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Fact Sheet: Colorado’s Climate Legislation, HB21-1266

June 11, 2021 | 0 Comments

After months of debate and outreach by key stakeholders, including SIA’s Colorado-based winter outdoor industry members, Governor Polis signed HB21-1266, a piece of legislation which will advance environmental justice and help the state make progress toward reaching its science-based climate goals

Thank you to all of the SIA members who took time to elevate your influential voice on this important piece of legislation – through your letters, op-ed and your calls directly to the Governor. As members of Colorado’s $5 billion winter outdoor industry, your role in this outcome cannot be overstated.

Thank you to our partners at Western Resource Advocates for their tireless work on this important piece of legislation.

Here are some more details about HB-1266:


Sponsored by Sen. Winter, Sen. Moreno, Rep. Jackson, and Rep. Weissman

HB1266, Environmental Justice Disproportionate Impacted Community, makes progress toward achieving Colorado’s science-based climate goals (26% reduction by 2025 and 50% reduction by 2030). The bill is a combination of elements of SB200 and HB1266. The legislation includes important provisions to address environmental justice issues, reduce climate pollution across several large sources of emissions, and creates a new source of funding for implementing climate rules by closing a loophole that let sources of climate pollution off the hook. However, there is much work still to be done, both in implementing the new requirements of this bill and ensuring Colorado reduces climate pollution from other sectors and sources not included in this bill.

The legislation is supported by more than 100 environmental, racial justice, public health, outdoor recreation, business, youth, and community groups. It was signed into law Friday, July 2, 2021.


Advancing Environmental Justice

  • Allows pollution penalties to be invested back into disproportionately impacted communities.
  • Creates an independent environmental justice ombudsperson that reports directly to the Executive Director of CDPHE and creates an independent environmental justice advisory board.
  • Requires additional monitoring and modeling for all pollution permits that are issued in disproportionately impacted communities.
  • Defines “disproportionately impacted community” using both quantitative and qualitative factors, and establishes minimum requirements for outreach to and engagement of these communities.
  • Codifies outreach best practices that are in development at the AQCC, while requiring a plan to spread environmental justice processes to additional areas of government across a range of environmental issues.
  • Establishes the “Environmental Justice Action Task Force” made up of members from local communities, tribal governments, government agencies, and organizations to discuss how Colorado will embed equity in all environmental decision-making including rulemakings, policy development, and facility permitting.
  • Requires the creation of a comprehensive, statewide environmental justice plan. The task force must develop a blueprint to promote environmental justice throughout Colorado by Nov. 2022, including tangible measures to incorporate cumulative impacts analysis into decision-making and to ensure that harms are not only identified but are avoided.

Reducing Pollution

  • Electricity sector: Requires every utility with significant emissions that is not already required to file a Clean Energy Plan to reduce emissions at least 80% by 2030, clarifies what happens if utilities fail to submit plans or are off track, and provides new tools to accelerate near-term reductions from the power sector.
  • Oil and gas sector: Requires a rulemaking at the AQCC by Jan 1, 2022 to reduce emissions 36% by 2025 and 60% by 2030 as compared to a 2005 baseline. The rules must include strategies to reduce co-pollutants in disproportionately impacted communities. The state will regularly report emissions from this sector and, if the state is off-track from achieving the standards established by law, will have a responsibility to promulgate additional regulations to fill the gap.
  • Industrial and manufacturing: Requires a rulemaking at the AQCC to reduce emissions at least 20% by 2030 and requires meaningful reductions in pollution from this sector no later than 2025. The rules must prioritize emission reductions that also reduce co-pollutant emissions that adversely affect disproportionately impacted communities. The state will regularly report emissions from this sector and, if the state is off-track from achieving the standards established by law, will have a responsibility to promulgate additional regulations to fill the gap.
  • Directs the AQCC to focus on reducing near-term greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the goals established by HB19-1261, the key to addressing the cumulative emissions problem of climate change.

Funding climate action at CDPHE

  • Closes a long-standing loophole that lets polluters off the hook for emitting greenhouse gases by not requiring them to pay air pollutant fees for those emissions. The AQCC and Air Pollution Control Division will now have critical financial resources to incorporate community input and develop strong and enforceable rules to reduce pollution with this new infusion of funds.
  • There is a new provision that requires that the social cost of carbon be included in economic impact analyses at the AQCC.

Just Transition

  • Requires a performance audit of the Public Utilities Commission’s implementation of best value employment metrics, with a report back to the Legislature.
  • Requires the Office of Just Transition to develop a long-term budget based on federal, state, and other sources by July 1, 2022 outlining the resource needs of the office.

Unfinished Business:

  • HB1266 does not address the largest source of climate pollution in our state: transportation. While the state is taking some important action around electrification and other strategies to reduce emissions from this sector, Colorado still does not have a comprehensive vision for how our state will reduce climate pollution from the transportation sector in a way that is consistent with our science-based climate goals and the Polis Administration Roadmap. There is significant additional work to be done to reduce transportation-related emissions at the AQCC and the Legislature.
  • HB1266 does not address the buildings sector. However, there are a number of other pieces of legislation relating to the buildings sector that have the potential to secure meaningful emission reductions from this sector, including SB264 – Adopt Programs Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Utilities, HB1238 – Public Utilities Commission Modernize Gas Utility Demand-side Management Standards, SB246 – Electric Utility Promote Beneficial Electrification, and HB1286 – Energy Performance For Buildings. All four bills are supported by the governor and are expected to become law.

Contact: Jamie Trafficanda, Western Resource Advocates, [email protected], 720-763-3737

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