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Colorado’s conservation community praised a productive 2012 legislative session, which they entered with priorities to create jobs and clean up our air and water.
Conservationists accomplished precisely that, highlighting two major bipartisan bills passed with wide majorities and signed into law: the Electronic Recycling Jobs Act (SB 133) which creates 2,500 jobs and the Electric Vehicles Act (HB 1258) which will kick start the electronic vehicle market in Colorado. Conservation groups also turned back harmful legislation which threatened our clean air, water and public health and secured funding for renewable energy which has brought thousands of jobs to Colorado.
“The 2012 legislative session was a great success for Colorado’s air, land, water, and people. We said in January that this session was about creating jobs — and the conservation community delivered by creating an estimated 2,500 jobs and keeping thousands of tons of hazardous electronic waste out of our landfills with the passing of the bipartisan Electronic Recycling Jobs Act,” said Pete Maysmith, Executive Director of Colorado Conservation Voters. “We helped Colorado continue to develop innovative jobs by securing funding for renewable energy and passing legislation to increase electric vehicle stations.”
Where Colorado’s water, air, land and public health was threatened, conservation groups joined together to defeat more than a dozen bills that would have rolled back Colorado’s progress on renewable energy and oil and gas drilling rules. This included:
“Despite the midnight madness at the end of the session, the environment emerged a winner,” said Elise Jones, Executive Director of Colorado Environmental Coalition. “In the face of numerous attempts to unravel Colorado’s progress on clean air and water, citizens convinced the legislature to hold firm. Coloradans across the state sent a clear message to their lawmakers: we want to continue Colorado’s leadership on renewable energy, we love our outdoor heritage and access to our public lands, and we want strong protections from oil and gas impacts at all levels of government.”
The conservation community worked with the administration and legislative leaders to secure long term dedicated funding for the Governor’s Energy Office, maintaining the state’s leadership in renewable energy. Colorado has created an estimated 21,000 new sustainable jobs and led the nation in solar jobs per capita.
“Coloradans know that renewable energy like wind and solar is the future and they want to go forward, not backward, and shift to clean energy and reducing pollution from fossil fuels,” said Jeanne Bassett, Environment Colorado’s Senior Associate. “Thankfully, the legislature heard us and responded by refusing to weaken our nation-leading clean energy policies. While these steps reaffirmed the legislature’s commitment to Colorado’s clean energy leadership, more needs to be done. We are now counting on our elected officials to help bring more clean energy to Colorado.”
With the conclusion of the 2012 session, the conservation community will work closely with leaders in the legislature and our allies to maintain hard fought gains. As our priorities are implemented, we will also begin to look towards the 2013 session to continue to help create innovative jobs, secure our renewable energy future, and protect Colorado’s public health, landscapes, water, and wildlife.
Lawmakers took these steps to protect Colorado jobs while safeguarding our clean air and water:
Pro-Conservation Bills Passed
SB 133 - Electronic Recycling Jobs Act – Creates 2,500 jobs, bans electronic waste and protects water by keeping tons of toxic materials out of landfills.
HB 1258 - Electric Vehicles – Kick starts Colorado’s electric vehicle market by increasing the availability of electric vehicle recharging stations.
HB 1032 - Continues forest restoration program for five more years.
HB 1050 - Extends tax check off for non-game and endangered wildlife.
HB 1028 - Extends funding for low income energy assistance.
HB 1315 - Reorganization of Governor’s Energy Office – Provides critical funding to ensure the office remains. The GEO has been instrumental in making Colorado a recognized leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency, bringing thousands jobs to Colorado.
Source: Colorado Environmental Coalition