As spring continues in full swing across Western Colorado, President Biden has made his climate agenda heard loud and clear with more progressive nominations and executive action which awaits congressional follow-through. Several bold plans like his Infrastructure Plan could set the US up to be a climate leader, instead of a climate-denier, which we have seen from the previous administration. Keep an eye on several of the updates this month, as they could pave the way for a bright, new future for western Colorado and the US as a whole.
Stone-Manning nominated to lead BLM
Tracy Stone-Manning, current senior advisor for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation, has been nominated by President Biden to run the Bureau of Land Management. Previous positions also include former chief of staff for Governor Steve Bullock and Executive Director for the Clark Fork Coalition, a environmental non-profit in Missoula, Montana. Before she takes the helm of the agency, she will face a tough confirmation hearing in which she will undoubtedly answer questions on the future of the BLM headquarters in Grand Junction and the future of the fossil fuel industry.
Nada Culver Appointed to Head Bureau of Land Management
On February 23rd, the Department of the Interior announced that Nada Culver, an environmental attorney with the Audubon Society, will serve as the Deputy Director for the Bureau of Land Management, a position recently filled by William Perry Pendley. Culver will perform the duties of the director of the agency, and lead the BLM, until someone is appointed to the Director role. A longtime advocate for public lands, Culver has previously served as senior director and senior council for policy and planning for the Wilderness Society, where she led the BLM Action Center focused on land use planning processes and management policies.
Biden Infrastructure Plan
President Biden’s Infrastructure Plan, introduced in April, sets out to chart a new course of transitioning the country to clean, renewable energy. The crux of the plan hinges on requiring utility companies to use a specific amount of solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources to power the country, which would phase out coal and oil and gas. President Biden has said he wants a carbon-free electricity grid by 2035.
Colorado State Budget finalized in legislature
On Friday, April 30, the Colorado legislature gave approval to a $34.1 billion budget for fiscal year 2021-22. The budget is $3.8 billion higher than last year’s budget, because of the big cuts from last year’s budget due to the pandemic which in the end were unneeded. Funding for wildfires, water, and wildlife was also included in the final budget, which now just awaits a signature from Governor Polis.
Colorado Wild Pass Introduced
On Friday, April 23rd, Colorado Parks and Wildlife revealed the Keep Colorado Wild Pass, a bill aimed at re-shaping the way our state parks, trails, and conservation is funded. The bill would create an opt-out fee when citizen’s renew their vehicle registration that provides access to all state parks and recreation areas. The funds created by the pass would mainly go towards staffing and resources at state parks, but also would provide additional resources to local Search and Rescue teams, new trails, and dedicated funding for the Statewide Wildlife Action Plan.
Paonia in Motion Continues its pursuit
Paonia in Motion, the project aimed at creating Paonia’s trails and recreation plan for the future, continues to progress. In April, the project has been gathering public input on different subjects such as P hill and walking and biking through town. In May, the group is looking for more public input including a survey and an online input map. Stay tuned for public workshops as well as more ways to get engaged.