Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate

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

Hope for Larimer County Air

Published in the Denver Post on April 17th, 2024

As a representative of the Larimer Alliance for Health, Safety, and Environment, I wholeheartedly support House Bill 1330, which aims to address our dire air quality issues in Larimer County. With an “F” grade in ozone from the American Lung Association, we are in crisis. Science, including findings from the Front Range Air Pollution and Photochemistry Experiment, has shown that emissions from oil and gas facilities are a primary culprit of our unhealthy air, particularly when combined with regional airflow patterns that transport pollution into our county.

HB 1330 is a beacon of hope for not just Larimer County but all of Colorado. It promises a shift towards honest emission assessments, acknowledging the significant cumulative impacts of so-called minor sources. By requiring new emissions to be offset, it introduces a practical approach to reducing pollution and, crucially, offers better protection for communities directly impacted by air pollution.

The oil and gas industry must prioritize the health of our environment and communities over lobbyists and advertising. Supporting HB 1330 is supporting the health and well-being of every resident in Colorado.

Doug Henderson, Larimer County

We are Running out of Road on Transition to Green Energy

Published in the Daily Camera on April 10th, 2024

Despite the Camera’s endorsement, Colorado lawmakers rejected a bill (SB 159) that would have gone after orphan and abandoned oil and gas wells and begun the transition away from petroleum extraction. In doing so, our legislators kicked the can down the road. The problem is: we are running out of road.

We have already experienced loss and damage to what we love about Colorado. And the continued burning of fossil fuels will only give us more of the same: toxic air pollution, droughts, wildfires like the Marshall Fire, shortened ski seasons, beetle-killed forests, overheated trout streams, etc. We don’t want that for ourselves, and certainly not for our children. And it’s not good for our economic future.

Fortunately, cleaner, safer, healthier, more abundant energy alternatives are available from wind and solar. There is, of course, work to be done in navigating the energy transition and incorporating new technologies into our economy while honoring and supporting the fossil fuel veterans who have fueled our economy for so long. This work takes time. So we should be moving now, with dispatch.

I commend the legislators who introduced and supported this bill. I am dismayed by the oil and gas industry’s radical pro-pollution agenda in the face of the clear evidence of harm from ongoing production. It’s time for an upgrade. Together we need to develop a glide path from dirty and expensive to clean, abundant and socially just. 

Later is too late.

Chris Hoffman, Boulder

Action Alert: Brave Sponsors of the Oil and Gas Phase Out and Clean-Up Bill Need to Feel the Love!

Senator Jaquez Lewis and Senator Priola need to be buoyed up after SB 159 (the Oil and Gas Phase Out and Clean Up Bill) was voted down in committee on March 28th. They are taking a lot of heat from this, both from constituents and colleagues who were against the bill. One Senator said during the hearing that sponsoring this bill was a career-ending move and other committee members tried to paint them as ignorant and foolish. They are getting harshly critical messages for running this bill from some of their constituents.

Now is the time to thank them. They are truly heroes for running this bill. It’s sad that it takes so much political courage to propose science-based policies to protect people and planet but that’s where we are. We need to show them again what strong public support there is for this bill. We need to outnumber the industry voices again. We need to have their back because they had ours, and we need to ensure other legislators won’t be scared off from running bold bills.

We outnumbered industry in the hearing and now we need to outnumber them in the post-hearing feedback. We can turn this setback into a future success, but only if legislators know there is massive support for it.

Please write to them and thank them, especially if you are their constituent, but even if you are not. Senator Sonya Jaquez Lewis, District 17 (Boulder, Broomfield, Weld, email sonya.jaquez.lewis.senate@coleg.gov), and Senator Kevin Priola, District 13 (Adams, Weld, email kevin.priola.senate@coleg.gov). Tell them you support the bill and appreciate their leadership in running it.

Thanks for supporting strong climate legislation!

Action Alert: Testify for the Oil and Gas Phase Out and Clean Up Bill!

This bill is being heard on Thursday, March 28th at 1:30 p.m. in its crucial first committee hearing, where it will either be killed or get sent to be debated by the whole Senate. RSVP here to receive support and updates. Register for zoom or in person testimony here, and/or submit written comment through this link, following these instructions:

1. Choose in-person, zoom or written (tip – if you want to do both, submit written testimony and log in again to sign up for oral comment by zoom or in-person)
2. Select “By Committee and Hearing Item”
3. Select Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources
4. Select 3/28 1:30 pm
5. Select SB24-159 Mod to Energy & Carbon Management Processes
6. Fill out this form, indicating you are commenting on behalf of yourself – or if you are a designated representative of a business or organization, you can indicate that. If you select written, you will be able to type your comment in or upload a file.

Action Alert: Provide Comments to the Colorado State Board of Land Commissioners on Coal Mine Royalty Rate Reduction and Proposed Oil and Gas Leasing

At State Land Board’s March 13 meeting, the Board will consider two fossil fuel-related resolutions, both of which should be opposed. See https://drive.google.com/file/d/1wLDK6gQleOgUA2upUZzTCWqgTGTZ9ezw/view

At Tab 8 (PDF 164), the Board will consider a resolution to auction 5000+ acres for oil and gas. Four of the leases are in the Denver/Weld non-attainment area. CPW includes numerous recommendations for NSO for certain parts of the parcels, given the presence of important habitat for numerous species (pronghorn, burrowing owls, prairie chickens). See PDF 175-180.

In addition, the proposal at Tab 10 (PDF 192) states: In April 2019, the Board approved a 5-year reduction of the royalty rate on surface coal mining Lease SM-102407 held by Trapper Mining Inc (Trapper Mining) from 12.5% to 8%. The royalty reduction aligned the Board’s lease royalty rate with the royalty rate for surface coal mining on nearby federal lands. Staff is recommending that the Board extend the reduced royalty rate for an additional 5-years.

See the following letter – signed on to by the CCLC – for language if you want to provide comments.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ffck0ntO3CDvRViK7gmHVzAp0_MoYKop.

Comments should be provided using this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdHLoANsTkJyomSRsPJm5aNH5EA-2sA8h7RlM8Df_ESURzjSQ/viewform.

Tell Colorado Legislators to Support a Bill to Phase out New Permits for Oil and Gas!

Show our legislators there is a groundswell of support for this bill – requiring phase out of new permits for oil and gas and ensuring operators — not taxpayers — pay for cleanup. To help, please call and write your legislators and attend townhalls. Everything you need to know including talking points are here in the Phase Out & Clean Up Toolkit, linked here.

Contact Heidi Leathwood or Kate Merlin for more information. To receive updates about townhalls, contact Bobbie Moonie.

Pueblo Innovative Energy Solutions Advisory Committee Conclusions are Delusions

Published in the Pueblo Chieftain on January 14th, 2024

The Xcel Energy-established Pueblo Innovative Energy Solutions Advisory Committee (PIESAC) recently released their proposed recommendations for energy generation in Pueblo. Most committee members have no expertise in the electric utility field. They recommend building a nuclear or natural gas plant with carbon capture. The main requirement was to generate a significant tax base and jobs. Neither of these projects is likely to be approved by the Colorado Public Utility Commission (PUC).

The City of Pueblo’s Energy Advisory Commission’s charter is based on a 2017 resolution to make the city’s energy generation 100% renewable by 2035. This commission is all volunteer. I am currently the chairman.

Our commission studied the advanced nuclear small modular reactors (SMR) proposed by PIESAC. As part of this study, we met in 2022 with the director of Idaho’s National Labs in charge of SMR development. She concluded that SMR technology would not be production-worthy until around 2040.

Nuclear energy generation is one of the most expensive ways to generate power. Current nuclear generation has a history of failure because of long delays and cost overruns. Their track record could be better, as most projects never make it to production. Next-generation SMR technology was presented as a solution. It is experimental and expensive. Today, SMR projects are being canceled, and companies involved are having significant layoffs in this field. A commercial SMR has yet to be built. I don’t think Pueblo needs to construct an experimental SMR that would likely be shut down. This is all driven by the poor economics of the technology.

Apart from high costs, there are many other health and safety issues with nuclear fission generators. The biggest is dealing with nuclear materials and spent fuel. There are no long-term storage options for spent nuclear fuel. They stay on site and will require attention for thousands of years. If Pueblo has a nuclear reactor, we will become a nuclear waste site. Other facilities could use Pueblo to store their spent fuel.

The other option endorsed by the PIESAC team was building a combined cycle gas turbine generator (CCGT) with carbon capture. The problem is carbon capture is experimental, expensive, and not 100% effective. You would still have pollution. If built, it would likely become another stranded asset, creating another property tax dilemma for Pueblo.

Xcel Energy is an investor-owned utility (IOU), a for-profit utility regulated by the PUC. They make money for their shareholders by building infrastructure. SMR or CCGT investments would provide them with massive profits. Most of the costs and risks are passed to their customers and local government. Pueblo residents do not use the electric energy made by Xcel. It goes to the Denver area. If they fail or become stranded assets, their customers and our local agencies suffer the most. An example is the Comanche coal generator plant, closing decades earlier than planned. Xcel electric customers are paying the price. Fortunately, the PUC forced Xcel to make up lost tax revenue through 2040 for Pueblo. If they can replace these stranded assets with an SMR or CCGT, their tax burden to Pueblo from the coal plant closure goes away, too.

PIESAC dismissed renewables and storage technologies because they don’t generate massive property taxes and jobs. But solar and batteries work now, providing the lowest-cost electric power. Solar farms with batteries are being built in Pueblo. There is land available to create many more. The taxes and jobs could be substantial if you build many of these facilities in Pueblo. This is the way of the future. And the technology and economics are already proven. We can also add these systems inside our distribution system, lowering Pueblo’s electric costs and improving resilience. By the time 2040 rolls around, renewable energy will make up the vast majority of our energy generation.

Pueblo could become a renewable center for the USA. Let’s build on successes like CS Wind, providing thousands of good jobs. We must get other companies involved in these renewable industries to build their plants in Pueblo. This would help Pueblo to diversify its industries, jobs, and tax base. Jobs that can keep Puebloans and future generations working and living in Pueblo.

While there are no free rides, the Pueblo community’s future health and general welfare will be best served by embracing the cleanest, most cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and readily available renewable energy sources. These are solar and wind, backed up by several storage methods, which include batteries.

Ken Danti is a retired engineer living in Pueblo. He is focused on Pueblo’s energy future as a volunteer. Ken is the current chairman of the City of Pueblo Energy Advisory Commission. He is the volunteer President of Renewable Energy Owners Coalition of America, a local non-profit. He has no financial stake in these matters.

2024 Climate / Energy / Environmental Legislation

Week 15 Ending April 19, 2024

670 Bills Introduced

⭐️= CCLC Legislation Committee Championed

Click on the bill number to access more details

HB24-1304 | Minimum Parking Requirements | Concerning parking requirements within metropolitan planning organizations. | Sponsors: | Summary: The bill prohibits a county or municipality, on or after January 1, 2025 June 30, 2025 , from enforcing minimum parking requirements for real property that is within a metropolitan planning organization. This prohibition does not prohibit a county or municipality from: Lowering the protections provided for persons with disabilities; Preventing a county or municipality from enacting or enforcing a maximum parking requirement; or Enforcing any agreement made in connection with a land use approval to provide regulated affordable housing in exchange for reducing minimum parking requirements; Being awarded funding for affordable housing that requires a ratio of a certain number of parking spaces; Preventing a county or municipality from enacting or enforcing a minimum parking requirement for bicycles; or The bill also allows a municipality or county, on or after January 1, 2025 December 31, 2025 , to impose the following requirements on a motor vehicle parking space that is voluntarily provided in connection with a development project that the owners of such a motor vehicle parking space charge for the use of the space; That the owner of such a parking space contribute to a parking enterprise, permitting system, or shared parking plan; and That such a parking space allow for electric vehicle charging stations in accordance with existing law.

HB24-1447 | Transit Reform | Concerning transit reform, and, in connection therewith, modifying the duties and composition of the board of directors of the regional transportation district, requiring the department of transportation to implement a bus driver training program, requiring transit providers to coordinate with metropolitan planning organizations on certain matters, and modifying the allowable use of money transferred to the department of transportation in connection with the redevelopment of the Burnham Yard rail property.

HB24-1449 | Environmental Sustainability Circular Economy | Concerning measures to improve sustainability services through the department of public health and environment, and, in connection therewith, updating the “Pollution Prevention Act of 1992”. | Sponsors: Reps Joseph/Lindsay, Sens Cutter/Priola || Summary: Section 1 of the bill replaces the Pollution Prevention Advisory Board, the Recycling Resources, Economic Opportunity Program, and the Front Range Waste Diversion Enterprise and with the Colorado Circular Communities Enterprise and the Statewide Voluntary Sustainability Program. Under current law, user fees are imposed on operators of attended solid waste disposal sites (operators) to finance the recycling resources economic opportunity program and the front range waste diversion enterprise. Section 2 applies those fees to the enterprise, requiring operators of sites located outside of the front range to pay a fee of either 2 or 4 cents per load transported for disposal and requiring operators of sites located in the front range, between July 1, 2024, and December 31, 2024, to pay a fee of 74 cents per cubic yard per load transported for disposal and, on and after January 1, 2025, to pay a fee of 78 cents per cubic yard per load transported for disposal.

SB24-207 | Access to Distributed Generation | Concerning access to distributed energy, and, in connection therewith, establishing requirements for the development of inclusive community solar capacity that investor-owned electric utilities must make available to utility customers and requiring the acquisition of distributed generation facilities paired with energy storage. | Sponsors: | Summary: Before February 1, 2027, Xcel and Black Hills must make an additional 50 megawatts of inclusive community solar capacity available, plus any unclaimed capacity left over from the previous allocation cycle, and all other utilities must make an additional 4 megawatts of inclusive community solar available. Must also reserve at least 51% of its capacity for income-qualified subscribers; Not allocate more than 40% of the new facility’s capacity to a single subscriber; and Supply to a subscriber of the new facility no more than 120% of the expected average annual total consumption of electricity by the subscriber. Avoid discrimination by prohibiting use of credit scores or utility deposits, sign up/termination fees or transfers from qualifying. Also provides low-income customers at least 25% of the value of the community solar bill credit; 30% of the value of the community solar bill credit if the new facility receives federal tax credits from the federal “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” for the specific purpose of being located in an energy community; and 50% of the value of the community solar bill credit if the new facility receives federal tax credits from the federal “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” specifically for providing income-qualified households with utility bill assistance. Xcel/Black Hills must acquire 50 megawatts of distributed generation paired with energy storage by June 1, 2026, and an additional 50 megawatts of distributed generation paired with energy storage between January 1, 2027, and June 1, 2027.

SB24-208 | Colorado Department of Labor and Employment Regulate Electricity for Electric Vehicles | Concerning standardization of electric vehicle charging stations, and, in connection therewith, establishing the electric vehicle enterprise and the electric vehicle enterprise special revenue fund. | Sponsors: | Summary: The bill creates the electric vehicle enterprise in the department of labor and employment. The bill authorizes the enterprise to impose and collect a fee beginning July 1, 2025, to be paid by each electric vehicle charging station retailer based on the total number of retail electric vehicle charging stations operated by the retailer and the total number of power supply devices used at such stations. The bill requires the enterprise, in consultation with the Colorado energy office to establish minimum standards related to specifications and tolerances for retail electric vehicle charging equipment

BILL STATUS REPORT

Do you see a bill you feel some kind of way about?Email your legislator! Better yet, testify!

  • HB24-1006 | Assist Rural Community Wildfire-Related Grant App | Passed hearing amended, onto Approps (aka “The Parking Lot”)
  • HB24-1024 | Extend Outreach Campaigns Wildfire Risk Mitigation | Passed Ag, onto Appropriations
  • HB24-1030 | Railroad Safety Requirements | SUPPORT | Passed House, awaiting Senate T&E final vote after testimony and amendments.
  • HB24-1173 | Electric Vehicle Charging System Permits | On House Floor
  • HB24-1178 | Local Government Authority to Regulate Pesticides | On House Floor
  • HB24-1249 | Tax Credit Agricultural Stewardship Practices | Passed Hearing, Passed Finance, onto Approps
  • HB24-1304 | Minimum Parking Requirements | Passed House, onto Senate Housing
  • ⭐️ HB24-1307 | HVAC Improvements for Public Schools | Passed Hearing Amended, onto Approps
  • HB24-1313 | Housing in Transit-Oriented Communities | SUPPORT | Passed House, onto Senate
  • HB24-1330 | Air Quality Permitting | SUPPORT | Passed Hearing Amended, onto Approps, decimated by Polis
  • HB24-1338 | Cumulative Impacts & Environmental Justice | Passed Hearing Amended, onto Approps. 04/19
  • HB24-1339 | Disproportionately Impact Community Air Pollution | SUPPORT | Passed Hearing Amended, onto Approps
  • HB24-1346 | Energy & Carbon Management Regulation | OPPOSE | Passed House, onto Senate
  • HB24-1352 | Appliance Requirements & Incentives | SUPPORT |  Passed Hearing Amended, onto Approps
  • HB24-1357 | Pipeline Safety | SUPPORT | Passed Hearing Amended, onto Finance
  • HB24-1362 | Measures to Incentivize Graywater Use | Passed House, on Senate Floor
  • HB24-1366 | Sustainable Local Government Community Planning | SUPPORT | Passed Hearing, onto Approps
  • HB24-1370 | Reduce Cost of Use of Natural Gas | SUPPORT | Passed Amended, onto Approps
  • HB24-1379 | Regulate Dredge & Fill Activities in State Waters | Passed Hearing Amended, onto Approps
  • HB24-1447 | Transit Reform | Awaiting Action Only in House Transp
  • HB24-1449 | Environmental Sustainability Circular Economy | Passed Committee Amended, onto Finance
  • SB24-009 | Local Government Disaster-Related Programs | Passed Ag Amended, onto Approps.
  • SB24-014 | Seal of Climate Literacy Diploma Endorsement | Passed Senate, On House Floor
  • SB24-028 | Study Biochar in Wildfire Mitigation Efforts | Passed Ag Amended, onto Approps.
  • SB24-032 | Methods to Increase the Use of Transit | Passed Amended, Passed Finance, onto Approps 04/19
  • SB24-037 | Study Green Infrastructure for Water Quality Mgmt | Passed Senate, onto House Ag.
  • SB24-150 | Processing of Municipal Solid Waste | Passed Senate, Passed House E&E Amended, onto Finance
  • SB24-152 | Regenerative Agriculture Tax Credit | SUPPORT | Passed Senate, onto House Ag
  • SB24-165 | ⭐️ Air Quality Improvements | Passed Hearing Amended, onto Finance, decimated by Polis
  • SB24-166 | ⭐️ Air Quality Enforcement | Passed Hearing Amended, onto Finance, decimated by Polis
  • SB24-184 | Support Surface Transportation Infrastructure Development | Passed Senate, onto House Transp
  • SB24-185 | Protections Mineral Interest Owners Forced Pooling | Passed Senate, onto House Ag
  • SB24-190 | Rail & Coal Transition Community Economic Measures | Passed Senate, onto House
  • SB24-195 | Protect Vulnerable Road Users | Passed Amended, on Senate Floor
  • SB24-207 | Access to Distributed Generation | Hearing Senate T&E 04/22 
  • SB24-208 | Colorado Department of Labor and Employment Regulate Electricity for Electric Vehicles | Hearing Senate Finance 04/23

FINAL DISPOSITION OF BILLS

  • HB24-1012 | Front Range Passenger Rail District Efficiency | PASSED!
  • HB24-1246 | Electric Grid Resilience Temporary Carbon Dioxide Regulation | OPPOSE | FAILED! (Postponed Indefinitely AKA PI’d.  See ya next session!)
  • HB24-1341 | State Vehicle Idling Standard | PASSED!
  • ⭐️ HB24-1359 | Public Notification of Hazardous Chemical Releases | SUPPORT | Will die in Approps without a hearing, will not be back under Polis
  • ⭐️ HB24-1367 | Repeal Sev Tax Exemption for Stripper Wells | SUPPORT | Will die without a hearing in Approps, will not be back.
  • SB24-005 | Prohibit Landscaping Practices for Water Conservation | SUPPORT | PASSED!
  • SB24-036 | Vulnerable Road User Protection Enterprise | SUPPORT |FAILED!
  • SB24-038 | Authorize Conservancy District Water Management | FAILED!
  • SB24-039 | Nuclear Energy as a Clean Energy Resource | OPPOSE | FAILED!
  • SB24-085 | Sales & Use Tax Rebate for Digital Asset Purchases | SUPPORT | Will die quietly without ever having a hearing
  • SB24-095 | Air Quality Ozone Levels | Will die without ever getting a hearing
  • SB24-127 | Regulate Dredged & Fill Material State Waters | OPPOSE | Passed Hearing Amended, will die in Finance
  • SB24-148 | Precipitation Harvesting Storm Water Detention | PASSED!
  • SB24-081 | Perfluoroalkyl & Polyfluoroalkyl Chemicals | PASSED!
  • SB24-092 | Cost Effective Energy Codes | PI’D
  • ⭐️ SB24-159 | Mod to Energy & Carbon Management Processes  aka “Phase Out and Clean Up” | SUPPORT | FAILED! See ya next session!

HEARING SCHEDULE

To testify on a bill, in person or remotely, or offer written testimony to the committee, click here!

Agriculture | Mon April 22, 1:30 pm | HCR 0107

HEARING ITEM
SPONSORS
HB24-1458Create Division of Animal Welfare in Department of AgricultureRep. M. Duran, Rep. R. Armagost, Sen. R. Zenzinger, Sen. D. Roberts
SB24-197Water Conservation MeasuresSen. D. Roberts, Sen. P. Will, Rep. J. McCluskie, Rep. M. Catlin
SB24-171Restoration of WolverinesSen. P. Will, Sen. D. Roberts, Rep. B. McLachlan, Rep. T. Mauro
SB24-185Protections Mineral Interest Owners Forced PoolingSen. S. Fenberg, Rep. J. Amabile
SB24-126Conservation Easement Income Tax CreditSen. P. Will, Sen. F. Winter, Rep. M. Lukens, Rep. M. Lynch
SB24-037Study Green Infrastructure for Water Quality ManagementSen. C. Simpson, Sen. J. Bridges, Rep. M. Lynch, Rep. K. McCormick
SB24-152Regenerative Agriculture Tax CreditSen. C. Simpson, Sen. D. Roberts, Rep. K. McCormick

Transp & Energy | Mon April 22, 1:30 pm | SCR 352

HEARING ITEM
SPONSORS
Aeronautical Board — Colorado : Szabo, Van Tine, Lee
SB24-207Access to Distributed GenerationSen. S. Fenberg, Sen. C. Hansen, Rep. M. Soper, Rep. A. Valdez
HB24-1030Railroad Safety Requirements (FOR ACTION ONLY)Rep. J. Mabrey, Rep. T. Mauro, Sen. L. Cutter, Sen. T. Exum

Local Gov & Housing | Tue April 23, 2:00 pm | SCR 352

HEARING ITEM
SPONSORS
HB24-1294Mobile Homes in Mobile Home ParksRep. A. Boesenecker, Rep. E. Velasco, Sen. L. Cutter
HB24-1337Real Property Owner Unit Association CollectionsRep. I. Jodeh, Rep. J. Bacon, Sen. J. Coleman
HB24-1313Housing in Transit-Oriented CommunitiesRep. S. Woodrow, Rep. I. Jodeh, Sen. C. Hansen, Sen. F. Winter
HB24-1152Accessory Dwelling UnitsRep. J. Amabile, Rep. R. Weinberg, Sen. K. Mullica, Sen. T. Exum

Transportation | Tue April 23, 1:30 pm | LSB A

HEARING ITEM
SPONSORS
SB24-179Floodplain Management ProgramSen. C. Simpson, Sen. N. Hinrichsen, Rep. M. Catlin, Rep. T. Story
SB24-183Mobile Home Taxation Task ForceSen. C. Simpson, Sen. S. Jaquez Lewis, Rep. M. Martinez, Rep. E. Velasco
SB24-184Support Surface Transportation Infrastructure DevelopmentSen. S. Fenberg, Sen. J. Marchman, Rep. J. McCluskie, Rep. A. Boesenecker

Local Gov & Housing | Thu April 25, Upon Adjournment | SCR 352

HEARING ITEM
SPONSORS
HB24-1304Minimum Parking RequirementsRep. S. Vigil, Rep. S. Woodrow, Sen. K. Priola, Sen. N. Hinrichsen
HB24-1175Local Goverments Rights to Property for Affordable HousingRep. A. Boesenecker, Rep. E. Sirota, Sen. F. Winter, Sen. S. Jaquez Lewis
SB24-154Accessory Dwelling UnitsSen. S. Jaquez Lewis

Week 13 Ending April 5, 2024

639 Bills Introduced

SB24-190 | Rail & Coal Transition Community Economic Measures | Concerning economic measures related to coal transition communities, and, in connection therewith, creating an income tax credit for qualified costs incurred in the use of certain freight rail lines; creating an income tax credit for qualified costs incurred in the maintenance, operation, and improvement of certain rail lines; expanding the rural opportunity office’s duties in relation to coal transition communities; allowing coal transition communities to qualify as enterprise zones and enhanced rural enterprise zones; restricting the length of contracts that allow use of the Moffat tunnel; and restricting the ability to purchase real property interests of the Moffat tunnel improvement district. | Sponsors: Sen Roberts, Reps Lukens/McCluskie | Summary: Pursue opportunities for new, early state, and existing businesses and support business and industry development and economic diversification in coordination with workforce training opportunities and existing state and federal programs that are designed for coal transition communities. Creates 2 income tax credits.The first income tax credit created in section 5 is a fully refundable income tax credit (freight tax credit)  of $5 million 1/1/25-36 the the office may issue the taxpayer a tax credit certificate in an amount equal to 75% of the relevant costs both stated in the taxpayer’s tax credit application and incurred by the taxpayer. The second income tax credit created in section 5 is also a fully refundable income tax credit, which incentivizes railroad operators to maintain rail line access to coal transition communities.

SB24-195 | Protect Vulnerable Road Users | Concerning protection of vulnerable road users. | Sponsors: Sens Winter/Cutter, Reps Lindsay/Lindstedt | Summary: Section 1 of the bill amends the statute that governs the use of automated vehicle identification systems (AVIS) on roadways  and authorizes CDOT, in consultation with the CSP, to promulgate rules, including rules governing the process by which use of AVIS is approved or disapproved, rules governing the AVIS enforcement process, and rules setting the amount of civil penalties, including increased civil penalties for traffic violations detected by AVIS that occur in work zones or school zones, for traffic violation detected by AVIS used by the state. Requires civil penalties collected by the state for traffic violations detected by AVIS, net of court and operations costs, to be credited to the state highway fund and used only to fund road safety projects that protect vulnerable road users. Section 2 requires CDOT to establish and include declining annual targets for vulnerable road user fatalities and requires accounting for eligible critical safety-related asset management surface transportation infrastructure projects and as determined by the transportation commission, to expend a specified minimum amount of the money credited to the state highway fund from the road safety surcharge and certain other fees, fines, and surcharges that are imposed on motor vehicle registrations and dedicated for certain types of road safety projects that protect vulnerable road users.

Week 12 Ending March 29, 202

620 Bills Introduced

NO NEW BILLS!

Week 11 Ending March 22, 2024

569 Bills Introduced

HB24-1379 | Regulate Dredge & Fill Activities in State Waters | Concerning the regulation of state waters in response to recent federal court action. | Sponsors: Reps McCluskie/McCormick, Sen Roberts | Summary:  The bill requires the water quality control commission (WQCD) in the CDPHE to promulgate rules by May 31, 2025, as necessary to implement a state dredge and fill discharge authorization program. The rules must be at least as protective as the guidelines developed pursuant to section 404 (b)(1) of the federal “Clean Water Act”. The bill establishes duties for the division in administering the program, as follows: Compensatory mitigation is required in all individual authorizations and in general authorizations where unavoidable adverse impacts to wetlands will affect over one-tenth of an acre or, for streams, where unavoidable adverse impacts greater than the threshold established by the commission by rule will occur. Compensatory mitigation may be accomplished through the purchase of mitigation bank credits, an in-lieu fee program, or project-proponent-responsible mitigation. Until the rules become effective: The division’s Clean Water Policy 17, “Enforcement of Unpermitted Discharges of Dredged and Fill Material into State Waters”, continues to be effective; Temporary authorizations must include conditions necessary to protect the public health and the environment and to meet the intent of the bill. The bill clarifies that “state waters” includes wetlands.

SB24-184 | Support Surface Transportation Infrastructure Development | Concerning support for the development of surface transportation infrastructure, and, in connection therewith, providing funding and operational flexibility needed to support the development of transit and rail infrastructure. |Sponsors: Fenberg/Marchman, McCluskie/Boesenecker | Summary: The bill expands the Transportation Enterprise capacity to execute its charge and more explicitly prioritize mitigation of traffic congestion and traffic-related pollution through the completion of multimodal surface transportation infrastructure projects as follows: Authorizes the transportation enterprise to impose a congestion impact fee, as a new user fee, in maximum amounts of up to $3 per day on the short-term rental of a motor vehicle that is powered by an internal combustion engine and up to $2 per day for a motor vehicle that is a battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicle; Clarifies that providing diverse multimodal transportation options, including rail projects, that reduce traffic congestion and degradation of existing surface transportation infrastructure is part of the enterprise’s charge; Requires the transportation enterprise to develop a new multimodal strategic capital plan that aligns with the 10-year transportation plan of the Colorado department of transportation (CDOT) and statewide greenhouse gas pollution reduction goals and priorities, complies with specified environmental standards adopted by the transportation commission, and prioritizes benefits to user fee payers and the reduction of adverse impacts on highways; complete an initial assessment of opportunities to leverage federal money; Authorizes the regional transportation district (RTD) to extend construction and operations of its northwest rail fixed guideway corridor beyond its boundaries, including an extension of the corridor to Fort Collins as the first phase of front range passenger rail service in order to gain the opportunity to access federal intercity rail service money and requires CDOT/RTD to complete of construction and operation of the RTD’s northwest fixed guideway corridor, including an extension of the corridor to Fort Collins as the first phase of front range passenger rail service.

SB24-185 | Protections Mineral Interest Owners Forced Pooling | Concerning protections for unleased mineral interest owners in the pooling of mineral interests by the Colorado energy and carbon management commission. | Sponsors: Sen Fenberg, Rep Amabile | Summary: Under current law, allows the ECMC to enter an order pooling the mineral interests of those tracts (pooling order) for the development and operation of the unit if the applicant for the pooling order: Owns more than 45% of the mineral interests in the unit (requisite ownership); or Obtains the consent of the owners of more than 45% of the mineral interests in the unit. The bill changes current law by: Requiring that a pooling order application include an affidavit that declares that the applicant has the requisite ownership or obtained the requisite consent (declaration), which affidavit must include certain leasing and well information; Allowing an unleased mineral interest owner at least 60 days before the first noticed hearing date, to file a protest with the commission disputing the applicant’s declaration (protest); prohibiting an oil and gas operator from drilling of minerals not voluntarily pooled;  Prohibiting the commission from entering a pooling order that pools the mineral if the unleased owner is a local government that has rejected an offer to lease and the minerals subject to the unleased owner’s mineral interests are within the local government’s geographic boundaries (local government unleased interest)

Week 10 Ending March 15, 2024
556 Bills Introduced

⭐️= CCLC Legislation Committee Championed

Click on the bill number to access more details

HB24-1366 | Sustainable Local Government Community Planning | Concerning sustainable local government community planning. | Sponsors: Reps Froelich/Brown | Summary: Beginning 1/1/25, upon updating a county or municipal master plan, a county or municipality (local government) to include a climate action element in its master plan. A climate action element must include climate-related goals, plans, or strategies and a description of any money received for the implementation. Requires CDOT to coordinate with metropolitan planning organizations to establish criteria that define growth corridors and identify these growth corridors. Having identified these growth corridors, the department and metropolitan planning organizations shall coordinate with local governments to develop transportation demand management plans for these growth corridors. The bill requires the statewide transportation plan to include: The identification of highway segments where promotion of context-sensitive highway permitting and design can encourage the development of dense, walkable, and mixed-use neighborhoods in transit-oriented centers and neighborhood centers; and An emphasis on integrating planning efforts within CDOT to support multimodal transportation, neighborhood centers, and transit-oriented centers in infill areas as well as growth corridors through the associated transportation demand management corridor planning. Requires CDOT to conduct a study of state highways that pass through locally identified transit-oriented centers and neighborhood centers that are candidates for context-sensitive design, complete streets, and pedestrian-bicycle safety measures.

⭐️ HB24-1367 | Repeal Sev Tax Exemption for Stripper Wells | Concerning the repeal of the severance tax exemption for Oil and Gas wells that are stripper wells. | Sponsors: Rep Kipp, Sen Winter | Summary: Oil produced from wells that on average produce 15 barrels per day or less of oil and gas produced from wells that on average produce 90,000 cubic feet or less per day of gas are commonly referred to as stripper wells and are currently exempt from the state severance tax. Section 2 of the bill repeals the stripper well severance tax exemption beginning in 2025 and removes outdated language applicable only to taxable years prior to 2000.

That’s it! Every well pays its fair share of taxes, regardless of how much or how little it produces. Regardless of whether it’s an oil well, a gas well, or both. You drill in Colorado, you pay your taxes. Small businesses have to pay taxes, we have to pay taxes, everybody pays taxes.  Oil & Gas must pay taxes too.

HB24-1370 | Reduce Cost of Use of Natural Gas | Concerning measures to reduce the cost of use of natural gas infrastructure. | Sponsors: Reps Kipp/Willford | Summary: The bill requires the Colorado energy office to issue a request for information by December 1, 2024, to solicit interest from local governments that are served by a dual-fuel utility (utility) in becoming a gas planning priority community (community). A gas planning priority community is defined in the bill as a local government in which constituents have gas service provided by a dual-fuel utility that formally indicates an interest in working with the utility to mutually explore opportunities for neighborhood-scale alternatives projects. A neighborhood-scale alternatives project geographically targets decommissioning of a portion of the gas distribution system or avoids expanding the gas distribution system in order to serve new construction projects and provides substitute energy service to buildings within the project area that is cost-effective and reduces future greenhouse gas emissions required to serve buildings. The Colorado energy office and the utility must also file a draft agreement between the utility and a proposed community to identify and pursue a neighborhood-scale alternatives project. The commission must approve or modify the list of proposed communities by June 30, 2025. The bill requires the utility to work with an approved community to rank neighborhood-scale alternatives projects and, before June 1, 2026, to submit at least one neighborhood-scale alternatives project in each community to the commission for approval or an explanation of why no neighborhood-scale alternatives project will be pursued in a community. The commission must allow the utility to recover costs incurred from the implementation of a neighborhood-scale alternatives project.

Week 9 Ending March 8, 2024

544 Bills Introduced 

Click on the bill number to access more details

HB24-1357 | Pipeline Safety | Concerning measures to promote safety in the distribution of natural gas. | Sponsors: Reps Story/Brown, Sen Priola | Summary: The bill clarifies current law by requiring the commission’s mapping requirements for all pipelines within its jurisdiction to be available at a scale of 1 to 6,000 or greater. On or before December 31, 2024, the PUC must adopt rules that require: An owner or operator of a transmission line, a distribution system, or a gathering line (owner) to use advanced leak detection technology in accordance with certain requirements; An owner to repair grade 1 gas leaks immediately upon detection, grade 2 gas leaks no later than 60 days after detection, and grade 3 gas leaks no later than one year after detection; and That all pipeline road and railroad crossings are inspected with advanced leak detection technology on a monthly basis for damage caused from traffic. The bill also requires a section of pipeline that has not been used for 2 or more years to be removed or abandoned in place. The bill also requires the PUC to develop a user-friendly, public-facing website for pipeline safety data in the state. The website must include the location, date, and owner or operator for the following data: Reportable safety events; Violations; Compliance actions; Pipeline inspection data; and How to access the mapping of pipelines within the commission’s jurisdiction. Current law provides that any person that violates certain pipeline safety laws is subject to a penalty of up to $200,000 dollars per violation. The bill changes this maximum penalty to $500,000 per violation. The amount of the penalty must also be no less than $5,000 for each day of a violation and, in the event that the commission deems that the penalty is necessary for the protection of public health, safety, welfare, the environment, or wildlife resources, no less than $15,000 per day of a violation. Beginning in 2026, the commission is required to adjust the penalty amounts for inflation every 2 years. Except with respect to an owner or operator of a distribution system serving fewer than 1,000 customers in the state, the commission is prohibited from reducing a penalty based on the factors by more than 15% and the violator is required to conduct certain compliance actions before a reduction occurs.

⭐️ HB24-1359 | Public Notification of Hazardous Chemical Releases | Concerning measures to increase public knowledge of hazardous chemicals released through oil and gas operations. | Sponsors: Reps Hamrick/Velasco, Sens Cutter/Jazquez Lewis | Summary: Current rules of the energy and carbon management commission (ECMC) require oil and gas operators to submit spill & release reports to the commission in the event of a spill or release of a hazardous chemical. The bill enacts the “Community Right to Know Act” to create additional notification requirements in the event of an incident. On and after July 1, 2024, oil and gas operators must, within 24 hours after the discovery of an incident, submit a covered report to the ECMC. Within 24 hours after the receipt of a covered report from an oil and gas operator, a notification agency must: Confirm with the oil and gas operator that the oil and gas operator has provided the covered report to any affected persons; Provide the covered report to any affected persons that have not yet received a covered report from the oil and gas operator; Provide the covered report to the county public health department and the county emergency notification party. On and after July 1, 2025, no later than 24 hours after the receipt of a covered report for a certain heightened level of an incident (warning-level covered report) from a notification agency, if the county public health department has an existing opt-in notification system, the county public health department must notify medical professionals in the county that have opted in to the county public health department’s notification system about the incident. On and after July 1, 2025, no later than 24 hours after the receipt of a warning-level covered report from a notification agency, the county emergency notification party must: If the county has an existing opt-in public emergency notification system, notify all individuals residing in the county that have opted in; and If the county does not have an existing opt-in public emergency notification system but has an existing public emergency notification system, notify all individuals residing in the county. The bill also creates the hazardous chemical notification committee in DOLA. On or before July 1, 2025, the committee is required to develop content for a hazardous chemical notification website (website) that includes certain informational and educational content about hazardous chemicals, including short-term and long-term adverse health impacts, and an entry for each report received by the designated person on and after July 1, 2025.  On or before July 1, 2025, and each calendar year thereafter, county public health departments and county emergency notification parties are required to provide a training to medical professionals and the public on the short-term and long-term adverse health impacts of exposure to hazardous chemicals and the notification requirements (training requirement). The bill also: Creates a $1,000 per day penalty for an oil and gas operator that does not comply with the notification requirements (violation); and Provides that if an oil and gas operator commits a violation 3 or more times, the oil and gas operator may not claim a waiver of liability for damages related to the third or subsequent violation.

HB24-1362 | Measures to Incentivize Graywater Use | Concerning measures to promote the use of graywater. | Sponsors: Reps Lukens/Catlin, Sens Roberts/Simpson (Bi-Partisan) | Summary: The bill authorizes the installation of graywater treatment works and the use of graywater statewide; except that a local government: May adopt an ordinance or a resolution prohibiting the installation of graywater treatment works or the use of all graywater or categories of graywater use within its jurisdiction; and Shall notify the division of administration in the department of public health and environment of any such local ordinance or resolution adopted. To incentivize the installation of graywater treatment works within a residential building for indoor water reuse, the bill also creates a state income tax credit that allows a taxpayer to claim a credit up to 50% of the cost of such an installation or up to $5,000, whichever amount is less.

WEEK 8 ENDING FEBRUARY MARCH 1, 2024

523 Bills Introduced

Click on the bill number to access more details

HB24-1338 | Cumulative Impacts & Environmental Justice | Concerning measures to advance environmental justice by reducing cumulative impacts of air pollution. | Sponsors: Rutinel/Velasco, Sen Janet | Summary: Section 2 of the bill creates the office of environmental justice in the CDPHE and section 1 requires the office to oversee a process to develop at least 2 EECIAs(Environmental Equity and Cumulative Impact Analysis) for specific geographic locations in the state. Once an EECIA is developed, various state agencies will be able to rely on the EECIA in conducting cumulative impact analyses regarding potentially polluting activities. The office must choose as locations for the EECIAs communities that are disproportionately impacted communities, with priority given to communities that have a heightened potential for widespread human exposure to environmental contaminants. CDPHE must contract with an academic institution or other third party to develop an EECIA. In developing an EECIA, the applicable contractor must perform a scientifically rigorous analysis that includes most of the recommendations made by the EJ task force. Section 4 authorizes the elected officials of an LG (Local Government) to request that the air quality control commission (AQCC) impose limits on any new or increased operational emissions of certain health-related air pollutants that would affect individuals located in the LG. To obtain approval of such a request, the LG must demonstrate to the commission’s satisfaction that: The geographic region of the LG is cumulatively impacted by pollution; and An agency of the LG has a process to review exemption requests from the limits on any new or increased operational emissions. An approved request for limits expires after 5 years and the LG must renew its request to further continue the limits. The AQCC may rescind its approval of the limits if it determines that the LG is not complying with its own processes regarding the limits. CDPHE is required under section 5 to hire a petroleum refinery regulation expert to examine whether a specific petroleum refinery rule should be adopted by the commission and examine other regulatory or nonregulatory measures performed. Section 5 requires a petroleum refinery in the state to comply with certain monitoring requirements to provide real-time emissions monitoring data to the division (not to the public). Section 5 also requires the division to establish a rapid response inspection team to respond quickly to air quality complaints received. Once the team is established, the team is required to develop processes and best practices for quickly responding to such complaints and to engage in outreach to communities regarding events and conditions that lead to excess air pollution emissions in communities.

🚨HB24-1339 | Disproportionately Impact Community Air Pollution | Concerning measures to be taken by the air quality control commission to reduce air pollution in the state. Sponsors: Reps Weissman/Rutinel, Sen Winter | Summary: Under current law, the air quality control commission (AQCC) consists of 9 members. As of October 1, 2024, section 2 of the bill increases the membership of the commission to 11 members to include: One member who represents a disproportionately impacted community and the interests of communities of color and who does not derive income from an entity that the commission regulates; and One climate scientist employed by an organization that does not derive income from an entity that the commission regulates. Under current law, the commission is required to adopt rules regulating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the industrial and manufacturing sector (sector). Section 3 requires the commission to adopt rules, to be implemented by January 1, 2025, that:

  • Prohibit GHG emissions from the sector from increasing in the near term and require sector-wide emissions not to exceed 97 million metric tons of total carbon dioxide equivalent cumulatively between 2025 and 2030;
  • Prohibit a sector source from complying with GHG emissions compliance obligations by making a payment unless the payment is made in exchange for GHG credit that is surrendered as part of a GHG credit trading program; and
  • Establish source-specific GHG emission reduction requirements that must be met through direct reductions of GHG emissions for a sector source that adversely affects a disproportionately impacted community.

HB24-1341 | State Vehicle Idling Standard | Concerning the state idling standard, and, in connection therewith, authorizing a local government to enact a resolution or ordinance concerning idling that is at least as stringent as, but not less stringent than, the state standard. Sponsors: Reps Marvin/Willford | Summary: 

Current law imposes a uniform state idling standard on an owner or operator of a covered vehicle that prohibits the vehicle from idling for more than 5 minutes within any 60-minute period, except in certain situations. Current law also prohibits a local government from enacting a resolution or ordinance concerning the idling of a covered vehicle that is more stringent than the state idling standard.

The bill authorizes a local government to enact a resolution or ordinance concerning the idling of a covered vehicle that is at least as stringent as, but not less stringent than, the state idling standard.

🚨HB24-1346 | Energy & Carbon Management Regulation | Concerning energy and carbon management regulation in Colorado, and, in connection therewith, broadening the ECMC’s regulatory authority to include direct air capture (DAC) and geologic storage operations. Sponsors: Reps Titone/McCormick, Sens Hansen/Priola | Summary:  The commission may: Impose any regulatory responsibility or financial assurance obligation on a CCS operator if the operator makes a material misrepresentation or omission that causes the commission to approve a site closure; and Assess and collect regulatory and permitting fees from geologic storage operators. The bill also allows the commission to hire and designate employees of the ECMC as administrative law judges (so not under the authority of the Attorney General!) who have the authority to administer proceedings on behalf of the commission. The bill changes this statute of limitations to 3 years (from 1 year) after the discovery of the alleged violation and provides that the 3-year statute of limitations period does not apply if information is knowingly or willfully concealed by the alleged violator. The bill also expands the following energy and carbon management law areas to include geologic storage operations and direct air capture facilities: Enforcement and civil penalty procedures; Use of the ECMC cash fund by the commission; Mitigation of adverse environmental impacts by the commission or an operator; and State agency and local government authority over oil and gas development. The ECMC is required to adopt rules related to the permitting and regulation of direct air capture facilities. When reviewing an application for a direct air capture facility, the commission must consider whether a setback of the DAC facility from certain areas is necessary and reasonable to protect and minimize adverse impacts. The bill also establishes that: Ownership of pore space necessary for geologic storage (air pockets in the dirt) is vested in the owner of the overlying surface estate; The order to pool pore space for CCS must include terms and conditions that are just and reasonable and establish a plan for operations of the geologic storage unit (plan). An order is effective only if the plan has been approved by those persons that collectively own at least 75% of the pore space. The bill also allows a local government to request that the director of the commission appoint a technical review board to assist a local government in analyzing and answering any technical questions regarding the local government’s land use regulations. The bill also requires the CDPHE to develop CO2 accounting procedures for CCS and DAC. The ECMC and the CDPHE must also work collaboratively to address air emissions from direct air capture facilities and geologic storage operations.

🚨HB24-1352 | Appliance Requirements & Incentives | Concerning measures to increase access to affordable appliances for a healthy community. | Sponsors: Reps Froelich/Velasco, Sen Cutter | Summary: The bill prohibits the sale of certain air conditioners that are manufactured on or after January 1, 2027, unless the covered HVAC complies with certain technical standards. In 2029 and 2034, CDPHE must assess compliance with the technical standards. In the case of a third or subsequent violation of the standards, the attorney general may bring a civil action to seek a civil penalty of no more than $2,000 per ton of cooling and certain other remedial actions. By 1/1/26, semi-annually until 2034, the Colorado energy office (CEO) must conduct a study re households/housing providers installing a covered HVAC vs one that does not meet the technical standards. By 1/1/27 the CEO shall establish a program to offer certain financial incentives to certain income-qualified households and income-qualified housing providers to cover the average cost difference described in the energy office’s most recent study. 1/1/24-1/134 creates a refundable, assignable state income tax credit of $5K for certain cold-climate heat pumps or ground-source heat pumps. But the amount claimed may be increased based on certain criteria. A home builder or an HVAC contractor must provide certain verification information to the department of revenue to qualify for the tax credit. Requires the CEO to post information about the tax credit on their website.

On or before April 1, 2025, requires a public utility that provides electricity to submit to the public utilities commission a proposal for a specific voluntary rate or rates for electricity supplied to residential customers who utilize a heat pump as their primary heating source. On 1/1/25, new building construction project must include certain requirements in the state agency’s criteria for receiving state financial assistance.  This bill changes current law to require new residential windows, residential doors, and residential skylights to instead satisfy certain standards in the International Energy Conservation Code.

WEEK 7 ENDING FEBRUARY 23, 2024

⭐️= CCLC Legislation Committee Championed
🗣= You know you make me want to shout ACTION ALERT! Tell your friends and neighbors
Click on the bill number to access more details

HB24-1313 | Housing in Transit-Oriented Communities | Concerning measures to increase the affordability of housing in transit-oriented communities. | Sponsors: Reps Woodrow/Jodeh, Sens Hansen/Winter | Summary: (OK this bill has a super long summary so I’ma chop it down; click the bill thing for details.) Section 1 of the bill establishes a category of local government: A transit-oriented community. As defined in the bill, a transit-oriented community is entirely within a metropolitan planning organization, Has a population of 4,000 or more; and Contains at least 75 acres of certain transit-related areas; or If the local government is a county, contains either a a transit station area that is both in an unincorporated part of the county and within one-half mile of a station that serves a commuter rail service or light rail service; or A transit corridor area that both is in an unincorporated part of the county and is fully encompassed by one or more municipalities.

The bill requires a transit-oriented community to meet its housing opportunity goal. A housing opportunity goal is a zoning capacity goal determined based on housing density and the amount of transit-related areas. (See the bill for more details). A transit-oriented community is required to demonstrate that it has met is housing opportunity goal by submitting a housing opportunity goal report to the department of local affairs (see the bill yada yada). After receiving a transit-oriented community’s housing opportunity goal report, the department shall either approve the report or provide direction, or if the department does not approve a transit-oriented community’s housing opportunity goal report, the department will designate the transit-oriented community as a nonqualified transit-oriented community. (Oh, woe is me! But read on for why you want to go through all this bureaucracy—the carrots!) The state treasurer shall transfer any money that a nonqualified transit-oriented community would have otherwise been allocated from the highway users tax fund instead to the transit-oriented communities highway users tax account. (And some sticks…) If the department does not approve a transit-oriented community’s housing opportunity goal report on or before December 31, 2027, the department may seek an injunction requiring the transit-oriented community to comply with the requirements of the bill. The bill also creates a grant program to assist local governments in upgrading infrastructure within transit centers and neighborhood centers. The fund is continuously appropriated. On July 1, 2024, the state treasurer shall transfer $35 million from the general fund to the fund. (Sing the money song here.)

⭐️  HB24-1330 | Air Quality Permitting | Concerning modifications of processes to obtain permits for activities that impact air quality. | Sponsors: Reps Bacon/Willford, Sen Cutter | Section 1 of the bill clarifies that a request for general permit registration does not constitute having a valid construction permit. Strangely, frackers could proceed without one before! Section 1 also requires the CDPHE in evaluating a permit application for an emitting source (source) that includes an oil and gas system (oil and gas system), to:

  • Aggregate emissions from the oil and gas system; and (because now they can submit each emitting piece of a development as a separate air permit to avoid more stringent regulations)
  • Include emissions from exploration and preproduction activities. (Because these are THE HIGHEST EMITTING processes and they’re considered temporary so today THESE ENORMOUS EMISSIONS DO NOT COUNT.  Magic disappearing massive emissions!)

Section 2 requires that the division or the commission only grant permits for certain proposed sources in a nonattainment area if:

  • The division or commission determines that the proposed source WILL NOT CONTRIBUTE TO AN EXCEEDANCE of any applicable national ambient air quality standard (this is yuge);
  • The owner or operator of the proposed source achieves emissions reductions of each air pollutant for which the nonattainment area is in nonattainment that are equal to or greater than the anticipated emissions of the proposed source; and
  • The proposed source is not in a disproportionately impacted community. (BOOM there it is.)

On and after January 1, 2025, the division or commission must base any determination on the modeling of air quality impacts from emissions (air quality modeling).

If a permit is granted after air quality modeling is conducted:

  • Any assumption used in the air quality modeling must be included in the permit as a permit condition; and
  • Any averaging time utilized for a permit condition must be no greater than the averaging time for any applicable national ambient air quality standard.

Section 3 requires the energy and carbon management commission to require that an oil and gas operator obtain a (air emissions) permit before making a final determination on an oil and gas permit application. Read the Fact Sheet.

⭐️ SB24-165 | Air Quality Improvements | Concerning measures to reduce emissions of air pollutants that negatively impact air quality. | Sponsors: Sens Priola/Cutter, Reps Rutinel/Garcia | Summary: On or before December 31, 2028, the bill requires the air quality control commission (AQCC) to adopt by rule certain emission standards and requirements for in-use, off-road, diesel-fueled fleets (like bulldozers, fracking rigs and backhoes).

On or before December 31, 2025, the AQCC must adopt rules for controlling emissions from facilities, buildings, structures, installations, or real property that generates mobile source activity that results in emissions of air pollutants (indirect source) within the 8-hour ozone Denver metro/north front range nonattainment area. The rules must include emission reduction targets for indirect sources to achieve and a process for the CDPHE to review alternative approaches proposed by an owner or operator of an indirect source. The commission may establish a fee for indirect sources within the covered nonattainment area to cover the division’s costs in implementing the rules.

The bill also defines “ozone season” as the period beginning May 1 and ending September 30 of each year (ozone season). Beginning in the 2025 ozone season, and in each ozone season thereafter, any oil and gas preproduction activity within the covered nonattainment area must pause for the duration of the ozone season.

On or before June 30, 2024, and on or before each June 30 thereafter, an oil and gas operator in the state is required to submit an oil and natural gas annual emission inventory report (inventory report) to the division that includes, for the previous calendar year, the emissions of certain air pollutants from oil and gas operations under the control of the oil and gas operator.

On or before October 1, 2024, and on or before each October 1 thereafter, the division, in coordination with the energy and carbon management commission (ECMC), must prepare a report regarding the inventory reports received by the division for the previous calendar year and certain other information.

On or before November 30, 2024, and on or before each November 30 thereafter, for the ozone season of the subsequent year, an oil and gas operator that controls oil and gas operations in the covered nonattainment area must submit a report to the division estimating emissions of nitrogen oxides from the oil and gas operator’s operations in the covered nonattainment area (estimates).

For the 2025 ozone season, and for each ozone season thereafter, the ECMC, in consultation with the division, must develop an ozone season nitrogen oxides emission budget for the emissions of nitrogen oxides by oil and gas operations in the covered nonattainment area, which budget must set certain maximum average emission levels of nitrogen oxides by oil and gas operations.

On or before February 1, 2025, and on or before each February 1 thereafter, the division must prepare a nitrogen oxides report regarding the estimates received by the division for use by the ECMC in determining if the total estimates received exceed the budget for the ozone season of the current year.

Beginning in February 2025, and in each February thereafter, the ECMC, in consultation with the division, must act to limit emissions of nitrogen oxides from oil and gas operations in the covered nonattainment area in a manner that prevents an exceedance of the current year’s budget.

The bill also requires the department of transportation to establish vehicle miles traveled reduction targets for the covered nonattainment area and to develop policies and programs to assist applicable metropolitan planning organizations in meeting the targets. Read the Fact Sheet.

⭐️ SB24-166 | Air Quality Enforcement | Concerning measures to increase the enforcement of violations that impact the environment. | Sponsors: Sen Winter, Reps Froelich/Velasco | Summary: Section 1 of the bill defines a “repeat violator” as a person that, in a 3-year period, has committed 5 or more violations of certain air quality laws. Also defines a “high-priority repeat violator” as a repeat violator that, in a 3-year period, has committed 5 or more exceedances of the allowable emissions of an air pollutant in a permit (I’m looking at you, Suncor, with your 1,000 violations in the last five years, and you, Prospect Energy, with your permanent refusal to comply with emissions regulations, and a lot more of yous.) Section 2 requires the CDPHE in the case of a violation by a repeat violator, to issue an order of compliance (order) for the violation instead of issuing a warning letter. The order must assess civil penalties and, in the case of a high-priority repeat violator, must require the high-priority repeat violator to conduct and submit to the division a root cause analysis for the violation, which must be submitted to the division within 90 days after the order. In connection with an order and in the case of a high-priority repeat violator, the division must require a reduction in emissions of any air pollutant applicable to an emission exceedance from any emission unit where a violation occurred in accordance with certain standards. Section 2 also clarifies that the division may assess civil penalties for air quality violations without instituting an action in district court. Section 2 also allows a person, with respect to air quality laws, to commence a civil action  against an alleged violator. A person shall not commence an action until at least 60 days after a notice has been provided to the executive director of the department of public health and environment, the director of the division, and the alleged violator. Except for violations of an ongoing or recurring nature, any action that is not commenced within 5 years after the discovery of the alleged violation is time barred. Section 2 also requires the division, on or before February 1, 2025, and on or before each February 1 thereafter, to prepare and post on the division’s website an air quality enforcement report, (because they don’t do that now, sigh) which must contain certain air quality enforcement information from the previous calendar year. Section 3 requires that: In the case of a repeat violator, the division or a district court assess a civil penalty that is at least 50% of the maximum civil penalty applicable to the violation under applicable state air quality laws; and In the case of a violation by a repeat violator in a disproportionately impacted community, the division or a district court assess a civil penalty that is at least 75% of the maximum civil penalty applicable to the violation under applicable state air quality laws… Raises the maximum civil penalty to the amount provided by state air quality laws. Section 6 requires a district court, in a suit against a person that has violated a state law related to energy and carbon management, to award the initial complaining party any costs of litigation incurred by the initial complaining party if the court determines that the award is appropriate. Current law exempts damage awards from the state constitutional definition of “fiscal year spending”, which counts toward the state’s annual spending limit pursuant to state constitutional law. Section 7 (makes money awarded exempt from TABOR provisions.) Read the Fact Sheet.

WEEK 6 ENDING FEBRUARY 16, 2024

HB24-1246 | Electric Grid Resilience Temporary Carbon Dioxide Regulation aka “The Don’t Look Up Bill” | Concerning emissions emanating from (extraterrestrial) power sources, and, in connection therewith, addressing electric generation and distribution resilience and suspending the regulation of carbon dioxide as an air pollutant. | Sponsor: Rep DeGraaf | Summary: The bill requires the public utilities commission (PUC) to develop a contingency plan to create electrical generation and grid resilience against geomagnetic storms. Standards are set for the plan. The commission shall promulgate rules requiring an electrical utility to… do a bunch of expensive stuff for a circumstance that can’t be averted, like: Incorporate the resiliency plan; isolate large power transformers and power generation from the grid; Mechanically isolate critical components if or when the coronal mass ejection is likely to cause geomagnetically induced currents; Restrict or close fuel pipeline valves to mitigate damage; Install automatic neutral ground blocking devices in large power transformers; Ensure computer equipment can be mechanically isolated from the grid and sheltered from geomagnetically induced surges; Require all networked systems that operate electrical generation and distribution to be electronically and physically separable from the outside networks; and Require cyber-certification of hardware and software that operate electrical generation and distribution. What’s the fiscal note on this, $10B? Current law sets carbon dioxide emission reduction goals for the years 2030 and 2050. The bill extends these goals to 2040 and 2060 and makes these goals a lower priority than the electrical generation and distribution resilience provisions of the bill. SIGH. The bill prohibits the classification of carbon dioxide as an air pollutant and establishes, notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, that state statute, executive agency rules, and any regulations of political subdivisions of the state must not include the regulation of carbon dioxide emissions as a pollutant. Any portion of an executive agency rule that treats carbon dioxide emissions as a pollutant is voidNAUSEA. You see, it’s going to be an geomagnetic storm that kills us all, and we’ve been worried about climate change for nothin’. (How this bill doesn’t violate the single subject rule is beyond me.)

HB24-1249 | Tax Credit Agricultural Stewardship Practices | Concerning a state income tax credit for active agricultural stewardship practices. | Sponsors: Reps Winter/Martinez, Sens Pelton/Roberts (Bi-Partisan) | Summary: The bill establishes a state income tax credit for active qualified stewardship practices on a farm or ranch beginning January 1, 2026. There are 3 tiers of tax credits that may be earned by a qualified taxpayer: $75 per acre of land for one; $100/acre for actively practicing 2 qualified stewardship practices; for 3 or more up to $150 per acre. The aggregate amount of tax credits issued in one calendar year cannot exceed $10 million“Qualified stewardship practice” means rotational grazing, rotational crops, reduced/no till soil, cover cropping, interseeding, compost application, or any other practice that increases soil health, improves water efficiency, or creates more diverse and beneficial ecosystems while maintaining the productivity of the farm or ranch.

⭐️ HB24-1307 | HVAC Improvements for Public Schools | Concerning HVAC infrastructure improvement projects in schools. | Sponsors: Lieder/Hamrick, Sen Marchman | Summary: The bill requires schools to satisfy certain requirements concerning installation, inspection, and maintenance of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in schools if the school administrative entity undertakes HVAC infrastructure improvements using money made available by a federal government source or by a federal government source in combination with a state government source specifically for such purpose. The requirements established in the bill concern: Ventilation verification assessments, which include assessments of an HVAC system’s filtration, ventilation exhaust, economizers, demand control ventilation, air distribution and building pressurization, general maintenance requirements, operational controls, and carbon dioxide output; The review of HVAC assessment reports by mechanical engineers, who make recommendations regarding necessary repairs and improvements and estimate associated costs; HVAC adjustments, repairs, upgradesand replacements; The bill establishes mandatory criteria that an HVAC contractor must satisfy in order to perform work described in the bill. A school administrative entity that undertakes HVAC infrastructure improvements must do so using only contractors on the certified contractor list established by the department of labor and employment. The bill allows a school administrative entity to apply for grants to pay for HVAC infrastructure improvement projects and establishes requirements for school administrative entities that apply for grants from federal and state government sources. See the Fact Sheet below.

⭐️ SB24-159 | Mod to Energy & Carbon Management Processes aka “Phase Out and Clean Up” | Concerning modifications to processes to further protect public health in energy and carbon management. | Sponsors: Sens Jaquez Lewis/Priola, Reps Boesenecker/Marvin | Summary: On or before July 1, 2027, requires the energy and carbon management commission (ECMC) to cease issuing new oil and gas permits before January 1, 2030, which must include reduction to 660 permits in 2028 and 330 in 2029 with cessation of new permits by 2030.  The bill also prohibits high-emmisions activities like recompilations (refracking) for existing wells, but does not ban production from 48,000+ existing wells in operation. Also requires the commission to include as a condition in any permit issued after July 1, 2024, must be drilled on or before December 31, 2032, as to each oil and gas well included in the permit.  If the commission determines that mitigation of adverse environmental impacts is necessary as a result of oil and gas operations, current law requires the commission to issue an order requiring a responsible party to perform the mitigation. If the responsible party refuses to perform the mitigation or is identified after the state provides funds for the mitigation, the commission must sue the responsible party to recover the costs of the mitigationSection 3 changes current law by: Expanding mitigation to include mitigation of adverse environmental impacts as a result of any activily regulated by the ECMC (including geothermal, hydrogen, underground storage of carbon and methane, gravity storage etc.; Adding a prior owner or operator to the definition of “responsible party”; and Allowing a current or prior owner or operator to be held jointly and severally liable for the costs of any mitigationSection 4 requires the office of future of work to present recommendations as a result of the adoption of the permitting rules to the general assembly in January 2028. Here’s the Phase Out Fact Sheet. Here’s the  Liability Reform Fact Sheet.

WEEK 5 ENDING FEBRUARY 9, 2024

SB24-085 | Sales & Use Tax Rebate for Digital Asset Purchases | Concerning a rebate of the state sales and use tax paid on new digital infrastructure assets purchased in connection with an eligible data center. Sponsors: Sens Priola/Buckner, Reps Parenti/Weinberg (Bi-partisan) | Summary: For the state fiscal year beginning July 1, 2026, and for each state fiscal year thereafter through the state fiscal year beginning July 1, 2033, the bill allows a data center business or a data center operator (taxpayer) to claim a rebate for all state sales and use tax that the taxpayer paid for construction materials or data center equipment that is for the construction or operation of an eligible data center, including everything imaginable, plus software. An “eligible data center” is defined as a data center that creates at least 20 jobs, generates at least $100M of revenue, and requires a min of 3MW of power. The commission may issue certification for up to 3 data centers to claim a sales and use tax rebate in any fiscal year. No prohibition on crypto-mining

SB24-123 | Waste Tire Management Enterprise | Concerning the creation of an enterprise that is exempt from the requirements of section 20 of article X of the state constitution to administer a fee-based waste tire management program. | Sponsors: Sens Priola/Hansen, Reps Mauro/Froelich | Summary:  The bill creates the waste tire management enterprise (enterprise). Under current law, when a consumer buys new tires, the retailer charges the consumer a waste tire fee (fee) that is then collected by the department of public health and environment (CDPHE) and distributed into 2 separate cash funds: The waste tire administration, enforcement, market development, and cleanup fund; and The end users fund. The department uses the money in the end users fund to issue rebates to end users of waste tires.

🚨 SB24-127 | Regulate Dredged & Fill Material State Waters | Concerning the establishment of a dredge-and-fill permit program to regulate the discharge of pollutants into certain state waters in response to recent changes in federal law. | Sponsors: Sen Kirkmeyer, Rep Bird (Bi-Partisan) | Summary: The bill creates the stream and wetlands protection commission (commission) in the department of natural resources (DNR) and requires the commission to develop, adopt, and maintain a dredge-and-fill permit program for: Regulating the discharge of dredged or fill material into certain state waters; and Providing protections for state waters, which protections are no more restrictive than the protections provided under the federal “Clean Water Act” as it existed on May 24, 2023. The commission is required to promulgate rules as expeditiously as is prudent and feasible concerning the issuance of permits under the permit program. Until the division implements such rules, the bill prohibits the water quality control division in the department of public health and environment from taking any enforcement action against an activity that includes the discharge of dredged or fill material into state waters if the activity causing the discharge is conducted in a manner that provides for protection of state waters consistent with the protections that would have occurred through compliance with federal law prior to May 25, 2023. The bill directs the state treasurer to transfer $600,000 from the severance tax operational fund to the capital construction fund on July 1, 2024, for the implementation of the bill.

SB24-148 | Precipitation Harvesting Storm Water Detention | Concerning allowing certain facilities to use water detained in a storm water detention and infiltration facility for precipitation harvesting. | Sponsor: Sen Van Winkle | Summary: Under current law, an entity that owns, operates, or has oversight over a storm water detention and infiltration facility (facility) is not allowed to divert, store, or otherwise use water detained in the facility. For facilities that are also approved for use as a precipitation harvesting facility, either through a substitute water supply plan or an augmentation plan, the bill authorizes the use of water detained in the facility for precipitation harvesting.

SB24-150 | Processing of Municipal Solid Waste | Concerning requirements for the processing of municipal solid waste in the state. Sponsors: Sen Cutter, Rep Froelich | Summary: On and after July 1, 2024, section 2 of the bill prohibits a person from operating or expanding certain units that incinerate municipal solid waste (incineration unit). Section 3 changes current law to provide that synthetic gas produced by the pyrolysis of waste materials is not an eligible energy resource for the purpose of certain state-level renewable energy standards. Section 4 changes current law to specify that methane derived from the pyrolysis of municipal solid waste is not recovered methane that is a clean heat resource for the purpose of clean heat plans.

🚨SB24-152 | Regenerative Agriculture Tax Credit | Concerning an income tax credit for qualifying food and beverage retailers in the state that source ingredients from local producers practicing regenerative agriculture. | Sponsors: Sens Simpson/Roberts, Rep McCormick (Bi-Partisan) | Summary: The bill creates a tax incentive program equal to 25% of the total amount paid to be administered by the department of Ag to encourage local food and beverage retailers to purchase agricultural commodities from local producers practicing regenerative agriculture, for  purchasing produce and animal products from qualifying local producers. Fact Sheet here.

WEEK 4 ENDING FEBRUARY 2, 2024

New bills this week

HB24-1173 | Electric Vehicle Charging System Permits | Concerning expediting the process for permitting electric motor vehicle charging systems. | Sponsors: Rep Valdez, A. | Summary: The bill establishes an expedited permitting process for the approval of electric motor vehicle (EV) charging systems for counties and municipalities. A board of county commissioners or the governing body of a municipality must adopt an application procedure for an applicant to apply for an EV charger permit to install an EV charging system. The county permitting agency will review and approve, conditionally approve, or deny an EV charger permit: Within 30 days after the application is considered complete, for an application that proposes to build fewer than 13 charging stations on a parcel where the EV charging system is considered an accessory land use to the existing or primary land use on that parcel; or Within 60 days after the application is considered complete, for an application that proposes to build 13 or more charging stations. If county takes no action within the time period then the EV charger permit is granted to the applicant. The bill also instructs the Colorado energy office to develop a model code regarding the approval of EV charger permits and provide counties and municipalities technical assistance in developing and administering the expedited EV charger permitting process.

HB24-1178 | Local Government Authority to Regulate Pesticides | Concerning local government authority to regulate pesticides. | Sponsors: Reps Kipp/Froelich, Sens Cutter/Jaquez Lewis | Summary: Current law prohibits a local government from creating laws that regulate the use of pesticides by pesticide applicators regulated by state or federal law. The bill allows a local government to create and enforce laws regulating the sale or use of pesticides to protect the health and safety of the community with certain exceptions.

Week 3 ending January 26, 2024

NEW BILLS THIS WEEK

SB24-092 | Cost Effective Energy Codes | Concerning cost effective energy codes. | Sponsors: Sen Pelton, Rep Pugliese | Summary: The bill requires any provision of any energy code adopted by a county or municipality on or after January 1, 2026, to be cost effective. “Cost effective” means, using the existing energy efficiency standards and requirements as a base of comparison, that the economic benefits of the proposed energy efficiency standards and requirements will exceed the economic costs of those standards and requirements based upon an incremental multi-year analysis that: Considers the perspective of a typical first-time home buyer; Considers benefits and costs over a 10-year period; Does not assume fuel price increases in excess of the assumed general rate of inflation; Ensures that the buyer of a home who would qualify to purchase the home before the addition of the energy efficiency standards will still qualify to purchase the same home after the additional cost of energy saving construction features; and Ensures that the costs of principal, interest, taxes, insurance, and utilities will not be greater after the inclusion of the proposed cost of the additional energy saving construction features required by the proposed energy efficiency rules than under the provisions of the existing energy efficiency rules. 

SB24-095 | Air Quality Ozone Levels | Concerning measures to address ozone levels in areas that do not meet federal ozone national ambient air quality standards. | Sponsors: Sen Kirkmeyer | Summary: Creates a high-emitter vehicle program for owners of motor vehicles that are not in compliance with emission standards and that have been issued a certification of emissions waiver (qualified vehicle). If the owner of a qualified vehicle resides in a nonattainment area for ozone and has unsuccessfully attempted to have the motor vehicle repaired to cure the noncompliance, the owner is eligible for a voucher of $850. Wait, coal-rollers get rewarded? The vouchers may be redeemed at qualified repair facilities that will bring the vehicle into compliance. Requires the air quality control commission (AQCC) to create a garden rebate program to increase the use of electric motors used for outdoor power equipment. The program must: Provide a point-of-purchase rebate of the lesser of $150 or one-third of the price for each piece of outdoor power equipment purchased by the end user in a nonattainment area for ozone; Establish a registration system for qualified retailers; Repeals the current tax credit for buying lawn and garden equipment with an electric motor. Expands the clean fleet enterprise program to include light-duty trucks; Authorize the clean fleet enterprise to provide grants of up to 80% of a local government’s cost of low-NOx; Requires the APCD (Air Pollution Control Division) to regularly perform, in the nonattainment area for ozone, photochemical modeling studies and data analysis designed to determine ambient air ozone levels and the effectiveness of policies for lowering ambient air ozone levels. Repealed when Colorado achieves attainment.

WEEK 2 ENDING JANUARY 19, 2024

No New Bills This Week!
Click on the bill number to access more details

WEEK 1 ENDING JANUARY 12, 2024

NEW BILLS THIS WEEK

Energy

SB24-039 | Nuclear Energy as a Clean Energy Resource | Concerning the inclusion of nuclear energy as a source of clean energy. | Sponsor: Sen Liston | Summary: The statutory definition of “clean energy” in current law determines which energy projects are eligible for clean energy project financing at the county and city and county level. The statutory definition of “clean energy resource” in current law determines which energy resources may be used by a qualifying retail utility to meet the 2050 clean energy target. The bill updates the statutory definitions to include nuclear energy. (The problem is with the bolded sentence: it’s too costly, the plant’s concrete/steel carbon footprint is too large, it takes too long to build to be useful for our 2050 goal, and of course there’s the problem with uranium mining and spent fuel.) | Recommendation: OPPOSE

Transportation

HB24-1012 | Front Range Passenger Rail District Efficiency | Concerning the operational efficiency of the front range passenger rail district.| Sponsors: Reps Mauro/Boesenecker, Sen Zenzinger | Summary: modifies FRPR Board administration stuff

HB24-1030 | Railroad Safety Requirements | Concerning railroad safety | Sponsors: Rep Mabrey, Sens Cutter/Exum | Summary: Limiting the maximum length of a train operating in the state, requiring certain railroads to use wayside detector systems, limiting the amount of time a train may obstruct public travel at certain crossings, authorizing a crew member’s designated union representative to investigate certain reported incidents, authorizing the public utilities commission to impose fines for certain violations, requiring fine revenue to be paid to the front range passenger rail district for the purposes of maintaining and improving the safety of a front range passenger rail system, and requiring certain railroads to carry insurance coverage in minimum amounts. | Recommendation: SUPPORT

SB24-032 | Methods to Increase the Use of Transit | Concerning methods to increase the use of transit. | Sponsors: Sens Priola/Jaquez Lewis, Rep Vigil | Summary: The bill creates the statewide transit pass exploratory committee within CDOT to produce a viable proposal for the creation, implementation, and administration of a statewide transit pass. The committee is required to meet as necessary to produce a viable proposal by July 1, 2026, with the goal of implementing a statewide transit pass by January 1, 2028.

SB24-036 | Vulnerable Road User Protection Enterprise | Concerning the creation of an enterprise to provide infrastructure improvements that protect vulnerable road users. | Sponsors: Sens Winter/Cutter, Reps Lindsay/Lindstedt | Summary: Provides funding for transportation system infrastructure improvements and other data-driven strategies identified in the federal highway administration-mandated vulnerable road user safety assessment, which CDOT is required to develop, that reduce the number of collisions with motor vehicles that result in death or serious injury to vulnerable road users. The enterprise is required to impose a vulnerable road user protection fee, which is imposed in tiered amounts that are calculated based on motor vehicle weight and configuration, on the registration of passenger cars and light trucks that are not commercial vehicles. Fee revenue is credited to a newly created vulnerable road user protection enterprise cash fund and continuously appropriated to the enterprise. | Recommendation: SUPPORT

GHG Pollution

SB24-028 | Study Biochar in Wildfire Mitigation Efforts | Concerning a comprehensive study on biochar, and, in connection therewith, studying the use of biochar in wildfire mitigation efforts. | Sponsors: Sens Cutter/Will, Rep Velasco (Bi-partisan) | Summary: directs the board of governors of the Colorado state university system (board) to conduct, or cause to be conducted, a comprehensive study on biochar, including its use in wildfire mitigation efforts. The board is required to submit a report on the findings of the study to specified committees of the general assembly by July 2026.

Climate Impacts

HB24-1006 | Assist Rural Community Wildfire-Related Grant App | Concerning assistance for rural communities to apply for wildfire-related grant money. | Sponsors: Reps Velasco/Snyder, Sens Cutter/Will (Bi-partisan) | Summary: Directs the rural opportunity office to assist rural communities with identifying and applying for state or federal grants for wildfire mitigation, prevention, response, or risk management efforts (wildfire-related grants) and to annually report back to the legislature

HB24-1024 | Extend Outreach Campaigns Wildfire Risk Mitigation | Concerning the continuation of public outreach campaigns relating to wildfire risk mitigation in the wildland-urban interface | Sponsors: Reps Story/Velasco, Sen Cutter | Summary: The bill requires the Colorado state forest service (forest service) to conduct enhanced wildfire awareness month outreach campaigns (campaigns) through 2027 and other outreach efforts through the 2026-27 state fiscal year that are expected to increase awareness of wildfire risk mitigation by residents in the wildland-urban interface. $300K from the general fund.

SB24-005 | Prohibit Landscaping Practices for Water Conservation | Concerning the conservation of water in the state through the prohibition of certain landscaping practices. | Sponsors: Sens Roberts/Simpson, Reps McCormick/McLachlan (Bi-partisan) | Summary: Prohibits local governments and HOAs from allowing the installation, planting, or placement of nonfunctional turf, artificial turf, or invasive plant species on commercial, institutional, or industrial property or a transportation corridor. | Recommendation: SUPPORT

SB24-009 | Local Government Disaster-Related Programs | Concerning assisting local governments in disaster-related programs. | Sponsors: Sens Cutter/Jaquez Lewis, Rep Snyder | Summary: Establishes the slash removal pilot program to support county efforts to efficiently and effectively remove slash.

SB24-014 | Seal of Climate Literacy Diploma Endorsement | Concerning authorization for granting a high school diploma endorsement related to climate literacy. | Sponsors: Sen Hansen, Rep McLachlan | Summary: The bill authorizes a local education provider to grant a high school diploma endorsement in climate literacy to graduating students who demonstrate mastery in climate literacy and attain green skills or technical green skills.

SB24-037 | Study Green Infrastructure for Water Quality Mgmt | Concerning alternative mechanisms for achieving compliance with water quality standards. | Sponsors: Sens Simpson/Bridges, Reps Lunch/McCormick (Bi-partisan) | Summary:  Conduct a feasibility study of the use of green infrastructure, as an alternative to traditional gray infrastructure, which refers to centralized water treatment facilities, and the use of green financing mechanisms for water quality management

SB24-038 | Authorize Conservancy District Water Management | Concerning authorizing a conservancy district to participate in a plan for augmentation; contract with water users outside the conservancy district for the provision of services; exercise certain powers regarding the control, delivery, use, and distribution of water; establish a water activity enterprise; and sell, lease, or otherwise dispose of the use of water or capacity in works by contract. | Sponsors: Sens Bridges/Simpson, Reps Martinez/McCormick (Bi-partisan) | Summary: Under current law, when certain conditions exist, a district court may establish conservancy districts for the conservation, development, utilization, and disposal of water for agricultural, municipal, and industrial uses. The bill allows conservancy districts to conserve, develop, utilize, or dispose of water for commercial uses as well. Allows a conservancy district to establish a water activity enterprise, which is a business that receives less than 10% of its annual revenues in grants from all Colorado state and local governments combined, is authorized to issue its own revenue bonds, and is excluded from the provisions of the “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” in the state constitution.

Colorado Must Overcome its Share of Climate Delusions

Published in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel on December 12th, 2023

In the early 1970’s, I worked on the adolescent ward of a state mental hospital.  One of our patients was a fifteen-year-old – let’s call him Ian – who was smart enough to beat everyone at chess and to speak a bit of several different languages and who was also experiencing a mental condition that gave him distorted views of the world.  These distorted views caused suffering for him and those around him.  I think of him, and a particular incident with him, when I think of our climate situation these days.

 The incident occurred when Ian had been doing well enough that he had earned privileges to be outside when accompanied by an attendant nurse.  He and I were outside playing HORSE in the otherwise deserted basketball court.  At some point he realized that he was going to lose.  A look came over his face that I’ll never forget.  He came up close to me and fired the basketball at my face, breaking my glasses, and then set off running away from the hospital.  But he kept calling back over his shoulder, “I’m coming back, Chris.  Look at me.  See…I’m coming back.”  All the while he kept running farther and farther away.

I think of this when I hear the promises from various governments, and the rosy reports from fossil fuel companies, and the promises from their bought politicians, about how well they are doing.  “I’m cutting my carbon pollution.  See…I’m cutting my carbon pollution.”

 For example, ExxonMobile says it is “advancing climate solutions.”  Yet while making that claim, ExxonMobile purchased Pioneer Natural Resources.  As the Associated Press reports, “Including debt, Exxon is committing about $64.5 billion to the acquisition, leaving no doubt of the Texas energy company’s commitment to fossil fuels.”

Exxon is not alone. The world’s fossil fuel producers are planning expansions that would blow the planet’s carbon budget twice over, a UN report has found. One of the authors of the report, says: “Despite their climate promises, governments plan on ploughing yet more money into a dirty, dying industry, while opportunities abound in a flourishing clean energy sector. On top of economic insanity, it is a climate disaster of our own making.”

Fossil-fuel-driven climate change is already impacting the food we eat, our health and safety, our natural environments, our economic prosperity and it is already too late to prevent many of these harms from worsening. Advocating for more fossil fuel production is radically out-of-touch with reality. The delusions of the radical fossil-fuel agenda are harming us all.

Yet in spite of this, if current projections hold, in 2030 the United States will drill for more oil and gas than at any point in its history. Russia and Saudi Arabia plan to do the same.

Colorado is not doing much better. A new baseline analysis by Rocky Mountain Institute shows that Colorado will fall short of its 2030 carbon dioxide reduction goals by nearly 12 million tons a year.  And this doesn’t count the pollution of all the fossil fuels produced in Colorado and then exported out of state.

Back in 2021 the International Energy Agency (IEA) said, “If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas, and coal, from now – from this year.”   Yet, in 2023, Xcel Energy plans to invest $510 million in new methane (“natural gas”) infrastructure, and a total of $2.59 billion by 2027.  And as of 2022, the Colorado Energy and Carbon Management Commission (ECMC), formerly known the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, had approved 13 company projects to drill 195 wells on 20 locations since early 2021.  What part of “no new investments” do they not understand?

The Colorado Oil and Gas Association says, “The oil and natural gas molecules produced in Colorado are among the cleanest in the world.”  True perhaps, but irrelevant. Those produced molecules trap more and more life-disrupting heat every year.   “I’m coming back,” said Ian as he ran farther and farther away.

We can do better.  Most of the technologies we need already exist, and the longer we wait the steeper becomes the glide path to an abundant clean energy economy.  As part of the process, we must ensure a just transition for our fossil-fuel veterans and for fossil-fuel-dependent communities as well as social justice for front-line communities who have suffered the most from both the production and climate impacts of fossil fuels.

Instead of running away from reality we should run toward a cleaner, safer, healthier future.

Chris Hoffman is a retired Licensed Professional Counselor and management consultant with 23 years of experience in the electric utility industry. Since retirement he has been active in advocating for climate action and social justice.

Colorado’s New Air Quality Rules Put Profit Over People

Published in the Denver Post on September 29th, 2023

As a Colorado resident, I am proud that our state has strong laws for greenhouse gas emissions reductions and environmental justice, but these laws mean nothing when regulations are not strong enough to put them into action. The rules the Air Quality Control Commission passed on Friday in the Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Management in Manufacturing Phase 2 rulemaking are an egregious example of this problem.

Impacted communities have been waiting too long for real reductions of pollution and other cumulative impacts from industry. Climate change likewise needs immediate action. The Environmental Justice (EJ) Act of 2021 brings those issues together, but the rule passed by the Commission falls short of meeting its requirements.

The rule passed by the Commission, far from achieving near-term reductions, delays reduction requirements until 2030, and emissions will actually increase in the near term. This means far more greenhouse gases will be emitted cumulatively than if reductions were required to begin now and steadily decrease until 2030.  The associated toxic pollution in disproportionately impacted communities near 14 of the 18 regulated facilities will also be allowed to continue unabated until the reduction requirements in 2030.

How does waiting until 2030 for required emissions reductions prioritize impacted communities and how does this help Colorado do its part in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – the stated intent of the law? The rule also creates much uncertainty about pollution reduction in disproportionately impacted communities and certainly doesn’t prioritize them; there are many loopholes that allow polluters to get out of reducing pollution at their factories.

The public spoke out en masse against the proposed rule. Hundreds of people asked for better, stronger rules. Multiple environmental and environmental justice groups legally became “parties” to the rulemaking to oppose the proposed rule, and others submitted oral and written public comment. The Environmental Defense Fund presented an alternate proposal — developed and backed up by respected experts – that would have achieved greenhouse gas reductions 18 times greater than the rule passed by the Commission..

The Commission could have selected the alternate proposal submitted by the Environmental Defense Fund, or they could have directed the division to write new, better rules (as two commissioners suggested) — but instead most voted to place industry profits over the health of the people and the urgency of the climate crisis.

Some of the commissioners only seemed to care about greenhouse gas reductions when a show of concern could support weaker rules (suggesting that requiring industry to reduce emissions in Colorado would drive business elsewhere and lead to more emissions out of state). During deliberations, one of the commissioners expressed doubt that decreasing greenhouse gases was even the intent of the EJ Act (although this intent is clearly stated in the legislative declaration), and others implied that since industrial emissions are a small percentage of total statewide emissions, perhaps reducing them doesn’t matter. The amount of time spent discussing what industry needed and wanted dwarfed any conversation about the real impacts to people’s health and the serious threat to our climate caused by not achieving near-term reductions.

Several of the commissioners thanked and praised the parties to the rulemaking, saying what wonderful industries we have in Colorado and how much they learned about industrial processes. As they referenced industry in glowing terms while saying nothing about any of the other parties, it appeared that in their minds, environmental groups were not even parties, as though invisible. The relationship that exists between this commission–which is supposed to be protecting public health and the environment—and environmental groups is so far from the friendly camaraderie shown to industry it is darkly comical.

In the 3-day hearing, lighthearted banter among the commissioners, division and some parties was a surreal contrast with emotional testimony from community members who are poisoned by pollution and people who are fighting air pollution and climate change like the matter of life and death it is. I wonder how many members of the public felt insulted. I know I did.

Heidi Leathwood is a climate policy analyst for the environmental organization 350 Colorado

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