June 8, 2021
Western Resource Advocates today welcomed the Colorado General Assembly’s passage of HB21-1266, which will advance environmental justice and help the state make progress toward reaching its science-based climate goals. However, there is much work still to be done to close Colorado’s emission reduction gap. Further work at Colorado’s regulatory agencies, and in future legislative sessions, will be necessary to get the state on track to reach its climate goals.
“Thanks to the incredible leadership of the bill sponsors, the strong coalition of climate and environmental justice advocates, and Coloradans across the state, we took a step forward on climate this year with HB1266, as it was amended,” said Jessica Gelay, Colorado government affairs manager for Western Resource Advocates. “This legislation creates enforceable pollution limits across three major sectors, helps our state begin to address long-standing environmental inequities, and will secure critical financial resources for state-level climate work by closing a loophole that has let climate polluters off the hook for years. While this is progress, we have unfinished business and Colorado still remains off track from meeting its climate goals. We will continue to work with the state’s Air Quality Control Commissioners and lawmakers to close the emission reduction gap and preserve a habitable climate for Coloradans.”
Some highlights of the legislation include:
- Creates enforceable pollution limits and sets specific timelines for three of the five biggest polluting sectors: oil and gas, industrial, and electricity generation.
- Begins to address environmental justice issues by establishing an environmental justice ombudsperson, creating an Environmental Justice Advisory Board, and re-directing penalties from air quality violations from the General Fund into a new Community Impact Cash Fund, ensuring these fines are used to support mitigation projects in impacted communities.
- Removes a long-standing loophole that lets polluters off the hook for emitting greenhouse gases by not requiring them to pay air pollutant fees for those emissions. This provision will ensure the Air Pollution Control Division has critical financial resources to incorporate community input and develop strong and enforceable rules to reduce pollution.
- Ensures that emission reductions in key sectors are real, verifiable, and transparently tracked.
Jamie Trafficanda, 720-763-3737, firstname.lastname@example.org