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Ray ScottRay ScottOctober 20, 20176min3320

The Environmental Protection Agency has published official notice of plans to withdraw the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). States will no longer be required to meet the specific carbon emission goals mandated by the CPP and will be free to develop their own goals and emission standards for power plants.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyOctober 13, 20172min3440

Sending a “strong signal that innovative and sustained climate leadership is a priority in Colorado,” the state and a climate change action advocacy group will co-host a series of forums this winter focusing on climate preparedness and clean energy development.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, dozens of elected state and local officials and business leaders will take part in the Colorado Communities Symposium — a series of plenary sessions, training events and roundtable discussions, workshops, networking events and an awards dinner — held Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 in Aurora.

“Communities across Colorado, from Durango to Wray, are proving that the clean energy transition can benefit every Coloradan,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a press statement Wednesday. “Through this symposium, the state will support locally-led climate and sustainability efforts by providing a forum for local government officials to build capacity and share best practices for with each other.”

The conference’s agenda will be steered by a committee headed by former Gov. Bill Ritter and Colorado State University’s Brad Udall among other state leaders.

The forum will piggyback on Hickenlooper’s climate executive order announced over the summer which promised Colorado would join the U.S. Climate Alliance and would meet its climate goals despite the White House’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords. The executive order signed by Hickenlooper sets a goal of reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions from 2012 levels by 26 percent by 2025 and by 35 percent by 2030.

“It is critical that state and local governments come together, align efforts and substantially scale up their capacity to drive successful climate change strategies if we want to ensure security and continued prosperity for our businesses and communities,” said Daniel Kreeger, executive director of the Association of Climate Change Officers. “We are honored to partner with Governor Hickenlooper’s administration and Colorado local government leaders to administer this vital forum.”


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Kelly SloanKelly SloanOctober 5, 20176min2170

The failure of the Graham-Cassidy health care bill may have signaled the termination of the GOP’s anemic efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, at least in one fell partisan swoop (much like the ACA itself was introduced); but it didn’t, of course, terminate the problems generated by the enormous law it sought to partially dismantle. Nor did its demise solve the riddle of how to reconcile retention of Obamacare’s more popular elements – chiefly its treatment, however sloppily, of the pre-existing conditions question – with fiscally prudent reforms.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirSeptember 28, 20172min3640

Ellen Golombek will be leaving her role as executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment at the end of October, the office of Gov. John Hickenlooper announced. The office issued a statement from Hickenlooper today crediting Golombek with having “transformed” the labor department since taking the helm in 2011. The statement said she will “pursue an opportunity with a national workforce advocacy agency.”

Hick praised Golombek at length:

“She brought together coalitions to advance workforce solutions, led regulatory reforms on behalf of business and created a culture of engagement and accountability within CDLE. She will be missed.”

According to the press release, Golombek implement a number of reforms during her tenure, including leading a 2012 effort to issue $625 million in unemployment compensation bonds so that the unemployment insurance trust fund would be solvent. That move turned off the solvency surcharge that had been assessed against Colorado businesses since 2004 and eliminated the interest payments on money borrowed from the federal government to pay unemployment benefits.

She has a long history in organized labor. She previously served 10 years as president of the Colorado AFL-CIO and before that worked with the Service Employees International Union. She was also National Political and Field Director for Planned Parenthood in Washington, D.C.


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Marianne GoodlandSeptember 19, 20176min211
Gov. John Hickenlooper Monday responded to criticism from Republican lawmakers and others about the special session he called last week to address a mistake made in the hospital provider fee law. The measure, signed into law on May 30, is intended to spare hospitals from a greater than half-billion budget cut in 2017-18. The law […]

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Marianne GoodlandSeptember 18, 20178min648
Colorado and its western neighbors have done well economically, according to Gov. John Hickenlooper, but a low unemployment rate, at around 2.4 percent, is creating its own problems: Workers lack the the skills necessary to attract new businesses or help expand existing ones. Hickenlooper, along with South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, spoke on Monday at […]

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Paula NoonanPaula NoonanSeptember 8, 20174min1620

A recent poll conducted by Chris Keating of Keating Research, a polling and survey firm that consults primarily for Democrats including Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, reveals that Colorado’s political environment parallels the nation’s, but preferences on energy issues are distinctly Coloradan.  The results come from 605 active voters, with a margin of error at 4 percent, plus or minus.

As with the country as a whole, Coloradans hold President Donald Trump at 40% favorable to 58% unfavorable, and give Gov. John Hickenlooper a 60% favorable to 32% unfavorable rating.  Numbers are more contrasting at the Very Unfavorable level, with 51% Very Unfavorable for Trump and 19% Very Unfavorable for Hickenlooper.

Since Keating works mostly for the left side of the aisle, it’s important to look at his call list.  He called 48% men and 52% women.  His age range was 18-24 at 10% up to 70+ at 15%.  Voters with children age 18 or younger comprised 27% of the sample and the split by party affiliation was 25% Democrat, 26% Republican, and 45% Independent. Colorado’s active voter registration actually divides almost equally at 32% Dem to 32% GOP to 36% Unaffiliated.

Happily, the survey shows that 64% of Coloradans think the state is headed in the “right direction” with 28% favoring the down side.

The poll’s main purpose was to explore voter commitment to four energy types as sources for development: coal, wind, solar and natural gas.  It sought especially to pinpoint voters’ views on what energy sources should increase or decrease in use.  Coloradans now have a dim view of coal, with 57% of respondents saying its use should decrease and only 18% choosing to increase its use.  Wind (+76%) and especially solar (+84%) showed the most support for increased use, with natural gas at +36%.

The survey suggests that Coloradans from both political parties want public utilities to collaborate on reducing carbon emissions: 89% agree/11% disagree.  Voters want the state to work with utilities to increase the use of clean renewable energy at 95% agree/5% disagree.  Almost 50% of voters support increasing the state’s 30% renewable energy standard to over 50%.  Most Coloradans (83%) want to take control of their energy future without waiting for the federal government to jump in.

The polling numbers indicate that Xcel’s recent decisions to add more renewable energy to its portfolio makes sense.  Closing coal plants is apparently generally acceptable to Coloradans.

Clearly, renewable solar and wind power are popular. Natural gas is holding its own despite opposition to drilling from some cities along the northern Front Range.

These results have implications for the 2018 governor and legislator races on both Democratic and Republican sides.  Democratic candidates can feel comfortable promoting more renewables.  The effect of fracking vs. anti-fracking positions on voter preference is less clear.

Republicans face a different picture in the primaries and general election.  Anti-climate change Republicans may be in sync with a majority in their party during the primary season.  But that position is deeply out of sync with a majority of voters who will cast ballots in the general election.

One other interesting set of data.  While 45% of the polled population identified as independent voters, only 25% viewed themselves as moderates.  These individuals were outnumbered by liberals at 34% and conservatives at 38%. It appears there’s a muddy middle spectrum of voters, a minority, who support reduced-carbon energy policy.  They will make a difference in how the general election turns out.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirSeptember 7, 20176min3720
Chuck Smith

Colorado was the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana, and being the first in anything poses both significant challenges and unique opportunities.

Consider that in just three and a half years, Colorado’s cannabis industry has evolved from opening the doors to the first marijuana retail store to becoming the fastest-growing business sector in the state, creating thousands of jobs and generating more than half a billion dollars in tax revenue. And as a truly local industry with an economic impact of $2.4 billion, the money generated in Colorado stays in Colorado.

Members of the cannabis industry are also an integral part of the community. We are entrepreneurs and small-business owners who create jobs and pay taxes.  Our employees and co-workers include laboratory technicians, farmers and security guards. It is estimated that over 18,000 Coloradans are employed in the industry. We are your neighbors, the parents sitting next to you at PTA meetings, and volunteers at the town fundraiser. And we are proud that marijuana tax revenue has helped fund school drop-out and bullying prevention programs, substance abuse and mental health services, college scholarships, homelessness programs and local road improvements.

The rapid growth of the industry has not come without challenges. By partnering with elected officials and regulators, law enforcement, public health leaders, and others, the cannabis industry has worked hard to help shape Colorado’s comprehensive regulatory framework that protects public health and safety while fostering a positive business climate.  When unforeseen or unintended consequences of legalization have surfaced, we worked side-by-side with those same state and community leaders to find solutions. In fact, Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman recently co-wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling Colorado’s system “a model for other states and nations.”

As business owners, parents, concerned citizens, and proud Coloradans, we take our responsibility to protect the health and safety of the public seriously. We vehemently oppose driving while under the influence of marijuana. But voicing concerns is not enough, which is why industry members are part the Colorado Task Force for Drunk and Impaired Driving and work with the Colorado Department of Transportation on its public education campaign warning of the dangers of impaired driving.

It is also why the marijuana industry has proactively launched public service campaigns on safe and responsible marijuana consumption, including advising consumers not to take marijuana across state lines.  And perhaps most critically, the industry has undertaken numerous steps to ensure children and teenagers don’t have access to legal marijuana. Retail shops enforce stringent ID policies, and the industry has educated adults on ways to keep marijuana in their homes locked away from kids.  The industry has also worked with state regulators and elected officials to ensure edibles have childproof packaging and do not include forms appealing to children, such as animals, people or fruit.

We are encouraged that youth marijuana use in the state has not increased and that the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health actually shows a 12 percent reduction.  And while we are also encouraged to see the number of drivers the Colorado State Patrol considered impaired by marijuana drop 21 percent in the first half of 2017 as compared to same time period the year before, we support the development of reliable detection technology and data collection to make our roads safer.

People may think they know Colorado’s cannabis industry. But too often, it is the stereotypes and one-dimensional portrayals of the industry that shape public perception. As business leaders who believe that a responsible cannabis industry is an integral part of Colorado’s community, we aim to change that perception through public education and fact-based discussions.