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Energy leader notes new Colorado climate goals don't hinder oil, gas production

The plan states Colorado is fifth in the nation in market share of electric vehicles, seventh in installed wind capacity and 12th in installed solar capacity.

Published: February 27, 2024 11:00pm

(The Center Square) -

A leader in Colorado’s energy industry expressed appreciation for Democrat Gov. Jared Polis recognizing the achievements in reaching climate goals as he introduced new objectives for 2030.

Polis distributed the second version of a climate action plan to reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 50% in six years and make progress toward “net-zero” pollution in the state by 2050. Polis’ office also noted completion of 95% of actions in the first “Roadmap” provided a foundation for “a new set of bold actions to save Coloradans money and continue making progress toward a clean energy future,” according to a media release.

“The Governor’s updated emissions reduction roadmap clearly demonstrates that Colorado’s oil and natural gas industry has continued to work diligently to meet and exceed the state’s increasingly ambitious climate targets,” Kait Schwartz, director of the American Petroleum Institute Colorado, wrote in an email to The Center Square. “As we continue to work with the state to further lower our emissions, we are confident that recently adopted rules will ensure the oil and natural gas industry likewise remains on track to meet the goals laid out in the updated roadmap.”

The plan states Colorado is fifth in the nation in market share of electric vehicles, seventh in installed wind capacity and 12th in installed solar capacity. An addition to “Roadmap 2.0” is a section identifying strategies to support development of sustainable housing, expand access to more transportation options and preserve agricultural and natural lands.

“Colorado has been a national model in bold climate action that improves air quality and protects our precious resources and open spaces,” Polis said in a statement. “This updated, comprehensive Roadmap continues pushing our state forward in ways that will save Coloradans money, protect our air and water, and ensure a more sustainable future for Colorado.”

Earlier this month, Colorado legislators introduced a bill to stop new permitting for oil and gas development in Colorado by 2030. Senate Bill 24-159 also would reduce permits for new wells in 2028 and 2029 and require new permits issued after 2024 to stop operations by 2032.

The legislation’s requirements aren’t evident in the new document.

“This report further underscores the unnecessary and excessive steps that legislators have taken by introducing a suite of legislation that could effectively end new production in our state,” Schwartz wrote. “We fully agree with the Polis administration that a ban on oil and natural gas permitting, among other harmful measures currently being considered in the legislature, could increase costs for everyday Coloradans, and potentially have a negative impact on the environment and our air quality.”

The new report emphasized it was the result of community input from throughout the state. The end of the actions correspond with the end of Polis’ term as governor in 2026.

“In a very short time, we’ve made remarkable progress toward meeting our climate goals,” Will Toor, executive director of the Colorado Energy Office, said in a statement. “But there is still work to do. … We believe these new near-term actions will enable even greater nation-leading progress in addressing greenhouse gas pollution in Colorado.”

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