Advocates of plan to have Colorado join U.S. Climate Alliance say it will benefit the state

Posted at 8:00 AM, Jul 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-20 14:30:35-04

DENVER – Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced a new executive order that strengthens the state’s commitment to being a leader in clean energy.

Advocates of the plan say it’s not just a good idea for Colorado, it’s a good idea for the rest of the country.

“Colorado has long been a leader in clean energy and addressing pollution, specifically from the power sector but overall,” Erin Overturf, a lawyer for Western Resource Advocates told Anne Trujillo on this week’s Politics Unplugged. “We know clean air, clean water, our natural landscapes are inherent in our identity as Coloradans. I think we’re really just re-establishing ourselves as leaders when it comes to protecting our natural environment.”

The new executive order doesn’t impose any new rules or regulations but instead aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost clean energy projects through existing market forces and technology.

Still, critics of plan are concerned it will ultimately mean the loss of jobs in Colorado’s mining communities. Overturf doesn’t think that will necessarily be the case.

“Today we have 62,000 clean energy jobs here in Colorado. Sixteen-thousand of those are specifically in renewable energy,” she said. “We’re seeing an economic transition that accompanies this change in the way our energy is produced and the sources of that energy, but to assume that that means it’s going to be a net negative, I don’t think that’s true. There are for more people that work in the renewable energy industry today in Colorado than work in more traditional forms of coal mining.”

Politics Unplugged airs Sundays at 4:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Denver7.