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Bills in House Target Climate Change; CO ‘in the Cross Hairs’

November 28, 2007

Denver, CO – Dry ski runs and fallow fields could be in Colorado's future if some of the dire predictions about climate change come true. Two bills currently in Congress aim to make dramatic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades. David Dittloff with the National Wildlife Federation in Denver says the stakes are huge in Colorado.

"Colorado really is in the bullseye when it comes to climate change. Hunting, fishing and skiing are the kinds of traditions that are important to Coloradans, and they are what is at stake if we don't do something about climate change."

The bills would create a "cap and trade" system to impose limits on climate change pollution, encourage development of renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse emissions by 2 percent annually. Dittloff says they also could give Colorado's wildlife a fighting chance in the coming years.

"One of these good bills in Congress, which establish this 2 percent reduction and a funding mechanism to manage wildlife so populations better survive climate change, is really the way to go."

H.R. 1590, the Safe Climate Act, and H.R. 620, the Climate Stewardship Act, have attracted nearly 150 co-sponsors. Dittloff's group is targeting 50 more representatives around the country to sign on, including Colorado Rep. John Salazar. Rep. Diana DeGette already has signed on to both bills, and Rep. Mark Udall is co-sponsoring one of them.

Ditloff says it makes sense economically to act now to stop the warming that threatens Colorado's water supply.

"Whether it's irrigators and ag land, metropolitan needs or recreational needs for our fishing opportunities, by addressing global warming early we will nip some of those costs in the bud in the long run."

Supporters say the two bills could be the best bet for cutting greenhouse emissions and preserving the "Rocky Mountain way of life."

Eric Mack/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - CO