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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!

February 2020 Colorado Legislative Snapshot

Upcoming Energy, Environment and Climate Legislation Supported by CEA

Colorado State 2020 Legislative Calendar:  https://leg.colorado.gov/session-schedule

SB20-055 (Incentivize Development Recycling End Markets)

Next Hearing: Monday 2/10 (1:30pm)

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: Thursday 2/13 (upon adjournment, which typically means starting at 9 or 10am)
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: Thursday 2/20 (upon adjournment, which typically means starting at 9 or 10am)
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 2/24 (1:30pm)
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: Monday 2/24 (1:30pm)
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: Monday 2/10 (1:30pm)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 Energyfreedomco.org. 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 2/6/2020

SB20-055

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 

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Business & Economic Development


HB20-1059

Valuation Of Energy Storage Equipment

Concerning the valuation of property used to store electricity.

Last Action: 01/8/2020 | Introduce In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment + Finance + Appropriations 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Fiscal Policy & Taxes


HB20-1018

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 

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Energy


SB20-150

Adopt Renewable Natural Gas Standard

Concerning adoption of a renewable natural gas standard.

Last Action: 01/28/2020 | Introduced In Senate – Assigned to Transportation & Energy 

Sponsors: Sen. C. Hansen 

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type:  Bill

Subject: Energy

SB20-030


Consumer Protections For Utility Customers

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

Last Action: 01/8/2020 | Introduced In Senate – Assigned to Transportation & Energy 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type:  Bill

Subjects: Business & Economic Development, Energy


HB20-1225

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: 01/31/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment 

Sponsors: Rep. M. Weissman 

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type:  Bill

Subject: Energy


HB20-1045

Energy Efficiency Improvement Programs Funding

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

Last Action: 01/8/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment + Appropriations 

Sponsors: Rep. C. Kennedy 

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Energy


HB20-1162

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: 01/21/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment 

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

Session: 

2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subjects: Energy

Natural Resources & Environment


HB20-1064

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: 01/8/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment + Appropriations 

Sponsors: Rep. E. Hooton 

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subjects: Business & Economic Development

Energy


SB20-012

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 

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subjects: Energy

Transportation & Motor Vehicles


HB20-1047

Develop A Statewide Organics Management Plan

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

Last Action: 02/3/2020 | House Committee on Energy & Environment Refer Amended to Appropriations 

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

Session:  2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


SB20-036

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 

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


SB20-008

Enhance Penalties Water Quality Criminal Violations

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

Last Action: 01/8/2020 | Introduced In Senate – Assigned to Agriculture & Natural Resources 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


HB20-1143

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: 01/17/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment + Finance 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


SB20-058

Facilitate Asphalt Shingle Recycling

Concerning the facilitation of asphalt shingle recycling.

Last Action: 01/8/2020 | Introduced In Senate – Assigned to Local Government 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


HB20-1142

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: 01/17/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment + Finance + Appropriations 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subjects: Natural Resources & Environment

State Government


HB20-1155

Higher Efficiency New Construction Residence

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

Last Action: 01/17/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subjects: Housing

Natural Resources & Environment


HB20-1265

Increase Public Protection Air Toxics Emissions

Concerning increased public protections from emissions of air toxics.

Last Action: 02/3/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment + Appropriations 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


HB20-1126

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: 01/15/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


HB20-1163

Management Of Single-use Products

Concerning the management of single-use products.

Last Action: 01/21/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment + Finance 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


HB20-1167

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: 01/28/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subjects: Health Care & Health Insurance

Natural Resources & Environment


HB20-1192

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: 01/30/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subjects: Business & Economic Development

Natural Resources & Environment


SB20-013

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 

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subjects: Business & Economic Development

Natural Resources & Environment


HB20-1094

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: 01/30/2020 | House Committee on Rural Affairs & Agriculture Refer Amended to House Committee of the Whole 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


SB20-038

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: 02/4/2020 | Senate Third Reading Passed with Amendments – Floor 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subjects: Natural Resources & Environment

Public Health


HB20-1208

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: 01/30/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Rural Affairs & Agriculture 

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

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment


HB20-1215

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: 01/30/2020 | Introduced In House – Assigned to Energy & Environment 

Sponsors: Rep. A. Valdez 

Session: 2020 Regular Session

Type: Bill

Subject: Natural Resources & Environment

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.
 
Overview:
 
Microgrids:
 
Fracking in Boulder County:
 
Community Power and Energy Democracy: