mayor must establish world-leading goals and a path to meet those goals. A world-leading goal is necessary because the world needs leadership to achieve its necessary reductions. Simply being average in a world of below-average responses does not solve the climate crisis. The goal of being 90% fossil fuel free by 2035 is adequate.

Denver is ready to lead. Leading the world means that we show how American people can live their lifestyles more justly while not over-heating the planet.

These goals cannot be simply hidden within the city government but must be broadly shared by both businesses and the public. There are many allies within Denver and a wide-spread acceptance among Denverites that the climate crisis deserves to be addressed in substantial ways. Setting a path forward will have its difficulties but is doable. We need a mayor who will lead us in solving the climate crisis.

Jeff Neuman-Lee, of Denver, is Legislative Team co-chair for Together Colorado‘s Climate Justice Committee.

Action Alert: Letters Needed to Legislators Telling Them About a New Report on How Little Oil and Gas Does for Colorado!

Have you seen the news that oil and gas extraction in our state is only a small fraction of the total economy? That means it is feasible to phase out new permits for wells by 2030. Wouldn’t it be great if the public and our legislators knew this?

***Take 5 minutes now to send this easy one-click letter: to your state representative and senator sending them the report that shows oil and gas provides only 0.7% of Colorado jobs, makes up only 3.3% of Colorado GDP, and provides only 1.2% of state and local government revenue. Report here:

***It’s easy and painless – the one-click letter will find your legislators for you and automatically send the letter to them. If you’ve got some extra time, contact your city council member too and let them know about this report, and asking them to sign this letter of support: for a phaseout by 2030 of new oil and gas well permits.

Sign Petition Opposing the Guanella Comprehensive Area Plan

PDC Energy has submitted a plan for the development of a 466 well fracking site in Weld County (known as the Guanella Comprehensive Area Plan). The approval of this CAP will indisputably accelerate the climate crisis, further degrade our already poor air quality and permanently deplete our limited water supplies. We can not stand by as O&G continue to put our lives and livelihoods at risk. Please sign the petition, developed by CCLC member organization Colorado Rising, either as an individual or as an organization. The petition is located here:

Public Comment in support of Cumulative Impacts Rulemaking Petition to the COGCC

Six groups, including CCLC members 350 Colorado, WildEarth Guardians, and the Larimer Alliance, have submitted a rulemaking petition to ask the COGCC to make rules to tackle cumulative impacts of oil and gas operations in Colorado. The rules proposed by the co-petitioners will address ozone, climate, and environmental justice among other things. The COGCC wants to hear from the public and groups about whether they should hold a rulemaking on these issues.

Instructions for submitting comments, along with background information can be found in this toolkit:

Comments made on behalf of organizations are especially helpful.

Action Alert: Tell Your Representative to Stop Manchin’s Dirty Deal!

As part of the deal to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, Senators Manchin and Schumer are introducing a separate piece of legislation that would fast-track permit approvals for dangerous fossil fuel projects in September. We need to tell our Congressional delegation to oppose this act.

The bill finally “dropped” on September 21st. As was long anticipated it’s a disaster – it guts bedrock environmental protections, endangers public health, fast-tracks fossil fuels, and pushes approval for Manchin’s pet project, the Mountain Valley Pipeline. You can view the bill here.

This is a dirty deal written by and for the fossil fuel industry. Leader Schumer will attach this legislation to a must-pass government spending bill this September, so we must do everything we can to stop this legislation in its tracks.

Write to your Members of Congress to pledge right now to block any efforts to dish out new fossil fuel handouts by clicking here. The permitting reforms proposed solely benefit the fossil fuel industry. Protecting our communities and climate is more important than giving Senator Manchin another present to take back to his fossil fuel industry donors. Stop the dirty deal.

The Supreme Court has put us in a Constitutional Crisis and a Climate Crisis

Published in the Colorado Sun on August 6th, 2022

The Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate is outraged by the recent Supreme Court decision eviscerating the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

The decision is an outright attack on Congress that shatters our checks-and-balances system of government. It signals that we are in a constitutional crisis that will impede our ability to tackle the climate emergency. 

There are multiple flaws in the Court’s decision on West Virginia vs. EPA. First, the Court chose to accept a case in which the EPA regulation in question — the Clean Power Plan — was repealed three years ago. That is a clear overreach of its authority. No court should have the ability to resurrect a repealed law or rescinded regulation, just to create new legal precedent at will.

Second, the Court majority abandoned the strict “originalism” to which it otherwise professes fealty and invoked the relatively novel legal theory it has deemed the “major questions” doctrine, that allows the court to engage in judicial activism across any spectrum of society, business, or law. This intrusion into both the executive and legislative branches functions violates the Constitution’s separation of powers. 

Third, the majority’s reasoning calls into question Congress’s ability to legislate and delegate implementation of rules to regulatory agencies with the requisite expertise to protect consumers, workers, and the environment. It is unreasonable to expect legislators to have decades of professional experience in every aspect of a proposed bill.

In addition, the executive-branch functions of selecting agency heads and defining their missions — backed by career civil servants who are presumed to be  expert in their field — shouldn’t be overruled by an unelected judiciary with neither the constitutional authority nor the expertise to do so. This is a runaway jury, as novelist John Grisham would say. Clearly, if our three branches of government do not respect each others’ powers, our Constitution ceases to provide the protection it has afforded for the last nearly 250 years.

This decision and others this year are the end result of a multi-decade process by corporations and wealthy individuals to politicize the Supreme Court by filling it with extremist, corporate-friendly justices. Fairness and principle had no place whatsoever in this lengthy plan to reshape the Supreme Court into one which values corporate rights over human and civil rights. The current court majority clearly prioritizes corporate interests over all others, including — in the case of West Virginia vs. EPA — the continued viability of Earth as a home for humans and other animal species.

Come October, the Court will once again exercise the “major questions” doctrine by ruling on whether automobile emissions standards are also beyond the bounds of regulatory oversight, likely returning us to days of low miles/gallon vehicles, and condemning air quality to be irreparably harmed. The current EPA-allowed limit on breathing particulate matter, which is generated primarily from power plants and internal combustion engines, is 11 pounds per day. 

That’s right: It’s acceptable to breathe in 11 pounds of invisible soot every day. With the rollback of the Clean Air Act, and the forthcoming ruling to eviscerate emissions standards, how much more pollution will we breathe each day, and when did it become the job of the Supreme Court to decide this?

Ask your Congressional representatives what they can do to restore checks and balances, and the authority of both the legislative and executive branches of government. The fastest and surest way to do this would be to expand the Court to 13 or more justices to restore the balance that is now clearly lacking.

Court expansion would also require eliminating the filibuster rule in the Senate. Term limits for justices, curtailing the Court’s jurisdiction, and making judicial ethics — including mandatory recusal requirements and discipline applicable to the justices — should also be explored. Demand a plan to address the climate crisis from the legislative branch that can be implemented by the executive branch agencies and will survive this activist court. 

Since the prospects for Supreme Court reform are slim, we must also do everything we can at the state level, by electing candidates who are committed to climate action. And we can contact our congresspeople and tell them we want their support on the Inflation Reduction Act.

We are in both a constitutional and climate crisis; the time to act is now. Failure to address climate change will have devastating consequences, not just for our children and grandchildren, but also for ourselves.

Kevin Cross, of Fort Collins, and Jan Rose, of Wheat Ridge, represent Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate.

Colorado Candidate Questionnaire on Climate and Clean Energy

Updated on August 30, 2022

The CCLC recently invited all Colorado Gubernatorial and General Assembly candidates who will be competing in the general election this November to either respond or update their responses to our questionnaire on climate protection and clean energy. A total of 54 candidates who will be on the ballot in November have responded. We’ve posted the results, and hope they will be helpful as people make up their minds who to support in the general election.

Click here to view and download a PDF file containing candidate responses. You will probably need to “zoom in” to make the responses legible. Click here for a link that will download an Excel version of the same file to your device. A link to find your Colorado House and Senate District is provided at the top of each file. 

Public Utilities Commission Filing Urging Immediate Closure of the Pueblo Unit 3 Coal Plant

Posted on May 8th, 2022

The Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate has filed comments with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission urging the commissioners to close the Pueblo Unit 3 (“Comanche 3”) coal plant now, rather than waiting until 2031 to do so. Instead, Xcel and its ratepayers should stop wasting time and money on this mistake and start investing our time and money in resources, both demand side and supply side that will help build a truly reliable, low-carbon electrical system for Xcel’s Colorado customers.

View the filing here:

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