Purgatory skier

A skier makes his way through the trees at Colorado's Purgatory Resort north of Durango.

Outdoor retailers are calling on the governor and legislative leaders to step on the gas on the state's 2-year-old Climate Action Plan.

Some of the same lawmakers who passed House Bill 1261 in 2019 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions — 26% by 2025, 50% by 2030, and 90% by 2050 — are backing Senate Bill 200, introduced this week to set targets and a measurable path to get there.

"Our industry is intrinsically vulnerable to climate variability. Our businesses depend on a healthy ecosystem, and climate change is the major threat to our industry," states the letter signed by two-dozen Colorado outdoor industry companies and Park City, Utah-based Snowsports Industries America, a national coalition of more than 500 gear makers and retailers. "Every inconsistent winter, unusually dry summer, and additional ton of greenhouse gas pollution in the atmosphere impacts our ability to grow our companies, hire new workers, and build a resilient future for our businesses that contribute so much to Colorado’s economy.

"We understand that the challenge is formidable. Action needs to be commensurate with the challenge. We know what needs to be done, and we have the tools to do it."

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Senate Bill 200 would direct the state Air Quality Control Commission to:

  • Consider the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Require reductions on a "linear or more stringent path."
  • Finish implementing rules by March 1, 2022, including specific net-emission weight limits for emission sectors.

Wholesale generation and transmission electric cooperatives would be required to file a "responsible energy plan" with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

Those plans should each achieve at least an 80% reduction in emissions by 2030 over 2005 levels. If a plan is not filed, the cooperative would have to cut at least 90% of its greenhouse gas emissions 2030, the bill states.

Co-ops would be expected to reduce emissions by at least 95% between 2035 and 2040 and by 100% by 2040, under Senate Bill 200.

The bill's sponsors are Sens. Faith Winter of Westminster and Dominick Moreno of Commerce City with Rep. Dominique Jackson of Denver. Winter and Jackson were co-sponsors of the Climate Action Plan two years ago. The bill, introduced Monday, has been assigned to the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee, which Winter chairs. The date for the first hearing had not been set as of Wednesday afternoon.

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