Support CCLC at the Upcoming Air Quality Control Commission

350 Colorado, Wild Earth Guardians, and other allies are leading participation at the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission’s hearing on Colorado’s emissions goals. Show up and show your support of climate!

Where: Colorado Department of Public Health & the Environment, 4300 Cherry Creek S. Drive, 80246

When: Thursday, February 20th, 2020  8:30 AM

Meeting Agenda available here.

See the Facebook event for more info. Hope to see you there!

Colorado Legislative Snapshot

Upcoming Energy, Environment and Climate Legislation Supported by CEA

Colorado State 2020 Legislative Calendar:

SB20-055 (Incentivize Development Recycling End Markets)

Next Hearing: Friday 3/13 (8 am)

Directs the pollution prevention advisory board (board) within the department of public health and environment (department) to recommend to the department a structure and governing guidance for a recycling market development center to support the development of end-market businesses within the state. Allows the board to use the recycling resources economic opportunity fund and the front range waste diversion cash fund to reimburse eligible recycling businesses for locally assessed personal property taxes paid in the current tax year in this state on personal property. Requires the department, on and after October 1, 2020, to administer a statewide campaign to educate Colorado residents concerning recycling.

HB20-1155 (Higher Efficiency New Construction Residence)

Next Hearing: N/A (Sent to Governor )
Requires home builders to offer new home buyers all of the following
 (instead of just one, under current law): solar panel system or solar thermal system, the home is pre-wired or pre-plumbed for those systems, a chase or conduit to wire or plumb the home for these systems in the future. Requires home builders to also offer one of the following: an EV charging system; upgrades of wiring to accommodate future installation of an EV charging system; or a 208- to 240-volt alternating current plug-in located in a place accessible to a motor vehicle parking area. Requires home builders to offer electric heating options.

HB20-1162 (Prohibit Food Establishments’ Use of Polystyrene)

Next Hearing: Friday 3/13 (8 am)
Effective January 1, 2022, the bill prohibits a retail food establishment from distributing an expanded polystyrene product for use as a container for ready- to-eat food in this state. The executive director of the department of public health and environment or the executive director’s designee may, through the attorney general, seek injunctive relief against a retail food establishment that violates the prohibition.

HB20-1059 (Valuation of Energy Storage Equipment)

Next Hearing: Monday 3/16 (1:30 pm)
Requires energy storage equipment owned or operated by utilities to be assessed similarly to renewable energy equipment beginning January 1, 2020.

HB20-1163 (Management of Single-use Products)

Next Hearing: TBD
The bill prohibits stores and retail food establishments, on and after July 1, 2021, from providing single-use plastic carryout bags, single-use plastic stirrers, single-use plastic straws, and expanded polystyrene food service products (collectively “single-use products”) to customers at the point of sale. The prohibition does not apply to inventory purchased before July 1, 2021, and used on or before December 31, 2021. A store or retail food establishment, on or after July 1, 2021, may furnish recyclable paper carryout bags to a customer at a charge of at least 10 cents per customer, which amount the store or establishment may retain in full, unless a local government’s ordinance or resolution prohibits the store or establishment from retaining the full charge. A local government, on or after July 1, 2021, is preempted from enacting an ordinance, resolution, rule, or charter provision that is less stringent than the statewide prohibition.

HB20-1064 (PUC Study of Community Choice Energy)

Next Hearing: TBD

Concerns investigations by the Public Utilities Commission to study and evaluate the implications of allowing community choice of wholesale electric supply in Colorado through the vehicle of community choice energy authorities. Assigned to Energy & Environment + Appropriations.

The Clean Energy Conversation Is “Big At The Capitol,” And At Home In Boulder, Colorado.

On the morning of Saturday, January 25th, nearly 100 Boulder residents gathered at the West Boulder Senior Center to hear political leaders update the Boulder community about ongoing efforts to address climate change at the city, county and state level in Colorado. The Mayor’s Community Conversation on Climate and Local Clean Energy was a hopeful yet serious event where residents and public officials reviewed climate policy progress and assessed pathways towards a low-carbon future. One theme throughout the day was clear: Colorado’s leaders deserve credit for the tremendous work they are doing to tackle climate change. 

Mayor Sam Weaver facilitated the event which featured presentations by high-profile leaders that have moved the needle on climate change in Colorado.  The speakers included two City Council members, one state Senator, two state Representatives, the Boulder County Commissioner, and an editor from HOMER Microgrid News. 

Local leaders pose for a picture Junie Joseph, Steve Fenberg, Sam Weaver, KC Becker, Mary Young, and Edie Hooton.

The Mayor’s Address

The mini-conference began with a warm welcome from Mayor Weaver followed by a discussion of the most impactful climate solutions, published by Project Drawdown.  The Mayor joked about being known as the “refrigerant guy” due to his personal interest in tackling refrigerant management issues. He cited Boulder’s current integration of 60% local renewable energy, which will increase dramatically if the city proceeds with municipalization efforts.

Mayor Weaver brought specific attention to food waste, another high-impact climate change mitigator. “We are missing something,” he noted. “We’re doing composting more than ever, and the work of Eco-Cycle has been instrumental in our progress, but it’s not enough. It starts with putting less food on your plate.” 

A table included in Sam Weaver’s presentation, from Project Drawdown

Climate Action at the State Level in Colorado

Next, State Senator Steve Fenberg, Speaker of the House KC Becker, and Representative Edie Hooton reviewed the sweeping legislation passed in 2019. The 2019 ‘democratic trifecta,’ when three legislative bodies are run by Democrat majorities, accomplished “the most accomplished legislative session, perhaps in the whole country.”

Key bills referenced included: 

  • SB 181, to regulate oil and gas in Colorado through rulemakings from the CO O&G and air quality control group
  • HB 1261, to place state climate goals in statute, including periodic reports and analyses
  • SB 96, to establish means for tracking greenhouse gas emissions data via the AQCC
  • SB 236, to prevent the ‘sunset’ expiration of the public utilities commission. Also directed the Colorado PUC to regulate and consider the social cost of carbon, distribution system planning (including storage options), and codified Xcel’s commitment to 100% clean energy by 2050
  • HB 1314, to create a “just” transition from a coal-based electric economy, to facilitate job training

Although the state’s role in the Just Transition Bill is yet to be determined, the legislation attracted interest from neighboring states. Speaker Becker also described Tri-State’s request for a “carve-out” exemption from climate commitments in HB 1261. This January, several months after the legislature denied the request, Tri-State independently outlined an initiative for early coal plant retirement in its Responsible Energy Plan

Representative Fenberg commented that, “Big picture bills were passed last year – now we’re getting into the nitty gritty.” He described electrification bills, oil and gas rulemakings, air monitoring, and adaptation and mitigation bills at the top of the Senate’s list this year. Representative Hooton discussed her recently-introduced Community Choice Energy study bill, HB 1064. This legislation directs the PUC to evaluate the implications of community choice, which allows communities to arrange independent contracts with electricity generators. Representative Hooton called the process “disruptive; the idea of even studying the impact of disrupting the investor-owned utility model is very chilling to a number of groups.” Other upcoming legislation includes a single-use plastics ban, a pesticides ban, support for “greening” buildings, and new energy procurements. 

Becker expressed excitement about a growing focus on climate action at the state level.   “It’s incredible to see how big the energy conversation is at the capitol,” she stated. “It went from very niche conversations to a big, collaborative issue in the last year.”  At the same time, legislators acknowledged the majority of the work in transforming our energy system lies ahead of us.

Micah Parkin, Executive Director of 350 Colorado talks to interested citizens in the lobby

City and County Climate Action

The legislators’ portion was followed by an address from City Council members Junie Joseph and Mary Young, who spoke on city plans to support equity and just transition issues. The council members noted that Boulder is an economically disparate city, with deep equity issues in its presence. “The City of Boulder recognizes that our Climate Mobilization Action Plan goals must go beyond just closing the gap. We must establish a corporate benchmark that lifts all populations, while paying close attention to those often excluded or impacted,” Junie Joseph commented.

Mary Young elaborated on a just transition: “The focus should really be on talking to trade and labor unions… We want to focus on putting solar panels on roofs, but wouldn’t it be better to focus on solar gardens? Those are accessible to everyone.” 

Next, Lili Francklyn, editor of HOMER Microgrid News, provided a presentation on microgrid success stories in the U.S., chronicling energy savings and the benefits of local, closed systems of energy generation and use. “Now, microgrids are competitive with other types of energy generation,” she stated. The presentation offered a promising future for localized energy systems.

Elise Jones provides an update on Colorado’s fracking legislation and activity

Elise Jones, Boulder County Commissioner, followed with a  presentation on fracking in Colorado, and the audience edged towards the tip of their seats as the Commissioner showed maps of fracking plans from around the state. The Commissioner provided data on air quality issues that travel over county lines, giving Boulder air a grade “F” according to the American Lung Association. In December 2019, the EPA reclassified Colorado as a “serious” violator of federal air quality laws, and the state was directed to cut its emissions in half by 2021. 

Mayor Weaver took the stage as the day’s last presenter, delivering a session on community power and energy democracy. Standing in front of a picture of a California wildfire, he cited PG&E’s 1,500 wildfires in six years and $12 billion losses. He questioned, “How do we know what the state of our transmission system is? What about third party audits?… This issue is shifting closer to home. I can hear a transformer explode outside of my house once every five months.” He urged the city to be proactive, and to localize its power sources to proactively protect Boulder from the pitfalls of corporate-owned infrastructure issues.

Mayor Weaver compares California fires to Boulder fires, warns of repeated tragedy

Community Members Discuss Amongst Themselves

The day closed with the creation of five breakout groups. Below is a description of each group and what the conversation that ensued:

  • Community Choice Energy: The community choice energy group encouraged the audience to visit Leslie Glustrom chimed in, “This is the fundamental question: Is the monopoly going to bring us the optimal solutions; are they going to get us there fast enough, at a reasonable price, or is there a way to allow those thousands of bids on solar that have been backed up for years out? As one engineer said, we should build out in parallel, instead of slowly.”
  • Microgrids: This group discussed legal barriers to microgrids as well as advanced meter usage, data issues, and EV charging stations along I-70.
  • Energy Democracy: This group discussed municipalization at length, taking information from  David Cockrell of Pueblo’s Energy Future. The group questioned: If the city created a municipalization, what would the governmental body that accepts citizen input look like? Who would be part of the city’s effort? The group also defined the distinction between a CCA (in which the city would purchase electricity from a generator of their choosing) and municipally-owned utility (in which the city owns and operates its own utility).
  • Fracking in Boulder County: This group covered a variety of topics, including the removal of state control over local energy decisions via SB 181; an example of this was when the Colorado Supreme Court invalidated Longmont and Fort Collins fracking moratoriums in 2016. The group noted that the Longmont ban is going back to the courts. Several advocacy groups joined this discussion, and emphasized the need for collaboration on legislation. 
  • Youth Climate Action:  This group was led by two students at Fairview Highschool. The group discussed Fairview’s sustainability programs and a vision of increased renewable generation in Boulder County schools.

The crowd concluded the day with extended conversation in the lobby on ways to get involved. The event highlighted the impressive steps that Colorado is taking towards climate change mitigation, and similarly shed light on pending concerns. One clear takeaway for all attendees was that our leaders are clearly taking action to fight climate change, and that the policy landscape will continue to morph as climate change accelerates on the Front Range.

2020 Legislative Session Energy, Environment & Climate related bills

Introduced As Of 3/10/2020


Incentivize Development of Recycling End Markets

Concerning the expansion of market mechanisms for the further development of recycling.

Last Action: 02/10/2020 | Senate Committee on Business, Labor, & Technology – Refer Unamended to Appropriations

Sponsors: Sen. K. Priola | Sen. T. Story | Rep. L. Cutter | Rep. J. Arndt 

Subject: Business & Economic Development


Valuation Of Energy Storage Equipment

Concerning the valuation of property used to store electricity.

Last Action: 03/05/2020 | House Committee on Energy & Environment – Refer Unamended to Finance

Sponsors: Sen. C. Hansen | Rep D. Jackson | Sen. F. Winter | Sen. J. Tate 

Subject: Fiscal Policy & Taxes


Adopt Renewable Natural Gas Standard

Concerning adoption of a renewable natural gas standard.

Last Action: 02/3/2020 | House Committee on Energy & Environment – Postpone Indefinitely 

Sponsors: Sen. C. Hansen 

Subject: Energy


Adopt Renewable Natural Gas Standard

Concerning adoption of a renewable natural gas standard.

Last Action: 03/02/2020 | Passed from Senate Third Reading, Introduced in House – Assigned to Energy & Environment 

Sponsors: Sen. C. Hansen 

Subject: Energy


Consumer Protections For Utility Customers

Concerning increased consumer protections for customers of investor-owned utilities.

Last Action: 03/02/2020 | Passed Senate, Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment 

Sponsors: Sen. L. Garcia | Sen. R. Rodriguez | Rep. D. Esgar 

Subjects: Business & Economic Development, Energy


Cooperative Electric Utilities Reasonable Rates Energy Storage

Concerning clarification of the requirement of reasonableness in charges imposed by one cooperative electric association upon another.

Last Action: 03/05/2020 | Passed from House, Introduced In Senate – Assigned to Transportation and Energy 

Sponsors: Rep. M. Weissman 

Subject: Energy


Energy Efficiency Improvement Programs Funding

Concerning the stabilization of state funding for energy efficiency improvement programs.

Last Action: 03/02/2020 | House Committee on Energy & Environment – Postpone Indefinitely 

Sponsors: Rep. C. Kennedy 

Subject: Energy


Prohibit Food Establishments’ Use Of Polystyrene

Concerning a prohibition against a retail food establishment’s distribution of an expanded polystyrene product for use as a container for ready-to-eat food.

Last Action: 02/24/2020 | House Committee on Energy & Environment Refer Amdended to Appropriations

Sponsors: Rep. L. Cutter | Rep. J. Singer | Sen. M. Foote | Sen. T. Story 

Subjects: Energy, Natural Resources & Environment


Public Utilities Commission Study Of Community Choice Energy

Concerning investigations by the public utilities commission to evaluate the implications of allowing community choice of wholesale electric supply in Colorado through the vehicle of community choice energy authorities.

Last Action: 02/10/2020 | House Committee on Energy & Environment Refer Amended to Appropriations

Sponsors: Rep. E. Hooton 

Subjects: Business & Economic Development



Transmit Renewable Energy Conservation Easements

Concerning the transmission of renewable energy through transmission lines that cross property subject to a conservation easement.

Last Action: 02/4/2020 | Senate Committee on Transportation & Energy – Postpone Indefinitely 

Sponsors: Sen. F. Winter | Sen. J. Tate | Sen. C. Hansen 

Subjects: Energy, Transportation & Motor Vehicles


Develop A Statewide Organics Management Plan

Concerning the development of a statewide organics management plan to promote compost use.

Last Action: 03/02/2020 | Passed out of House, Introduced In Senate – Assigned to Agriculture & Natural Resources 

Sponsors: Rep. L. Cutter | Rep. M. Froelich | Sen. K. Priola 

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


Emissions Inspection Check Engine Light

Concerning the submission to the federal environmental protection agency of a proposed revision to the state implementation plan that would enable a vehicle that fails the on-board diagnostics test solely because a check engine light is illuminated on the vehicle’s dashboard to undergo a tailpipe emissions test.

Last Action: 02/4/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment 

Sponsors: Sen. R. Zenzinger | Sen. J. Cooke | Rep. L. Liston | Rep. J. Melton 

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


Enhance Penalties Water Quality Criminal Violations

Concerning the enhancement of penalties for criminal violations of water quality laws.

Last Action: 02/13/2020 | Passed out of Senate, Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment 

Sponsors: Sen. F. Winter | Rep. D. Jackson | Rep. E. Hooton 

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


Environmental Justice And Projects Increase Environmental Fines

Concerning additional public health protections regarding alleged environmental violations, and, in connection therewith, raising the maximum fines for air quality and water quality violations and allocating the fines to environmental mitigation projects.

Last Action: 02/27/2020 | House Committee on Finance Refer Amended to Appropriations 

Sponsors: Rep. D. Jackson | Rep. S. Gonzales-Gutierrez | Sen. F. Winter 

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


Facilitate Asphalt Shingle Recycling

Concerning the facilitation of asphalt shingle recycling.

Last Action: 02/11/2020 | Senate Committee on Local Government Postpone Indefinitely 

Sponsors: Sen. V. Marble | Rep. L. Saine 

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


Hazard Mitigation Grant Program

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 hazard mitigation grant program.

Last Action: 02/20/2020 | House Committee on Energy & Environment Refer Amended to Finance

Sponsors: Rep. L. Cutter | Rep. M. Soper 

Subjects: Natural Resources & Environment, State Government


Higher Efficiency New Construction Residence

Concerning requirements that builders of new residences offer buyers options to accommodate higher efficiency devices.

Last Action: 03/10/2020 | Passed out of House, Senate Second Reading Passed with Amendment – Committee, Floor 

Sponsors: Rep. A. Valdez | Rep. M. Weissman 

Subjects: Housing, Natural Resources & Environment


Increase Public Protection Air Toxics Emissions

Concerning increased public protections from emissions of air toxics.

Last Action: 03/09/2020 | House Committee on Energy & Environment Refer Amended to Finance

Sponsors: Rep. A. Benavidez | Rep. A. Valdez | Sen. J. Gonzales | Sen. D. Moreno 

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


Local Control Approvals Oil And Gas Applications

Concerning a requirement that the state approve an oil and gas permit to drill that has been approved by a local government.

Last Action: 03/02/2020 | House Committee on Energy & Environment Postpone Indefinitely

Sponsors: Rep. L. Saine | Rep. P. Buck | Sen. V. Marble | Sen. J. Cooke 

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


Management Of Single-use Products

Concerning the management of single-use products.

Last Action: 03/09/2020 | House Committee on Finance Refer Unamended to House Committee of the Whole 

Sponsors: Rep. A. Valdez | Rep. E. Sirota | Sen. J. Gonzales 

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


Move Alternative Fuel Definition

Concerning the relocation of the definition of “alternative fuel” from a part of the statutes in which the definition is no longer referenced to a part of the statutes in which the definition is referenced.

Last Action: 03/10/2020 | Passed out of House, Senate Second Reading Passed – No Amendments

Sponsors: Rep. J. Arndt | Sen. D. Moreno 

Subjects: Health Care & Health Insurance, Natural Resources & Environment


Petroleum Redevelopment Fund Electric Vehicle

Concerning the use of money in the petroleum cleanup and redevelopment fund to develop fuel-cell electric-vehicle projects.

Last Action: 02/20/2020 | House Committee on Energy & Environment Refer Amended to Appropriations

Sponsors: Rep. D. Jackson | Rep. P. Will | Sen. M. Foote 

Subjects: Business & Economic Development, Natural Resources & Environment


Promote Innovative And Clean Energy Technologies

Concerning measures to facilitate the use of innovative energy technologies by investor-owned public utilities, and, in connection therewith, authorizing the public utilities commission to review and approve investor-owned utilities’ applications for low-emission dispatchable and innovative energy technologies based on meeting specified criteria.

Last Action: 01/8/2020 | Introduced In Senate – Assigned to State, Veterans, & Military Affairs 

Sponsors: Sen. R. Rodriguez 

Subjects: Business & Economic Development, Natural Resources & Environment


Repeal Fee Cap On-site Wastewater Treatment System

Concerning a repeal of the dollar limitation on the fee that a local board of health may set for on-site wastewater treatment system permits.

Last Action: 03/06/2020 | Passed out of House and Senate, Sent to the Governor 

Sponsors: Rep. M. Catlin | Rep. J. Arndt | Sen. J. Ginal | Sen. D. Coram 

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


Statewide Biodiesel Blend Requirement Diesel Fuel Sales

Concerning the establishment of a statewide standard for the sale of biodiesel-blended diesel fuel in Colorado.

Last Action: 02/06/2020 | Passed out of Senate, Introduced in House – Assigned to Energy & Environment 

Sponsors: Sen. S. Fenberg | Rep. S. Jaquez Lewis | Rep. M. Young 

Subjects: Natural Resources & Environment, Public Health


Sunset Coal Mine Board Of Examiners

Concerning the continuation of the coal mine board of examiners, and, in connection therewith, implementing recommendations contained in the 2019 sunset report by the department of regulatory agencies.

Last Action: 03/09/2020 | House Third Reading Passed – No Amendments 

Sponsors: Rep. D. Roberts | Rep. P. Will 

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


Sunset Water Wastewater Facility Operators Certification Board

Concerning the continuation of the water and wastewater facility operators certification board, and, in connection therewith, implementing the recommendations contained in the 2019 sunset report by the department of regulatory agencies.

Last Action: 02/28/2020 | Passed out of House, Introduced in Senate – Assigned to Agriculture & Natural Resources 

Sponsors: Rep. A. Valdez 

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


Electric Motor Vehicle Manufacturer and Dealer

Concerning increasing consumer access to electric motor vehicles by allowing manufacturers to sell their own electric motor vehicles directly to consumers.

Last Action: 03/09/2020 | Passed out of Senate, in House Committee on Energy & Environment Refer Amended to House Committee of the Whole

Sponsors: Sen. Chris Hansen, Rep. E. Hooton, Sen. Kevin Priola,

Subjects: Business & Economic Development, Professions & Occupations, Transportation & Motor Vehicles

  • This bill modifies current limitations that prevent motor vehicle manufacturers from owning their own dealerships; the bill will allow manufacturers to own dealerships exclusively if they provide only electric vehicles. 


Low-emission Vehicle Managed Lane Access

Concerning a requirement that the executive director of the department of transportation adopt rules that allow preferential access to managed lanes for low-emission vehicles.

Last Action: 02/25/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment

Sponsors: Rep. Alex Valdez

Subjects: Transportation & Motor Vehicles

  • This bill would require the department of transportation to adopt rules and establish a program that allows preferential access to managed lanes (i.e. HOV/fast lanes) for low-emission vehicles (LEVs) by December 2021. The bill suggests that the rules provide low-price or free access to the lanes by LEVs, and that the program include limitations on participants.


Boost Renewable Energy Transmission Investment

Concerning incentives for the development of an electric grid that fully accommodates increased production from zero-carbon generation resources.

Last Action: 03/03/2020 | Introduced In Senate – Assigned to Transportation & Energy

Sponsors: Rep. Chris Hansen

Subjects: Transportation & Motor Vehicles

  • This bill directs the PUC to approve new transmission projects that support renewable energy development. Applications will default to approval if the PUC does not deny them within 180 days after the CPCN. Additionally, the bill also directs the PUC to complete a review of existing and potential energy resource zones for renewable development within Colorado, including relevant transmission implications, by December 2020 in the RTO exploration docket. Under these provisions, the PUC would evaluate clean energy project bids
    “without such bids being burdened by the cost of planned [transmission] lines,” so long as the new lines would support state clean energy goals.

Mayor’s Conversation Resources

Thanks to everyone who attended the Mayor’s Conversation about Climate and Local Clean Energy! For those who are interested, a member of the Colorado Renewable Energy Society recorded the event and you can watch it below.
Additionally, here are the materials that were presented.
Fracking in Boulder County:
Community Power and Energy Democracy:

Accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy