A New Agenda for Local Enviros

January 21 2011, 11:29 AM

Environmental groups will probably spend a lot of time this year defending past gains made while Democrats controlled both chambers of the Colorado Legislature. "We are going to be fighting hard to make sure we don’t go backward," Elise Jones, executive director of the Colorado Environmental Coalition, tells the Associated Press. For instance, state House Speaker Frank McNulty says Republicans are scrutinizing 120 bills backed by conservation groups in the last four years, which created myriad new regulations that allegedly hurt consumers during economically tough times. (Among them is a requirement—opposed by the coal industry—for utilities to provide 30 percent of their power using renewable sources.)

The environmental groups will focus specifically on more simple messages. As executive director of Colorado Conservation Voters Pete Maysmith tells KUNC, "there is some low-hanging fruit to do more with energy efficiency, which is a win-win. It saves consumers money while also creating jobs."

Meanwhile, the Cotter Corporation's Cold War-era uranium mill in Cañon City, which contaminated soil and groundwater, has resulted in more legal action by local residents. They allege that state regulators have failed to hold the company accountable as it cleans up and shutters the operation, according to the Denver Post.