Colorado Capitol Report

What We’re Watching: Senate Bill 16

What We’re Watching: Senate Bill 16

The 2023 Legislative Session is well underway and many newly filed bills have started going through their first committee hearings. This week, we’re watching Senate Bill 16 regarding greenhouse gas emissions in Colorado.

This bill is similar to a failed proposal from the 2022 legislative session and covers a wide net of environmental issues – from providing a tax credit for consumers who purchase electric lawnmowers to creating new regulations regarding class VI injection wells.

But a new provision in the 2023 version of the bill has raised significant concerns among business groups, energy utilities, and other entities. SB 16 would overhaul the state’s greenhouse gas emissions targets, upending the thorough stakeholding process that took place several years ago between industry and state regulatory agencies. Colorado’s current greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets reflect the significant collaboration and negotiations to develop reasonable but ambitious environmental goals. As a result of this agreement, Colorado’s current targets require the state to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in 2030 and 90% by 2050.

SB 16 changes these targets and codifies them in statute, requiring a 100% reduction by 2050, 90% by 2045, 80% by 2040, and a 65% reduction by 2035.

The Colorado Chamber and its members are concerned about several aspects of this section of the bill. Primarily, it moves the goalpost on energy companies who have already invested significant resources in meeting the current targets. In addition, the new targets in SB 16 are simply not feasible – the technology to get us there doesn’t exist yet. Chamber members are also concerned about the impact these new targets would have on energy prices for consumers, leading to increased costs across the board.

The Colorado Chamber’s energy and environment policy council took a position of “amend” on the bill on Tuesday, and the Chamber’s head of governmental affairs Meghan Dollar testified on the bill yesterday in committee.

“The Colorado Chamber supports ensuring that new and existing environmental regulations are cost effective and science-based,” Dollar said in her testimony.The business community can be a collaborative partner in addressing environmental sustainability with responsible, reasonable policies and regulations that are predictable and avoid a one-size-fits-all approach for businesses.”

SB 16 advanced out of the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee on Wednesday in a 5-2 vote with minor amendments, which do not address the concerns brought forth by the Colorado Chamber. The Chamber’s governmental affairs team will continue to work with the bill sponsors to in an effort to secure meaningful amendments addressing the new emissions targets.

Energy & Environmental Council Takes Positions on Bills

The Energy and Environment Council met on January 24. At that meeting the council heard from Garry Kaufman, Deputy Director for Regulatory Affairs in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Mr. Kaufman walked the council through the Department’s current regulatory projects including GEMM2. The Council was also briefed by Nicole Rowan, Director of the Water Quality Control Division in CDPHE and Lindsay Ellis, legislative liaison with CDPHE. Both speakers discussed the need to rethink water permitting fees and how they are increased and established. Specifically, CDPHE’s intent to create a stakeholder process and put the authority to set fees with the Water Quality Control Commission.

The Council also discussed three pieces of legislation. The two pieces of legislation the Council took a position on are below.

HB 1039 – Adequate Resource Adequacy Reporting
Representative Shannon Bird (D)/Senators Robert Rodriguez (D) and Faith Winter (D)
Colorado Chamber of Commerce Position: Support

SB 16– Measures to Promote GHG Reductions in Colorado
Senator Chris Hansen (D)/Representatives Emily Sirota (D) & Karen McCormick)
Colorado Chamber of Commerce Position: Amend

In the News: Colorado Chamber Press Roundup

EDITORIAL: An assault on Colorado’s service economy, The Gazette Editorial Board

The other shoe has dropped — with the weight of a wrecking ball — in the wake of last November’s election. Colorado’s rebuff of Republicans on the ballot appears to have emboldened legislative Democrats to draw a bead on the business community as never before.

Read more…

Fact check – There really are two jobs for every unemployed person in Colorado, The Denver Gazette

There are, indeed, two jobs available for every unemployed individual in Colorado, as Gov. Jared Polis said in his State of the State address last week — but it’s unclear what level of quality and or what industry these jobs are most likely in.

Read more…

Craig Chamber of Commerce to host the 2023 National Civics Bee, Craig Daily Press

The Craig Chamber of Commerce announced the launch of the 2023 National Civics Bee, an initiative aimed at encouraging more young Americans to engage in civics and contribute to their communities.

Read more…

Young people invited to Chamber’s civics bee, Montrose Press

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation has launched 2023 National Civics Bee, a national competition designed to inspire young Americans to become better informed about American democracy, to engage respectfully and constructively in the community, and to build greater trust in others and institutions.

Read more…

Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce Launches National Civics Bee, Heart of the Rockies Radio

The Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce proudly announces the launch of the 2023 National Civics Bee, an initiative aimed at encouraging more young Americans to engage in civics and contribute to their communities.

Read more…

Metro Moves: OEDIT welcomes new executive director, The Denver Gazette

The Office of Economic Development and International Trade this January welcomed a new executive director in Eve Lieberman, Gov. Jared Polis’ chief policy advisor and legislative counsel.

Read more…

Save the Dates - Upcoming Council Meetings

Governmental Affairs Council – Jan. 31st

Guest Speakers:

  • Allie Kimmel, Legislative Director, Office of the Governor and Eleni Angelides, Deputy Legislative Director, Office of the Governor
  • Guest speakers will also include:  Liz Peetz and Jason Hopfer on behalf of the Colorado Association of Realtors to discuss 2023 Housing Legislation

Tax Council – Feb 3rd

Guest Speakers:

  • Representative Marc Snyder, Chair of House Finance Committee – Representative Snyder will share his priorities as the new Chair of the Finance Committee and the tax and finance related legislation he anticipates to be heard in the House Finance Committee.
  • Jaclyn Terwey, Legislative & Policy Advocate for the Colorado Municipal League – Jaclyn will provide an update on the participation in the sales and use tax system by local jurisdictions

View the complete list of policy council meetings on the online calendar.