Environmental Legislation to Watch
Colorado Environmental Coalition worked with our conservation partners, lawmakers, and members of the business community during the 2012 legislative session to protect Colorado’s land, air and water while fostering economic opportunity in our state. They were fighting hard to advance several exciting legislative priorities including legislation aimed at increasing electronic waste recycling, removing regulatory barriers for electric vehicles, and creating transparency for tax giveaways that can lead to ecologically damaging sprawl.
But that is not all. They were also beating back a number of short-sighted bills that seek to roll back past environmental gains and threaten our burgeoning clean energy economy. Much like last, session, a number of environmentally regressive bills have been introduced. These include measures designed to weaken Colorado’s commitment to renewable energy, derail important water pollution rule-making, and relax oversight of the oil and gas industry.
Promoting Electric Vehicles:
During the 2012 legislative session, Colorado Environmental Coalition is working to open up the market for electric vehicles in Colorado by removing regulatory barriers for electric vehicle charging facilities by working to pass HB 1258. The expansion of charging infrastructure and other economic incentives will make electric vehicles more attractive to consumers. More electric vehicles on Colorado roads will contribute to improved air quality throughout the state.
Creating Jobs by Encouraging Electronic Waste Recycling:
Colorado Environmental Coalition strongly supports SB 133, which would ban large-screen electronic waste from Colorado landfills. Each year Colorado throws away between 40,000 and 161,000 tons of electronic waste; recycling a mere 8,000 tons. When electronics wind up in landfills, they release mercury and other heavy metals, harming the soil, groundwater and air. A landfill ban will keep these toxic chemicals from entering our environment and will also increase the amount of electronic waste that is recycled. This dramatic increase in e-waste recycling is projected to generate thousands of new jobs here in Colorado.
Demanding Transparency for Special Tax Expenditures:
Colorado taxpayers are paying $156 million dollars a year for urban renewal programs with little to no transparency on how their money is spent; while some information may be technically publicly available, it is not easy for a taxpayer to locate and understand this information. Under urban renewal, cities use taxpayer money to help build new developments that are intended to be beneficial to the surrounding community. However, there is a lack of transparency back to the taxpayers who funded the projects on the progress of the projects and the benefits to the community. We are working on a bill that would require transparency and accountability for how these tax dollars are spent.
Protecting Conservation Gains and Green Jobs:
We have made some good advances over the last several years, creating jobs and protecting the environment. Now is the time to implement these policies and make sure we grow the economy, bring jobs to Colorado and ensure our air, water, landscapes and wildlife are protected. We support strong rules and regulations that protect our environment and public health from bad oil and gas operations. Additionally, we want to ensure that uranium mining and processing operations don't leave a toxic legacy for Colorado, and contaminated water or soil is safely cleaned up. Finally, we will strongly oppose any efforts to roll back advances made to protect Colorado's environment and make the state a leader in clean energy job creation.