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Joey BunchJoey BunchSeptember 20, 20176min353
With allies like Joe Salazar and Jared Polis, who needs Republicans? Salazar, a Democratic state representative running for attorney general next year, called out Democrats running for governor Wednesday, Jared Polis and . former state Sen, Mike Johnston want to move the state to 100 percent renewable energy sources by 204o. In an “open letter” […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchSeptember 20, 20174min4530

Boulder-based Western Resource Advocates and Denver-based Conservation Colorado are releasing a report Wednesday that analyzes policies the legislature and state agencies could adopt to reduce carbon pollution and help fight off climate change.

The document backs goals set by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in his July executive order on climate change.

The report shows asks current and future legislators to:

  • Adopt a statewide goal to reduce carbon pollution by at least 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and by 90 percent by 2050. (Hickenlooper’s order set a goal of a 26 percent reduction by 2025, “but we must build on that by establishing pollution limits for 2030 and 2050,” the two environmental groups said in a joint statement.)
  • Advance policies that reduce carbon pollution in electricity, transportation, industrial, commercial and other sectors.
  • Enact a market-based cap on carbon pollution. The groups cited a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade program as possibilities.

The full report should be  available on both organizations’ websites today.

While interesting goals, the proposals have little chance of getting through the current legislature. Democrats hold a solid House majority, a nine-seat edge in the 65-member chamber, but Republicans control the Senate, 18-17. The statehouse GOP won’t budge on their support for oil and gas production. They look upon such recommendations from the left with extreme skepticism.

Next year, however, is an election that should shift the balance of power, potentially putting a Republican in the governor’s office, or Democrats could take the majority in the Senate.

Climate-change activists point to the high stakes.

”Climate change is already causing more severe wildfires, droughts, flooding and other harm to our communities and current carbon pollution reduction plans are not enough to avoid even more severe impacts in the future,” Jon Goldin Dubois, president of Western Resource Advocates, said in a statement. “Our state, businesses, local governments, and communities need to get behind comprehensive statewide action on climate change to reduce carbon pollution by 45 percent by 2030 and to ensure a healthy and resilient economy.”

Pete Maysmith, the executive director of Conservation Colorado, the state’s largest environmental organization, said the report offers a path forward on climate change.

“Gov. Hickenlooper’s important actions on climate change this summer set us on the right path, and now we need to embrace the challenge and implement specific policies that grow our clean energy economy and defend against the impact of climate change that we’re already feeling in our state.”

Here is the governor’s executive order on climate change.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchSeptember 20, 20174min7000

In some races, certain endorsements matter much more than others, and Jared Polis bagged a big one early in the Democratic race for governor Wednesday.

Colorado Politics is the first to report that the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ Colorado State Conference of Electrical Workers is backing the congressman from Boulder in the nine-candidate Democratic primary. Polis, in turn, cites the union’s role in his energy and infrastructure plans.

The high-profile union picked Polis over other such well-known Democrats as Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy and Denver businessman Noel Ginsburg.

While labor unions aren’t as politically potent as they used to, the endorsement remains coveted in Democratic circles.

On the other hand, it will continue to stir up Republican ire against Polis, which already includes his 2014 support for ballot initiatives to throttle fracking and the fact he’s one of the four millionaires most often credited with bringing the Democratic Party back to relevance in Colorado with his money and politically strategic activism.

Polis campaign boasted that the IBEW is one of Colorado’s oldest and largest labor unions in the state with about 7,000 licensed electricians, residential wiremen and utility workers.

“Jared Polis has held a strong record of supporting workers rights, energy independence, infrastructure investment and apprenticeship training in Congress and we are excited to support his campaign to lead our state into the future,” Jim Mantele, president of the IBEW Colorado State Conference of Electrical Workers, said in a statement. “Jared is committed to listening to working families and making sure that they have a strong voice in his future administration. IBEW supports Jared’s plans for our state and we will be mobilizing our members to help his campaign succeed.”

Polis’s campaign said his “bold” agenda supports working families, including all-day preschool and kindergarten, addressing transportation and other infrastructure needs and moving the state to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2040,

Polis sees the IBEW having a role in the energy and infrastructure discussions, his campaign said.

“I am deeply honored to have the support of IBEW in this campaign,” Polis said in a statement. “IBEW brings deep expertise to our cause on energy policy, infrastructure investment and workforce development through their excellent apprenticeship training programs. Organized labor is an important part of making economic growth work for everyone and I’m honored to be the candidate for governor of Colorado who working families proudly support. Our campaign welcomes IBEW to our team.”

Since 2013, the IBEW PAC has given almost $33,000 to Colorado candidates, all of the them Democrats, records from the Secretary of State’s Office show.

The Colorado State Conference of Electrical Workers is even more prolific in giving in races. In its last quarterly financial report, the organization’s small donor committee had $104,630 in its account. The committee spent more than $50,000 on state legislative races last November, records show.

Polis campaign said he won’t take PAC money.

(Editor’s note: This story was updated to include that Polis won’t accept money from political action committees.)



Tom RamstackTom RamstackSeptember 19, 20176min109
Washington — Witnesses at a Senate hearing Tuesday urged a crackdown on Internet sites that encourage sex trafficking in a problem that has touched Colorado as much as other states. They said current laws make it too easy for websites to escape responsibility for their wrongdoing by arguing they are acting within their free speech […]

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