Hold on to your seats (and wallets) – Climate initiatives will bring huge change and cost money

Regulators and citizens alike are almost breathless viewing the changes facing Colorado as a result of recent climate actions taken by the Governor and the legislature. The aggressive plans to decarbonize the Colorado economy were outlined by Colorado Energy Office Director Will Toor in an interview with Westword and before the interim Energy Legislation Review Committee on July 29. In brief:

  • The Air Quality Control Commission will hold a rule making hearing August 13-15 to adopt California standards for ZEVs in Colorado
  • The Air Pollution Control Division has begun work on GHG reporting and reduction, with a public meeting on the GHG Inventory (through 2015) due for finalization in September
    • The AQCC will be briefed on GHGs November 21 and a request for hearing will be presented at the February meeting
    • Proposed rules for reporting GHGs under the new legislative requirements must be adopted by June 1
    • Rules for initial GHG reduction measures must be proposed by July 1
  • The Colorado Energy Office will begin an analysis of Low Carbon Fuel options this fall
  • The Energy Office will also look at feasibility for electrification of other sources such as building heating and cooling (instead of using natural gas)
  • Discussions are also underway through the Colorado Dept. of Transportation that could lead to fees to support electrification of commercial vehicles as well as private vehicles used for commercial purposes such as Uber and Lyft.  The definition of commercial vehicles excludes freight vehicles and common carriers but includes residential delivery vehicles less than 14,000 lbs. and rental fleets.  A report with legislative policy recommendations is due by November 1. Toor has stated that the entire light duty vehicle fleet needs to be electrified over the next 20 years (to meet climate goals).

Meanwhile, the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the AQCC will continue to adopt new rules for permitting emissions from oil/gas facilities in the state pursuant to SB 181.

Separate from the climate issue, the health department continues stakeholder meetings to develop rules on handing and disposal of TENORM wastes from various industrial processes including drinking water and wastewater treatment, and oil/gas wastes. A report on that effort is due to the legislature by the end of 2019 with rules to be proposed by the end of 2020.

Also under CMA scrutiny is an interim committee reviewing the State Auditor’s evaluation of various tax expenditures, which includes credits and exemptions. The potential tax policy changes that could result from legislation recommended are of concern to CMA and should concern other business entities. The committee met July 23-24 and will meet again August 19.