A coalition of environmental advocacy groups and community leaders delivered a letter last Wednesday to Colorado Governor Jared Polis urging him and state leaders to produce a more comprehensive assessment of the oil and gas industry’s impact on climate change — and to phase out oil-and-gas production by 2030.
The letter states that Colorado’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Reduction Roadmap — released in January — uses unrealistically low methane leakage rates in its calculations, does not account for oil and gas emissions that have been exported out of state, and allows for an increase in oil and gas production.
A report from 350 Colorado, one of the organizations behind the letter, released in response to Polis’ roadmap found that the oil and gas industry is responsible for 70% of GHG emissions in Colorado, compared to the state’s estimation of just 17.3%.
“You can’t frack your way to climate leadership. If Governor Polis is serious about climate action, he needs to enact policies that wind down and ultimately phase out oil and gas production in Colorado,” said Jeremy Nichols, Climate and Energy Director for WildEarth Guardians.
WildEarth Guardians is an environmental law group with offices in Denver and Boulder and is one of the letter’s signatories. Colorado Sierra Club, Colorado Coalition for a Livable Climate, Wind and Solar Denver, and Climate Action Denver were among the other groups who signed the letter.
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The letter specifically asks Polis and state leaders — like state legislators and the Air Quality Control Commission — to revise their roadmap to include estimations for methane leakage rates found through scientific consensus, the impact of emissions from exported oil and gas, and a plan to phase out oil and gas production completely by 2030.
“If the goal is to address climate change, it won’t be enough for Colorado to solely tackle fossil fuel consumption within the state, it will also need to address the vast quantities of oil and gas that are exported from this state,” said Ramesh Bhatt, member of the Colorado Sierra Club’s water and conservation committee.
The letter also joined the calls from other community activists in advocating for the state’s roadmap to include more concrete actions to achieve environmental justice.
Polis’ office could not be reached for comment.