These are all of the energy and environment bills proposed in the 2020 session. Each bill has its own bill number, please use your browser search feature to find the bill you are interested in. Return to the Colorado home page to pick a different bill category.

None of the text is the opinion of Engage. Each bill's description, arguments for, and arguments against are our best effort at describing what each bill does, arguments for, and arguments against the bill. The long description is hidden by design, you can click on it to expand it if you want to read more detail about the bill. If you believe we are missing something, please contact us with your suggestion. Some of these bills have the notation that they have been sent to the chamber's "kill" committee. This means that the leadership has decided to send the bill to the State committee even though it does not belong there based on its subject matter. This committee, in both chambers, is stacked with members from "safe" districts and the idea is to kill the bill without forcing any less safe members to take a hard vote. It is possible for a bill to survive the kill committee, but it is very rare.

Prime sponsors are given after each bill, with Senate sponsors in () and House sponsors in []. They are color-coded by party.

Some bills will have text highlighted in pink or highlighted in orange or highlighted in yellow. Pink highlights mean House amendments to the original bill; orange mean Senate amendments; yellow highlights mean conference committee amendments. The bill will say under the header if it has been amended.

Each bill has been given a "magnitude" category: Mega, Major, Medium, Minor, and Technical. This is a combination of the change the bill would create and the "controversy" level of the bill. Some minor bills that are extending current programs would be major changes if they were introducing something new, but the entire goal here is to allow you to better curate your time. Something uncontroversial likely to pass nearly unanimously that continues a past program may not be worth your time (and please remember, you can still read all of the minor bills!). Technical bills are here to round out the list. They are non-substantive changes.

Senate

Click on the Senate bill title to jump to its section:

MEGA

MAJOR

MEDIUM

SB20-003 State Parks Improvement Appropriation

MINOR

TECHNICAL

HB20-1042 PFAS Polyfluoroalky Substances Manufacturer Notice Requirements (Moreno (D), Tate (R)) [D. Valdez (D), McKean (R)]

From the Statutory Revision Committee

Description:

Fixes a technical error in the date required by when manufacturers must notify sellers of their products about PFAS restrictions.

HB20-1064 Public Utilities Commission Study Of Community Choice Energy [Hooton (D)]

From the Investor-Owned Utility Review Interim Study Committee

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: Just over $800,000 in one year to do studies.

Goal: Study the feasibility of implementing community choice energy in Colorado.

Description:

Requires the state to do two studies to examine the feasibility of implementing community choice energy (CCE) in Colorado. CCE means a mechanism that allows cities or counties, or groups of cities and counties, to combine their purchasing power and choose one or more alternative wholesale electricity suppliers while the incumbent utility continues to own and operate its transmission and distribution systems and deliver the electricity. One study shall be done by a third party and examine the financial and technical feasibility of implementing CCEs. The other will be an open investigation by the public utilities commission, with testimony and documentation from stakeholders, experts, regulators from other relevant states, and staff. This study is supposed to consider regulatory implications and legal impacts of CCE implementation.

Additional Information:

Third-party report is due by December 2020. The financial component of the study should examine:

  • Potential for rate competitiveness and estimate of amount and duration of any exit fees CCE communities would have to pay to offset their share of previously approved utility contracts and assets
  • Multiple participation scenarios of CCE participation, including anticipated opt-out rates
  • Elements to be included in cost recovery consideration
  • Rate analysis to determine ability of CCEs to be cost-competitive

Technical component of first study should examine:

  • Regulatory and policy considerations for forming CCEs in a state that does not belong to a regional transmission organization
  • How to reaffirm federal orders concerning open access transmission tariffs and how to authorize the public utilities commission to establish fair transmission access rules and prices
  • Implications of CCEs for resource adequacy and reliability
  • Measures needed concerning wholesale market access and development

2nd study is due by January 2021. It must include input from:

  • Communities with declared goals regarding carbon emissions or energy supply choices
  • Business groups
  • Environmental advocates
  • Consumer advocates
  • Electric utilities
  • Independent power producers
  • Power marketers
  • Renewable energy developers
  • Consultants and experts in energy product financing and energy efficiency and distributed energy resources
  • Members of general public

Must explore the following topics:

  • Whether commission needs more statutory authority to create CCEs
  • Appropriate scale of regulatory oversight of CCEs, including those regulations that utilities must face, such as resource adequacy planning, compliance with renewable energy standards, demand-side management requirements, and time-of-use rates or other rate requirements
  • Appropriate considerations for establishing reasonable exit fees that provide cost recovery for utilities but does not unduly burden CCEs users, including potential variance by time or location, expiration periods, and any other mitigation strategies
  • Appropriate conditions, limitations, and procedures for people to opt out of CCEs
  • If any other consumer protections would be required
  • Strategies for overcoming credit challenges for CCE startups
  • Issues that have come up in other CCE states
  • If utilities should be provider of last resort for people who opt out of CCEs
  • Appropriate process for approval of a CCE on behalf of customers in a jurisdiction
  • If guarantees are needed for open access and fair prices for transmission services
  • Minimum requirements needed for independent power producers and power marketers who want to supply energy to a CCE
  • Any data sharing requirements needed for utilities
  • If CCEs would facilitate or impede development of increasing integration of distributed energy resources and vice-versa


Auto-Repeal: September 2023

Arguments For:

Dozens of communities across the state have committed to obtaining 100% renewable energy, some by 2025 and other by 2035. These communities cannot reach their energy and climate goals unless they are given greater control over their wholesale electricity supply. Right now they are limited by the timeline of their electric utility. Multiple states have adopted this model, but there have been challenges in implementation that we need to learn from. So we need a really deep dive into this issue from multiple angles to see if we can come up with a model that works for Colorado. Because a well-designed program would introduce an element of wholesale competition and community choice into the supply of electricity, potentially driving lower rates and cleaner energy while maintaining the viability and strength of the state’s existing investor-owned utilities without imposing undue costs on anyone. That is worth the small cost of these studies, to see if we can do it. No one is saying we have to jump into using CCEs if it turns out that we cannot avoid the problems that have occurred in other states.

Arguments Against:

This has been a disaster in California, the state where the energy market setup is closest to Colorado, where these entities are not as well-regulated and costs spiked for CCEs (called CCAs there) due to exit fees from utilities, causing ping-ponging of customers between utilities and CCEs which nearly ruined the state public utilities financially. The utilities have decades of experience in procuring lost-cost and reliable electricity. And our utilities in this state are moving, fast, toward more renewable energy sources because state law requires them to do so. We need to let that process play out and not try to dive-into a different, dubious, model.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1064

HB20-1070 Local Government Liable Fracking Ban Oil And Gas Moratorium [Buck (R)]

Appropriation: None
Fiscal Impact: None (on state government)

Goal: Compensate mineral owners for lost financial activity due to fracking bans or moratoriums.

Description:

Makes any local government that bans fracking liable for the oil and gas owner for the value of the untapped minerals and any local government that puts a moratorium on any oil and gas activities must compensate operators for all costs, damages, and loss of market value associated with the moratorium.

Additional Information: n/a

Auto-Repeal: None

Arguments For:

Oil and gas development is critical to the state’s economy and is therefore an activity that needs to be regulated at the state level. We cannot allow local NIMBYism to derail the economy of the entire state but unfortunately that is exactly what we are starting to see. This bill makes sure that we get the economic activity either way: if the local government doesn’t want it to happen with fracking then they can pay the difference to keep the state’s economy humming.

Arguments Against:

Local governments have the ability to decide what kinds of dangerous industrial activities they want in their areas. This is nothing more than an attempt to circumvent local authority by making it impossible to ban fracking or any other oil and gas activity by making it prohibitively expensive. No local government could possibly be expected to reimburse and oil and gas company it the amounts they would require. And what other industry operates this way? Let us work in your area or pay the amount we’ll lose. Completely un-American.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on HB20-1070

SB20-003 State Parks Improvement Appropriation (Garcia (D)), Hisey (R)) [Esgar (D)]

Appropriation: $10 million
Fiscal Impact: Estimated revenue increase of $250,000 per year by year 3 due to increased visits to state parks

Goal: Appropriate money for a new state park and to existing state parks for infrastructure improvements.

Description:

Gives $4 million to develop the new state park, Fishers Peak. Gives another $6 million for capital construction related to infrastructure projects in existing parks to address increased visitation.

Additional Information:

Fishers Peak was chosen as the state’s next state park by a partnership between the city of Trinidad, Great Outdoors Colorado, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, and Colorado parks and wildlife. It was purchased from the previous private owners last year and made a state park by Governor Polis.


Auto-Repeal: Any unspent money gets returned to the state after three years.

Arguments For:

The state has 41 state parks currently but has not added a new one since 2013 and the state system has actually lost acreage in that time. These parks contribute $1.2 billion a year to the state economy, with visitation steadily rising in recent years. More than 2 million more people visited state parks in our last fiscal year (2018-19) than in fiscal year 2014-15. The parks have not been able to keep pace with this increased load and need more capital funds. We already drastically increased a lot of parks and hunting and fishing fees just last year so we can’t simply go to that well again for more money and this is a one-time capital investment, not an on-going monetary need, so we don’t want a permanent flow of funds. This is quite simply an investment in a critical Colorado industry that generates large amounts of money for our economy and an investment in what many love about our state (estimated additional $250,000 a year). It’s a win-win-win, as the new park will benefit the local economy in Trinidad as well.

Arguments Against:

When we owe our schools hundreds of millions of dollars and have billions of dollars in transportation backlogs, we can’t simply spend ten million dollars on our park system. The parks already charge fees to enter them, and we have other recreational activity fees we can leverage to raise more funds. If the money is so desperately needed, raise on the backs of the people using these parks and save the state funds for more critical areas. If the fee increases last year were not sufficient, then raise them some more. If 11 million people are visiting state parks each year, then it won’t take much of an increase to raise the $10 million required.

How Should Your Representatives Vote on SB20-003