Election 2018EnergyNews

Saturday event on climate in Denver could heat up Colorado politics

Author: Joey Bunch - September 7, 2018 - Updated: September 24, 2018

Salazar climate changeState Rep. Joe Salazar, D-Thornton, will be the keynote speaker at an event on climate, jobs and social justice Saturday in Denver. (Photo by Joey Bunch/Colorado Politics)

A gathering that’s bound to favor Jared Polis and oppose Colorado’s oil and gas industry is set for Saturday morning at Manual High School. Organizers say they have an “unprecedented coalition” of labor, environment, youth, faith and community groups behind the climate cause.

State Rep. Joe Salazar, who narrowly lost the Democratic nomination for attorney general this year, will be the featured speaker at the events and workshops that being at 9:30 a.m. at Manual High School. Salazar is scheduled to speak at noon.

The Denver events are part of a national campaign called Rise for Climate, Jobs and Justice. More than 200 similar events are planned across the country Saturday to energize voters who want a fast transition to renewable energy.

Besides election-year politics, the national effort aims to urge political and business leaders to shift away from fossil fuels to power the nation’s economy in a healthier way.

However, many of the participants come with their own causes, such as addressing health issues associated with fossil-fuel combustion and making sure green jobs are offered in poorer areas.

Polis, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee from Boulder, says his goal is to get the state there by 2040. Many of the same interests also are likely to support Amendment 97, the proposal before Colorado voters in November to require 2,500-foot setbacks from oil and gas operations to protect homes, schools and businesses.

RELATED: Polis and Stapleton lay out their energy plans at COGA summit

Polis supported a 2,000-foot setback in 2014, but he opposes Amendment 97, calling in a virtual ban on the industry in a speech to a luncheon put on by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association last month.

After Salazar speaks Saturday, the coalition is expected to deliver a unity statement “that makes clear their commitment to working together in the months ahead on defining and creating the principles for a just and equitable transition and organizing their members to advocate for it with governmental leaders,” organizers said in a media advisory Friday.

Information about other speakers and workshops is available by clicking here.

Groups involved include Colorado People’s Alliance, the AFL-CIO, 350 Colorado, Conservation Colorado, The Sierra Club, Earth Guardians, Denver Area Labor Federation, SEIU Local 105, GreenFaith, NRDC Colorado, Clean Energy Action, Defend Our Future Colorado and Organizing for Action.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.