Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Colorado conservation groups call on state legislators to support innovative, green, job-creating measures

Vow to oppose attempts to roll back clean energy jobs and environmental protections

DENVER, CO : Colorado conservation groups released their 2012 legislative agenda to create jobs and clean up our air and water through legislation promoting electric vehicles and encouraging electronic waste recycling.

" Colorado should continue to be a national leader in protecting the environment through innovative solutions that also create jobs and spur economic recovery," said Elise Jones, Executive Director of Colorado Environmental Coalition. "Over the past several years we have created thousands of green jobs. In 2012, we will expand this job growth by paving the way for electric vehicles and adding up to 2,500 jobs in the electronics recycling industry.”

Conservation groups also vowed to replicate their successes of last legislative session and defend recent clean energy and other environmental victories. "While it is critical that we keep moving forward, we also have to guard against anti-conservation, job-killing bills," said Pete Maysmith, Executive Director of Colorado Conservation Voters. Maysmith added, “We will strongly oppose any efforts to roll back advances made to protect Colorado 's environment and make the state a leader in clean energy job creation."

Legislative Priorities for 2012

· Promote Electric Vehicles by removing regulatory barriers for electric vehicle charging facilities. This will help open up the market for electric vehicles in Colorado and make them more attractive to customers, who will benefit from having more places to recharge their vehicles. Colorado ’s air quality will improve with more electric vehicles on the road.

· End the dumping of electronic waste in landfills and create recycling jobs by banning large electronics such as computers and televisions from landfills. Each year Colorado throws away between 40,000 and 161,000 tons of electronic waste and only recycles about 8,000 tons. Electronics contain heavy metals such as mercury that can cause harm to the soil, groundwater and air. A landfill ban would keep these toxic chemicals from entering our environment, increase the amount of electronic waste recycled in the state, and expand the recycling industry by creating as many as 2,500 new jobs.

“Electric vehicles are a trifecta in breaking our dangerous addiction to oil, saving Colorado 's families money at the gas pump, and providing healthier air for our children," said Pam Kiely, spokesperson for Environmental Defense Fund.

“We service Colorado Springs , Pueblo , and Chaffee, Fremont , Douglas, Custer, Teller, Otero, Bent, and Crowley counties. A landfill ban on electronic waste will allow us to expand our operations potentially in areas not currently served by recyclers,” said Andy O’Riley, Vice President of Blue Star Recyclers. “Blue Star’s mission is to use electronic recycling to create jobs for people with developmental disabilities. The increase in volume from a landfill ban could potentially have an enormous impact on a population currently facing 88% unemployment.”

In addition to these priorities, the conservation community will work hard this session to protect our air, water, land, open spaces, wildlife and public health. The conservation community supports strong rules and regulations that protect the environment and communities from bad actor oil and gas operations. Additionally, conservationists will work to ensure that uranium mining and processing operations don't leave a toxic legacy for Colorado , and contaminated water or soil is safely cleaned up.

“These are win-win solutions for Colorado . They are a win for the environment by helping clean up our air, water and soil, and protecting open space and public health. They are also a win for our economy by protecting and creating good paying jobs,” said Jeanne Bassett, Program Director for Environment Colorado.