Wednesday, January 27, 2021


Micah Parkin,, 504-258-1247

Julia Williams,, 970-948-1439


Sixty Groups Urge Polis Administration to Phase Out Oil and Gas Production Over Next Decade 

Community leaders and groups urge Governor Polis and The Air Quality Control Commission to address outsized emissions from oil and gas sector through phase out as essential part of Colorado climate plan

DENVER — On Wednesday, more than 60 organizations and community leaders delivered a letter to Governor Jared Polis and key members of his administration urging the state leaders to address faults in Colorado’s GHG Emissions Reduction Roadmap and make plans to phase out oil and gas development by 2030. The letter addresses concerns that both the draft and final version of the Roadmap dangerously underestimate the oil and gas industry’s contribution to the state’s total greenhouse gas emissions. The letter also criticizes the Roadmap’s plans to increase oil and gas production by 2030, rather than projecting production decreases that would best align with the recommendations of global climate scientists. These concerns are outlined in a recent report released by nonprofit organization 350 Colorado. 

“If Colorado wants to be a leader in global efforts to solve the climate crisis, our state must begin with an honest and accurate accounting of Colorado’s actual GHG emissions resulting from the oil and gas sector and use that to guide policy decisions to achieve our state’s GHG emission reduction goals,” said 350 Colorado Executive Director Micah Parkin. “We must follow the guidance of the world’s top climate scientists and begin a managed phase out of all fossil fuel production and consumption and make ambitious plans for a rapid, just transition to clean renewable energy.”

The report “Avoiding a Roadmap to Climate Catastrophe” found that the oil and gas sector is currently responsible for 70 percent of Colorado’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in comparison to the state’s estimation of just 17.3 percent. The letter identified several flawed assumptions underlying the state’s current emission estimates and projections regarding the oil and gas sector and called the state to take action to address the full climate footprint of this industry. 

Chief among these concerns are that the state is underestimating both leaks and the global warming potential of methane and that the roadmap did not consider the emissions of oil and gas produced in Colorado and then exported out of state as part of Colorado’s total emissions inventory for policy-making purposes. After 350 Colorado released the report, the second iteration of the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Roadmap included sidebar calculations of the state’s exported oil and gas emissions and of the recommended 20-year GWP for methane, but these calculations appeared to not be considered in the total emissions inventory or future plans. The final Roadmap projected the same large increases in oil and gas production by 2030 and contained the same current and future methane emissions leakage rates that the groups warn are unrealistically low. 

“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, of the Colorado Sierra Club. 

The group letter urges Governor Polis, the Colorado Energy Office, the Air Pollution Control Division, and the Air Quality Control Commission, to create accurate baselines and projections of emissions using the most accurate, science-based assumptions, and by including emissions from exported oil and gas. The letter recommends a rapid phase-out and just transition off oil and gas development, calling for a 10 percent per year reduction in emissions and a full phase-out of oil and gas production in Colorado by 2030. 

“You can’t frack your way to climate leadership,” said Jeremy Nichols, Climate and Energy Director for WildEarth Guardians. “If Governor Poils is serious about climate action, he needs to enact policies that wind down and ultimately phase out oil and gas production in Colorado.”

The letter also urges the Polis administration to address justice and equity issues and support a just transition for energy workers and frontline communities in the shift from fossil fuels to renewables. The letter states: “We are encouraged to see a commitment to a just transition away from coal toward a renewable energy future written into the Roadmap to support workers and frontline communities. This just transition must also be extended to impacted communities and workers most affected by the transition away from oil and gas.”

“Climate Justice and science tell us that expanding our fossil fuel production is a bad idea. We must confront the facts and make policy that protects the water, the air, and the health of people for the next seven generations.” Ean Thomas Tafoya Colorado Field Advocate for GreenLatinos

“We only have a few years left to make significant and meaningful progress in fighting climate change. Increasing oil and gas production will not save the planet for our kids. We need to take bold action now to phase out oil and gas,” said Kate Christensen of Together Against Neighborhood Drilling. 

Read the full “Avoiding a Roadmap to Climate Catastrophe” report here and the letter to the Polis Administration here


Quote deck:

“ ‘Measure twice, cut once’ doesn’t just apply to carpenters. It applies to basic problem solving and problem solving that is based on objective information and scientific methods.  Appropriate measurement is step one in appropriate planning to address escalating climate instability. Our state urgently needs complex regional air quality measurement in every county, continuously measuring hazardous air pollutants that include greenhouse gases and their components –  ozone, nitrogen oxide, and VOCs, as well as continuous air quality monitoring at every oil and gas well site…all available for public real time access.  Appropriate measurement informs public understanding of the size and nature of the problem  (re human health, environment, and climate stability), in their own region and for the whole state, and provides us all with a better grasp of the solutions that need to be considered to protect human health and enable a viable future.”  — Sonia Skakich-Scrima, Founder, What the Frack?! Arapahoe    

“Same old story – profit over health, fostering over regulating. The COGCC’s approval of the drilling permits for the Ivey site just days before Colorado’s new stricter standards went into effect, and just 1300 ft. from homes, shows a wanton disregard for Adams County citizens.” — Christine Nyholm, ACCDAN (Adams County Communities for Drilling Accountability Now)

“As a father, a community leader, and an elected official, it is my privilege and duty to advocate for those residents disproportionately impacted by unconventional oil & gas exploration. We can no longer accept vague future promises of fossil fuel divestment; the climate emergency is real. Immediate, concrete action is required. The first step is to stop making the problem worse; every newly drilled well extends the timeline to a fossil-free future by 30 years or more. We must also hold this industry responsible for their true cumulative impact with regard to greenhouse gas emissions (including those generated by international exports), the eventual plugging and abandonment of the 50,000+ active wells in Colorado, and the leaks and spills that will plague our communities for decades. At the same time, we must ensure a just and equitable transition to other industries for the oil & gas industry workers that have given so much. Our house is on fire; it is well past the time to act.” — Christiaan van Woudenberg, Trustee, Town of Erie

“80% of land space has been taken within my town, the town of Parker. We greatly need more open space here for the need of natural vegetation to take on the pollution.  This is just one of the small key climate issues that add up overtime to the existing pollution in Colorado. With the help of multiple climate organizations uniting together to make modifications to the GHG Inventory, we will be far ahead, moving positively forward towards a breathable and livable future for all. This is exactly what Colorado needs, now.” — Jeeva Senthilnathan, 2021 Parker Town Council Candidate and former Youth Climate Strike Organizer

“Governor Polis, it is not acceptable to deny the facts. We demand that you face the truth and put out the fire now. Your children, our children and all of nature are in your heart as you find the courage to fight for our lives.” — Paddy McClelland, Wall of Women Colorado

About 350 Colorado:

350 Colorado is a nonprofit organization working locally to help build the global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis and transition to a sustainable future. For more information visit: or find us on social media @350Colorado.