WildEarth Guardians news release for September 10th, 2020
Denver–Today, Colorado Governor Jared Polis moved a court to rule that he has no duty to protect the climate, arguing he is not legally required to achieve legislated greenhouse gas reduction goals in the state.
“With this court filing, Governor Jared Polis has sadly made clear that he has no intention of doing anything meaningful to confront the climate crisis,” said Jeremy Nichols, Climate and Energy Program Director for WildEarth Guardians. “This is a huge letdown for the kids, families, communities, and constituents who hoped that Jared Polis would put their health and welfare first and actually take genuine action to confront the climate crisis.”
In a motion to dismiss himself from a WildEarth Guardians’ lawsuit over the failure of his administration to meet legally required emission reduction deadlines, the Governor argued he has no responsibility to reduce greenhouse gases or meet any climate goals in Colorado.
At issue is the failure of the Polis administration to meet a legal deadline to propose new regulations to achieve a 26% reduction in statewide emissions by 2025, a 50% reduction by 2030, and a 90% reduction by 2050. The failure to ensure greenhouse gas reductions isn’t just jeopardizing the state’s climate progress, it’s putting disproportionately impacted communities at risk.
Under Colorado Senate Bill 19-096, the administration was required to propose regulations to reduce emissions by July 1, 2020. After July 1, 2020 passed with no proposed regulations, WildEarth Guardians filed suit to compel action.
In response to WildEarth Guardians’ lawsuit, Jared Polis argued that the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission, not the Governor, is responsible for reducing greenhouse gases. However, the Air Quality Control Commission is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Governor.
“Governor Polis is essentially blaming the housekeeper for the fact that his own house is dirty,” said Nichols. “Unfortunately, rather than lead, he’s dodging and asserting that others are responsible for Colorado’s lack of climate progress and climate justice.”
“With the climate crisis fueling drought, wildfires, and extreme temperatures in Colorado, it’s disappointing that Governor Polis feels that confronting the climate crisis is not his job,” added Nichols.