Democrats’ climate plan advances in Colorado Senate

Joey Bunch | Colorado Politics

Democrats Climate Action Plan to reduce Colorado carbon emissions moved a step closer to reality Monday when a Senate committee gave it another win.

House Bill 1261 passed the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on a 3-2 party-line vote, putting only the toothless Appropriations Committee in its way from moving to the House floor.

The bill sets up a series of goals and potential new rules to help the state meet its aim of reducing carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2025, a 50 percent cut by 2030 and a 90 percent reduction by 2050, based on 2005 emission levels.

Gov. Jared Polis is eager to see the bill before the May 3 adjournment, so he can sign it into law and add the notch to his list of campaign promises.

“We’re in support of goals, not mandates,” Polis said Monday morning. “We’re working with the sponsors to move toward that goal articulation language, and we believe we all have a joint responsibility to work together to help achieve those goals.”

He said that might take future legislation or the work of the regulatory Public Utilities Commission, the governor’s office or other state agencies.

“We look forward to achieving goals that really show Colorado’s leadership in producing cleaner air and reducing our carbon emissions,” Polis said.

The state Air Quality Control Commission would be vested with making rules that help the state get there.

The bill is sponsored in the upper chamber by Sens. Angela Williams of Denver and Faith Winter of Westminster.

“This bill is a Colorado solution to address the increased harm we are experiencing due to climate change, ” Winter said in a statement. “Colorado has already been, and will continue to be, a national leader on this issue.”

Stated Williams: “This bill sets bold goals to reduce pollution while giving the Air Quality Control Commission the flexibility they need to work with stakeholders, industry leaders, and experts to find the best way to get there.

“We do not have to sacrifice our health and our future in order to uphold the strength of our business community. My plan to reduce pollution ensures that we will have an environment for businesses and their patrons to thrive in, both figuratively and literally.”

Sign up with your email address to receive updates.