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Joey BunchJoey BunchMarch 17, 201813min335
Today’s jaw-dropper from @RepMikeFoote — “Colorado law currently gives the oil and gas industry virtually unfettered power to force an unwilling mineral rights owner to sell” #coleg https://t.co/AcAhGyrMon — Jessica Goad (@jessica_goad) March 12, 2018 @Merrifield_SD11 has a snack and reads comics as Dems filibuster the transportation bill. They say this is to raise policy […]

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Joey BunchJoey BunchMarch 1, 20184min2435
Conservation Colorado Cory Gardner
(Courtesy of Conservation Colorado)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is doing some good for Conservation Colorado, but perhaps not in the way he would like.

The state’s largest environment organization sent out a fundraising e-mail Wednesday with the Republican from Yuma as its centerpiece.

Here’s what the pitch from deputy director Jessica Goad said, in part:

Wow. We knew Senator Cory Gardner was bad on environmental and public health issues, but after looking at his entire voting record from 2017 now we know that he actually couldn’t be any worse. He just received an abysmal zero percent score in the League of Conservation Voters’ most recent environmental scorecard.

This is shameful … Despite the fact that the vast majority of Coloradans care about our land, air, and water, Cory Gardner has repeatedly sided with President Trump’s relentless attacks on the environment and public health. Instead of representing the values and needs of his constituents, he endorsed the administration’s anti-environment agenda.

Gardner’s office declined to return fire.

Gardner wasn’t the only Coloradan rated by the League of Conservation voters this week:

  • Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Denver – 84 percent
  • Rep. Jared Polis, D-Bouler – 100 percent
  • Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Arvada – 100 percent
  • Rep. Diana Degette, D-Denver – 89 percent
  • Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez – 6 percent
  • Rep. Ken Buck, R-Greeley – 6 percent
  • Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora – 6 percent
  • Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs – 0 percent

You can read the national report card by clicking here.

Goad continued on Gardner’s case: “Cory Gardner voted to confirm anti-environment nominees like Oklahoma oil and gas proponent Scott Pruitt and Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson in Trump’s cabinet. He voted against common sense safety measures protecting us from methane and air pollution. He voted for a resolution to block public input on how our federal government manages public lands. He voted for the tax package that gives huge tax breaks to billionaires and corporations, exploding the deficit which could be used as a future justification for massive cuts to environmental and other critical programs. And the list goes on.”

The same day, Gardner sent out a video showing his speech on the Senate floor to bring the Bureau of Lane Management headquarters to the West, preferably Colorado.

“Grand Junction, Colorado, is a beautiful place that can accommodate an agency headquarters and has the benefit of a populace that is intimately familiar with public land management policy and decision-making,” Gardner said.

“Making this agency more accountable to the people who have to deal with its management decisions by putting its headquarters among the land it manages would be a great start to modernizing for the next 100 years.”


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Joey BunchJoey BunchJanuary 5, 20182min969

Seasoned Colorado politico Maria Handley will lead Conservation Colorado while the search continues for ta permanent executive director, the state’s largest and highest profile environmental organization tells Colorado Politics.

Most immediately, Handley was the executive director of Generation Latino, but she’s familiar in Colorado political circles after 15 years working on campaigns, including those for former U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar and for presidential candidate Howard Dean.

Pete Maysmith announced in September he was stepping down from Conservation Colorado to be the senior vice president of campaigns for the national League of Conservation Voters.

“Conservation Colorado helped achieve many important victories over the last several years, and we don’t want to lose momentum during this all-important year for Coloradans as the Trump administration attacks critical protections for our environment and public health,” said Diane Carman, who chairs the boards of Conservation Colorado and Conservation Colorado Education Fund.

The board also announced that Jace Woodrum will be the organization’s communications director, succeeding Jessica Goad, who is now Conservation Colorado’s deputy executive director

Woodrum has more than a decade in communications, working as a spokesman for the Gill Foundation and One Colorado.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchDecember 19, 20171min881

Conservation Colorado has a history of picking winners with its endorsement, and they’re favoring Rep. Faith Winter in her run for state Senate next year.

Winter, a Democrat from Westminster, hopes to take on Republican incumbent Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik of Thornton in District 24. Thornton City Councilman Adam Matkowsky dropped out of the Democratic primary this week and plans to run as an independent.

Conservation Colorado, the state’s largest environmental organization, is a major player at the Capitol. In last year’s election, 54 of the 60 candidates Conservation Colorado endorsed went on to win.

“She’s a huge champion when it comes to protecting our air, land, water and communities at the state legislature, and we’re thrilled to throw our support behind her,” Jessica Goad, deputy director of Conservation Colorado, told us. “She has a 100 percent lifetime score on our annual legislative scorecard.”

Martinez Humenik has a lifetime score of 31 percent, Goad said.

Martinez Humenik was elected to the Senate in 2014, the same year Winter was elected to the state House.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchNovember 10, 20175min1093

Conservation Colorado is this juggernaut green organization that gives state and national candidates the heebie-jeebies in the West’s political wilds. Last year, 54 of the 60 candidates it endorsed went on to win.

And whenever legislation affecting the environment, large or small, is debated at the Capitol in Denver, Conservation Colorado is there in big ways and small.

But this year Conservation Colorado made its first municipal-level endorsements in Aurora Wards I and II.

Michal Rosenoer, the organization’s Front Range field manager, and her organization also helped campaign for Crystal Murillo and Nicole Johnston, too.

“This election is also an important triumph of progressive values and people-power over oil and gas-backed interests,” Rosenoer said. “Despite industry front group Vital for Colorado investing hundreds of thousands of dollars on these and other local races at the eleventh hour, voters ultimately picked candidates who pledged to stand up for our right to clean air, open spaces, and healthy communities.”

She also said, “Crystal and Nicole will bring a much-needed focus on diversity and inclusivity to the Aurora City Council, and will be champions on issues including oil and gas, transportation, growth, and social and environmental justice.”

The day after the election, however, Rosenoer, the Front Range leader, was tweeting about what was going down on the Western Slope the day before the election.

A protest over methane gas in Durango clearly warmed the spirits of the state’s largest environmental organization, which seems to have a lot of fires on a lot of fronts these days. (Donald Trump is good for business, if you make being your business.)

The Durango Herald’s Jonathan Romero reported that about 100 people gathered in a Durango park to raise a ruckus over Trump’s rollback of bipartisan rules passed last year to prevent methane leaks from oil and gas wells on public lands controlled by the Bureau of Land Management.

“Without this rule our county could face terrible health impacts,” Kellie Pettyjohn, a local farmer, told the Herald. “We don’t want this one-year delay. We want this rule in place.”

Based on rules first adopted in Colorado, the BLM methane rule would affect more than 100,000 wells that Romero reports can release up to 180,000 tons of methane annual a year. Moreover that’s methane that could be captured and sold to bring in additional money for schools and other public projects.

Conservation Colorado was all over the local activism.

Lisa Pool, Conservation Colorado’s field organizer for Durango, told us more:

“It was remarkable to see how well the protest was attended and how passionate people were about the subject,” she told Colorado Politics. “Here in Durango we suffer from a cloud of methane pollution, so the issue is visceral for people. They were infuriated not only by the proposed delay, but also by how limited the public is allowed to be engaged by the process. Protestors of all ages were fired up and chanting throughout.”

The organization Thursday announced it’s promoting communications director Jessica Goad to deputy director, where she’ll “work more directly on elections, campaigns, building the team, and helping hire a new executive director.” Pete Maysmith stepped down as the organization’s leader last month to take on a national role with the League of Conservation Voters.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyAugust 24, 20173min1755

The crowded race for Aurora City Council could turn into a real barn-burner with the attention it’s drawing — especially from progressive groups.

We told you last week about progressive group Colorado People’s Action throwing its support behind four candidates for council, promising to canvass neighborhoods in an effort to increase turnout.

Well, now the state’s largest environmental group, Conservation Colorado, has endorsed two candidates for the traditionally conservative-leaning city council. The group has endorsed Crystal Murillo in Ward 1 and Nicole Johnston in Ward 2 for the council. There are 26 candidates vying for five seats on the council.

“We were impressed by their commitment to protecting Aurora from pollution, their desire to ensure that growth is reflective of community needs, and their passion for creating a more inclusive government in Aurora,” spokesperson Jessica Goad said in an email to Colorado Politics.

While the Denver-based group has in the past prioritized state legislative and statewide races, with an occasional county commission race thrown in the mix, Conservation Colorado endorsed candidates for municipal office for the first time this election cycle, Goad said. Last year, the group spent $1.3 million on state legislative races.

As the third-largest city in the state, Aurora drew the group’s eye because of its ethnically-and racially-diverse populace and hopes to help elect candidates that can influence city policy on environmental issues like oil, gas and public transportation.

“We are planning to knock doors, make phone calls, and hit the pavement to help these candidates win,” she said.

The group already organizes in Aurora, through its Protégete program, a joint Conservation Colorado and League of Conservation Voters program which seeks to “elevate Latino voices.”
Though the seats on the City Council are non-partisan, Aurora City Council is known for its conservative leanings. A Westword report in 2015 detailed Aurora as among the 10 most conservative cities in the country.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 12, 20177min852

How’s that again? Republicans were the original environmentalists? Conservatives — particularly in the West — should find it easy being green? That’s what John Andrews seems to be telling us.

And when Andrews talks, Colorado’s Republicans and conservatives tend to listen. The former state Senate president, onetime presidential speechwriter, serial think-tank founder and all-around political and moral compass for the Centennial State’s right commands broad respect. All the way across the philosophical spectrum, in fact.

Which is probably why he is the point-man helping spread the word about a new group — dare we call it an environmental group? — that hails from, yes, the right side of the political fence. A mass-email from Andrews today introduces us to The Western Way, which bills itself as a movement of “Conservative stewards of the western environment.”

Writes Andrews in his e-missive:

As Westerners who love liberty, limited government, and the land, it’s high time we stop letting the bicoastal progressives claim heartland conservatives and the GOP want to despoil the environment. What lot of bovine scatology.

Conservatives don’t care about the earth? Please. No one cares more about conserving America’s natural and spiritual heritage than we do.

…throughout our country’s history conservatives have been leaders in preserving natural lands and creating policies that benefit the economy and the environment in equal measure.

Hence, Western Way. Its leadership, membership and even headquarters aren’t yet clear from the group’s slick-but-seemingly-startup-phase website. No contact info; just a page where you can sign up for email newsletters.

However, its core message is straightforward — and represents what many might regard as a breathtaking departure from prevailing conservative orthodoxy on environmental issues.

Consider:

An honest read of the facts and data demonstrates that there are serious problems with our climate and environment.  That is not a political or philosophical statement, it is the only conclusion one can reach based on facts and science.  It is not the role of conservatives to understate the problem in order to balance out extreme interests exaggerating the problem.   Conservatives must fly above the fray and be honest in defining the problems and solutions.

And:

…The evidence for human-caused climate change has converged from multiple lines of evidence, been vetted by skeptical reviews, and presents a consistent and cohesive view. No critical theory or invocation of “natural variability” can claim the same….

Another challenge to conventional wisdom is the group’s premise that conservatives must take back an environmental movement that was originally theirs:

Conservatives have led the most significant conservation efforts in the western United States and yet extreme interests have recently created the false narrative that conservatives do not value the environment.

Conservatives must reclaim leadership on this critical issue by identifying the real environmental and conservation challenges facing our country and driving the most efficient solutions to those challenges.

The website recaps landmark environmental policies by Republican presidents including that champion of public lands, Teddy Roosevelt, as well as Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Is the proposed new face of conservatism at least in part a reaction to the Trump administration’s more blunt approach to rolling back environmental regulations of the Obama administration — and the fierce push-back it’s getting from Democrats and environmentalists? That does seem to figure in, to hear Andrews:

…if we tense up, retreat behind polarized arguments, and let others define the debate, we’re left without a seat at the table. Classic self-sabotage. Enough of that!

The dramatically changed political landscape of 2017 offers a perfect opportunity for Republicans and the center-right to start being environmentally proactive again and advance constructive, conservative solutions.

We’ll have to stay tuned as Western Way’s agenda for action develops, and we figure out exactly what kind of role the new movement will play.

Pending that, we reached out to the more conventional (re: left-of-center) environmental movement for its assessment of what Western Way seems to represent. There wasn’t a trace of snark or even skepticism in a reply from Jessica Goad, communications director for Conservation Colorado. She actually welcomed the development.

“We’ve long made the case that Westerners from across the political spectrum care about issues like creating clean-energy jobs, cleaning up our air and protecting our parks and public lands. From our perspective, more groups coming to the table to work together to protect what makes Colorado great is important and beneficial.”

 


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John TomasicJohn TomasicApril 19, 20175min447

Colorado lawmakers are inching toward outlawing “coal rolling,” the practice of adjusting the workings of a diesel truck in order to let loose at will clouds of unfiltered exhaust as a form of cultural protest in an age of electric cars and climate change. The state Senate voted on Wednesday to pass a revised version of a bill that would make rolling coal a traffic infraction and subject drivers to a $100 fine.


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Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinFebruary 20, 20177min338

One of Colorado's U.S. Senators is strongly opposed to a measure that would roll back an Obama administration rule to prevent the flaring and wasting of methane and natural gas developed on public and tribal lands, while the second is undecided. The rule was among several environmental regulations issued in the last days of the Obama administration. The U.S. House invoked the rarely used Congressional Review Act to reverse the rule. Colorado Republican U.S. Reps. Scott Tipton, Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman voted for House Joint Resolution 36 to repeal the rule on Feb. 3, while Democratic U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis voted to keep the rule in place. The measure passed by a 221-191 tally. It had yet to have its first Senate committee hearing.


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John TomasicJohn TomasicFebruary 3, 20174min402

Frustrated Coloradans have been <a href="https://durangoherald.com/articles/131466-frustrated-residents-seek-response-from-sen-cory-gardner" target="_blank">complaining</a> since Inauguration Day that Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner won't answer their calls or return email messages. They have called to complain about President Donald Trump's cabinet nominations and executive orders. They're worried about environmental and civil rights proposals. They want to know where Gardner stands and why he stands where he stands. The list of concerns is growing longer not shorter. And a new round of phone calls is set to begin.