Carbon pricing resolution coming to Colorado State Legislature; CCL help Is needed

By Jim Hooton, Colorado State Co-Coordinator

Soon, we'll know where all our state legislators stand on carbon pricing. State Representatives Edie Hooton (D-Boulder/Gunbarrel) and Judy Amabile (D-Boulder) plan to introduce a carbon pricing resolution in the Colorado House of Representatives when the legislature resumes its session in January 2022. (Full disclosure: Edie is my wife.)

The resolution asks Congress to enact a carbon fee that increases annually until our emission reduction goals are met. It calls for the revenue raised to be distributed as "carbon cash back" dividends as well as to provide aid to those most affected by the transition to a clean economy.

The resolution is modeled after similar group endorsement letters CCL has pursued with economists, brewers, health care workers and others.

"Carbon pricing is the single most effective means we have to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions at the scale and speed necessary to address climate change," said Hooton. "A carbon price on corporate polluters should be imposed at the federal level. So, this resolution is intended to help Congress understand it has support in our state. My hope is that other state legislatures will follow our example."

If approved by the General Assembly, Colorado would join California, whose state Legislature approved a carbon fee and dividend resolution in 2016 and 19 Utah Republican legislators who signed a group op-ed endorsing carbon pricing earlier this year.

By acting quickly, CCL has a terrific opportunity to help get this resolution enacted. The state legislature will reconvene back at the Denver capitol in January. But that means they are largely in their home offices in December.

Generally, these legislators are very accessible for in person meetings or Zoom calls with constituents when they are not in session. We suggest that each chapter develop a strategy to reach out to their respective members of the State House and Senate to let them know this resolution is coming and to ask for their support.

The same approach we follow when working with our Members of Congress can be followed when working with state legislators. In fact, given how generally accessible and approachable these politicians are, the meetings can serve almost as "practice" sessions for meeting with Congress. The meetings are also a terrific opportunity to engage more CCL supporters in lobbying activities. Once the legislative session starts in January, state legislators are still accessible, but their time is considerably more constrained.

So, what are your next steps? Reach out to your members of the State House and Senate to let them know this resolution is coming and ask for their support:

  1. Visit Find My Legislator to identify your State Representative and Senator.

  2. Discuss within your CCL Chapter who will take the lead for setting up the meeting(s).

  3. Register the point person on CCL’s community Grasstops Tracker. This will help avoid any duplication of effort.

  4. Plan your meeting with your fellow CCL volunteers.

  5. Have fun!

Here is a link to the current draft of the resolution.