What They’re Saying About Bills Signed by Governor Polis Legislation to Fight for Clean Air & Ensure Wildfire Preparedness

Thursday, June 2, 2022

LOUISVILLE — Governor Polis is signing bills into law today to fight for clean air and ensure wildfire preparedness. Here’s what community leaders are saying: 

Governor Polis previously signed SB22-206 Disaster Preparedness And Recovery Resources, here’s what community leaders are saying about this landmark law:

“We are excited that the state is providing programming and financial resources through SB 206 that can be used by Marshall Fire survivors and all Coloradans recovering from disasters. The six months preceding the Marshall Fire were some of the driest on record, and likely exacerbated the fire’s severity and impact - the work of the new Office of Climate Preparedness will be critical to ensuring that our disaster response and sustainable rebuilding efforts reflect the urgency and realities of the climate crisis,” Boulder County Commissioner Matt Jones on the importance of SB22- 206.

“Senate Bill 206 will not only help the survivors of horrific climate tragedies like the Marshall Fire get back on their feet again, it enables them to rebuild their homes in a way that will reduce future climate disasters, while lowering utility bills and indoor air pollution. It empowers Coloradans to build back better than ever.” said Elise Jones, Executive Director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project.

“Many hundreds of Coloradans are beginning the process of rebuilding the homes they lost to the Marshall Fire last December. I’m one of them. SB22-206 will help folks now and in the future to ensure climate-friendly progress for Colorado’s built environment. We now have the resources to not only imagine, but to actually build for a better future.  – Susan Nedell, E2’s Mountain West Advocate

Here’s what community leaders are saying about the historic investments made though SB22-193 Air Quality Improvement Investments

"Colorado's leaders listened to the people - over the last two years The Regenerative Recovery Coalition has crowdsourced innovative policy solutions and elevated them to decision makers. It is a powerful force when leaders listen to the people and for the last two legislative sessions this resulted in billions of dollars to build Colorado forward and improve the quality of life for all. We still have a lot of work to do but the progress we have made as a state is incredible. We all want to breathe clean air and Colorado's leaders worked together this year to deliver a package of bills to help improve our air quality. From electric school buses to industrial manufacturing, SB22-193 is amazing progress towards cleaner air for all Coloradans,” - The Alliance Center

“Clean air allows our communities and environment to thrive. These new laws show Colorado’s commitment to reducing pollution,” said Michael Ogletree, Director of the Air Pollution Control Division (APCD). “We’re grateful that this administration has made improving air quality a top priority. These investments will strengthen our ability to monitor air quality, mitigate air pollution, and encourage innovation.”

“Colorado has an air quality problem that impacts all of us, particularly those in disproportionately impacted communities, and it is time for Colorado to step up to help us all breathe easier. Conservation Colorado thanks our legislative champions and Governor Polis for their work on this important progress,” said Conservation Colorado’s Chief Executive Officer, Kelly Nordini.

“The urgency for Colorado to meet our clean air and climate standards has never been greater. Transitioning Colorado school bus fleets from diesel to zero-emission is a particularly important opportunity to reduce the dangerous health impacts of diesel exhaust on some of our state’s most vulnerable people, our children,” - Nick Torres, Advocacy Director, American Lung Association in Colorado

"As a Broomfield family, we live with pollution from oil and gas development, diesel truck traffic, and cars.  Together, these sources of pollution harm the health of families like mine. SB-193 will address pollution from each of these sectors by funding electrification projects that can reduce the use of oil and gas, while making significant investments in electric school buses, methane capture, and allocating funds to help get polluting diesel trucks off the road.  We are grateful for these investments and are counting on Colorado’s leaders to turn their attention to the regulation of these sources of pollution in the coming months." 

-Laurie Anderson, Field Organizer, Moms Clean Air Force Colorado Chapter

"Moms across Colorado are thrilled that we are taking our air pollution problem more seriously and investing in solutions. Because children are particularly susceptible to the damage done by air pollution, an investment in clean air is an investment in our children's health and future," said Jen Clanahan, Colorado State Director of Mountain Mamas. "Air quality on school buses can be up to 10 times more polluted than ambient air so moms are particularly excited about the investments in transitioning old diesel school buses to clean electric buses. Thank you to the legislature and Governor Polis for helping parents keep our children safe.”

 “By eliminating toxic diesel emissions, electric school buses provide a safer alternative for transporting our children while also cutting ozone-causing air pollution from the transportation sector. This is one of the largest per-capita investments by a state in electric school buses and will accelerate the transition to 100% zero-emissions transportation and a cleaner and healthier future in Colorado.”  -- Alex Simon, CoPIRG Advocate

“Ozone continues to be a major health problem for millions of Coloradans living in the nonattainment area. In addition to causing an array of health problems, ozone is a greenhouse gas that fuels the climate crisis and we must take action now. Getting a better handle on oil and gas emissions in Colorado is long overdue so we welcome the funding for increased aerial surveying.” – Marta Loachamin, Chair, Boulder County Commissioners

“Students deserve clean, healthy rides to school – and with this legislation’s historic investment of $65 million in clean-running electric school buses, the state of Colorado is taking a real step forward in making that a reality. WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative is grateful to the advocates across the state who have worked tirelessly to deliver this win for their communities. We applaud Governor Polis for his leadership in proposing this investment and give our thanks to Speaker Moreno, Senate President Fenberg and all the champions throughout the legislature who secured this victory. As this program launches, we look forward to working with the administration to ensure an equitable transition to electric school buses statewide,” – Justin Balik, Senior Manager, State Policy for Transportation Electrification, WRI’s Electric School Bus Initiative.

“By now it is clear that air pollution is a major health, ecological, and economic problem for Colorado. The Colorado Sierra Club is grateful that the legislature and the Governor have chosen to allocate significant funding to address this problem that will facilitate pollution reduction from industries and encourage programs such as electrification of school buses and electric bikes in low-income communities.” - Ramesh Bhatt, Chair of CO Sierra Club Conservation Committee

Here’s what community leaders are saying about HB22-1362 Building Greenhouse Gas Emissions

“Once a building is built, its climate and health impacts are locked in for generations, so it is critical they be as non-polluting as possible,” said Boulder County Commissioner Matt Jones. “That is why we thank our legislators and especially Representatives Tracey Bernett and Alex Valdez and Senator’s Chris Hansen and Faith Winter, who sponsored this crucial energy codes legislation, and Governor Polis for signing it into law. Colorado is building at twice the rate of the rest of the nation. Buildings are a major direct and indirect source of greenhouse gases in Colorado, which means building codes are one of the best levers local governments have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” – Boulder County Commissioner Matt Jones.

“The passage of clean energy building codes will protect Coloradan’s health and wallets for decades to come.  Since buildings account for roughly 20% of the state’s Greenhouse Gas emissions, addressing this important area before thousands of new buildings are constructed will ensure a healthier future for everyone who lives here, and will lower energy costs and make them more consistent year over year, saving Colorado residents energy costs for the life of their home or business. Microgrids are an important tool for saving energy and money as Colorado moves into the future. As climate change threatens more land and infrastructure year after year, the inclusion of self-sustaining microgrids in our Greenhouse Gas Reduction Roadmap will benefit both the electric grid as well as vulnerable communities and residents by improving resilience and diversifying our electricity reliance,” - CCLC (Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate)

“We spend almost 90% of our time indoors as humans (ok Coloradans probably less) and the built environment has an enormous impact on climate. How we design and build really matters for a livable future. HB22-1362 is an important step towards healthier communities through environmentally friendly structures” - The Alliance Center. 

"This bill sets a new standard for cleaner buildings by addressing key areas like electric, solar, low energy, carbon, and green building codes. Together, these pieces provide a framework for Colorado to modernize our construction practices, reduce our GHG emissions, improve our air quality, and save people money in the long-run." - Alex Simon, CoPIRG Advocate

‘HB22-1362 will facilitate adoption of rooftop solar systems, high efficiency heat pumps, and electric vehicles in homes and commercial buildings that do not include these features from the start,” said Meera Fickling, Western Resource Advocates’ Senior Climate Policy Analyst in Colorado. “This will extend the climate benefits of the bill beyond those provided by the energy efficiency improvements in new construction.”

“This statewide baseline will result in better buildings that are more affordable to operate, it reduces both confusion and risk in the construction industry, and increases buying power for sustainable products. This important step drives down Colorado’s contributions to global warming while simultaneously protecting building occupants from the rising cost of energy and the impacts of changing climate,” said Boulder City Council Member and architect Lauren Folkerts, who was thrilled by the passage of HB1362. 

“While Coloradans love being in the Great Outdoors, truth is, we spend most of our hours indoors, inside our homes and businesses. House Bill 1362 protects Colorado’s Great Indoors by ensuring future homes and commercial buildings are built to be efficient, safe, comfortable and healthy – which is good for residents, our economy and the climate,” said Elise Jones, Executive Director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP). “Buildings constructed to the latest energy code will generate lower utility bills, have better indoor air quality, produce less climate pollution, and enable residents to use clean electricity for heating and cooling, as well as powering their cars.”

Here’s what leaders are saying about: SB22-198 Orphaned Oil And Gas Wells Enterprise  

“The Commission, along with all stakeholders, has found an innovative solution for orphaned well sites that will ensure the protection of Colorado’s public health, safety, welfare, wildlife and the environment. By establishing an enterprise, these dedicated funds will allow for sites to be returned to use by communities rather than be potential hazards. We want to thank everyone involved in creating this pragmatic solution that allows for industry’s fees to be used to plug abandoned wells and sites, and improve our lands better than how we found it,” said COGCC Chair Jeff Robbins. 

“I am really proud of this legislation and the 8 years of work and consensus building that led to it. Colorado has created a proactive, long-term solution that will address orphan wells. Moving forward, we know that Colorado, because of its operators, local governments, and engaged citizens, will have the resources to properly address plugging of orphan well sites and ensure that these can be returned to the community for their use. Thank you to all the stakeholders involved in this effort to ensure we are able to reclaim these sites, reduce pollution and protect Colorado’s resources,” said COGCC Director Julie Murphy.    

Here’s what community leaders are saying about  HB22-1013, "Microgrids for Community Resilience Grant Program:

"Colorado's electric co-ops take great pride in providing affordable and reliable electric service to communities throughout Colorado. Storms, fires, and natural disasters are a growing threat to many of our rural communities. HB22-1013 will mitigate these threats and enable electric co-ops to obtain funding to deploy microgrids. Microgrids will improve community resiliency and support critical services to schools, hospitals and other important critical infrastructure in the event of such disasters. We appreciate the work of Reps. Pelton and Snyder and Sens. Hisey and Winter, as well as the support of Governor Polis in advancing this important state policy,” - Kent Singer Executive Director, Colorado Rural Electric Association

"The Microgrid Resources Coalition applauds Governor Polis and Rep. Bernett for their leadership in ensuring a cleaner, more reliable and resilient energy future for Colorado communities and businesses. Microgrids leverage proven technologies, configured to meet the unique needs of each customer, to provide 24/7 electricity even when the grid is down.  With a particular focus on critical facilities, infrastructure and high-risk communities, this effort sets a valuable example for other states to follow.”  Pierson Stoecklein, Head of Policy at Mainspring Energy and Chair of the Microgrid Resources Coalition

Here’s what community leaders are saying about  HB22-1249 Electric Grid Resilience And Reliability Roadmap

“HB22-1249 helps Colorado think carefully about how to configure the electrical grid in the 21st century to improve resilience and reliability. As the planet warms and extreme weather becomes more frequent and extreme, it will be important to optimize investments in small ("micro") electrical grids that can island and minimize their reliance on long-distance transmission lines which are now so often taken down by fires, wind, storms and other extreme weather events,” - Leslie Glustrom, Senior Advisor Clean Energy Action

"There is no silver bullet for climate change. We need to weave together as many solutions as possible and fast. Microgrids serve as a vital part of the clean energy future and I am proud to see Colorado advancing such important work as in HB22-1249,” - The Alliance Center. 

“AEE is pleased to see House Bill 22-1249 and HB 22-1013 signed into law today. Microgrids are proven grid resiliency solutions that can reliably keep the lights on for communities and critical facilities such as hospitals, schools, grocery stores, and community centers during natural disasters and other extreme conditions that exert strain on our power grid,” said Emilie Olson, Policy Principal for Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), a national association of businesses spanning the advanced energy and transportation industry. “These bills will help put Colorado on track to harness the largely untapped potential of these clean energy technologies in the state to date. We are excited to see Colorado’s microgrid market take off in the near future with the support of smart planning, initial public investment, and sound policy. It is timely to be looking at how we can call on microgrids, along with other local clean energy strategies, more and more to help maintain energy security for communities with affordable clean back-up in the wake of wildfires and other sources of extended electricity outages.” 

Here’s what community leaders are saying about SB22-051:
“We want to thank Senator Hansen and Representative Sirota for bringing this pro-environment and pro-labor legislation forward, and Governor Polis for signing it,” said BlueGreen Alliance Western States Director Chris Markuson. “This is a bold step to decrease costs of construction, helping consumers access materials and technology that are better for the planet, and for reinforcing strong labor standards that properly ensure the most complex emissions reductions work in large buildings is done by highly skilled union workers.”

Here’s what community leaders are saying about HB22-1244 Public Protections From Toxic Air Contaminants

"As communities, like Broomfield, have implemented enhanced air quality monitoring, we have seen spikes in toxic air contaminants that are concerning. The Air Quality Control Commission now has the authority to set health-based standards that are more stringent than the federal Clean Air Act. The increased air toxics monitoring under HB-1244 will provide a window into what's actually in our air, what's truly concerning, and thereby set protective limits based on real data” - Laurie Anderson, Broomfield City Councilmember.

"I want to thank Governor Polis and the Colorado legislature for passing this important piece of legislation.  Not only will it improve air quality in the Metro Denver Region, it will also help public health agencies understand and mitigate air pollutants that impact health.  This is especially true for those communities that live in close proximity to air pollution sources." - Jason Vahling, Metro Denver Partnership for Health Co-Chair and Director of the Broomfield Department of Public Health and Environment.

“Health professionals have been voicing their concerns about the myriad of negative health outcomes that Colorado communities are susceptible to when exposed to toxic pollution.” said Sabrina Pacha, Director of Healthy Air and Water Colorado. “HB22-1244 is an important and long overdue step to protect Coloradans health by implementing health based standards for some of the toxic emissions that have been hurting our health for decades.”

"When we protect people from pollution, we are improving their health, and supporting their ability to work and seek educational opportunities," says Naomi Amaha, director of policy and government affairs for The Denver Foundation. "This bill will ultimately impact the quality of life for so many in Colorado. Thanks to Rep. Kennedy, Rep. Gonzales-Gutierrez, Sen. Gonzales, and Gov. Polis for making this possible."

"HB1244 provides a good starting point for a very workable and science-based solution to the problem of toxic air pollution in Colorado. It recognizes that the time to act on air toxics is now and sets Colorado up to be a state leader on this issue. The Colorado Sierra Club is extremely supportive of this effort by our state to adopt our own standards and methods to address toxic pollution." - Ramesh Bhatt, Colorado Sierra Club Conservation Chair.