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Conservation Colorado and conservation community partners released our 2015 legislative agenda with a focus on innovative measures to keep Colorado in the forefront of energy efficiency, water conservation, protecting our nation’s legacy of universal access to all of America’s public lands, and protections for local communities facing the ongoing impacts of heavy industrial drilling and fracking.
“Coloradans treasure our mountains, clean water and air, and easily accessible open spaces and they expect their elected representatives to reflect these strong conservation values,” said Pete Maysmith, Executive Director, Conservation Colorado.
In 2015, the conservation community will pursue legislation to increase energy efficiency programs to encourage construction and retrofit or renovation of highly efficient buildings. Complementing years of progress on expanding renewable energy, energy efficiency measures are a vital component to Colorado’s energy future.
“Colorado is already a strong leader in pursuing energy efficiency policies but there is more we can do to provide incentives to encourage energy efficiency in construction and renovation of existing buildings,” said Will Toor, Southwestern Energy Efficiency Project. “Not only does energy efficiency reduce carbon pollution but it enables businesses and homeowners to save money on their utility bills.”
Water remains the lifeblood of Colorado and our state has pursued a number of successful water conservation policies to keep more water in our rivers and streams while more efficiently using water in our homes and to grow our food. But work remains to be done in order to ensure we’re making the most of our limited water supplies.
Chief among these next steps includes making innovative tools available to Coloradans that will educate them on their water use and encourage them to use water more efficiently. “Household rain barrels are a gateway to water fluency, yet they are mostly illegal in Colorado,” said Drew Beckwith, Water Policy Manager, Western Resource Advocates. “Allowing our residents to use rain barrels will build a conservation ethic in the populace, foster a deeper connection to water in the state, and will not impact other water users.”
While the Colorado conservation community will work hard to move proactive legislation, we will strive equally as hard to defeat measures which roll back our gains in expanding wind and solar energy or any attempt to reduce Coloradans’ access to our favorite fishing, camping, hiking and hunting spots on our national public lands. We fully expect to see bills to allow the seizure of America’s public lands and hand control over to state government.
“Colorado hunters, anglers, and outdoors enthusiasts will strongly resist any attempt to sell off federal public lands in Colorado and give control of them to our already cash strapped and overburdened state government. It would be a bad deal for Coloradans because people will lose access to long treasured family camping sites, fishing spots, or favorite hiking trails,” said Suzanne O’Neill, Executive Director, Colorado Wildlife Federation. “Our outdoor heritage is a defining characteristic of Coloradans and we will vigorously work to defend our right to use and enjoy all of our public lands as we have for generations.”
Finally, the conservation community will closely follow the Governor’s oil and gas task force as it concludes its deliberations and forwards recommendations to the Governor and the Colorado legislature.
“It is critical the Governor’s oil and gas task force recommend meaningful reforms to address Coloradans ongoing concerns with the impacts of oil and gas development, “ said Pete Maysmith. “Fundamentally, we believe the State should provide the floor for oil and gas oversight and our local governments provide the ceiling to enforce adequate protections as each community sees fit. Anything less from the taskforce will fall far short of reducing conflicts and will force Coloradans to pursue other means to properly protect their homes, public health and property values.”
More 2015 Colorado legislation coverage here.