Jul 1, 2021 - Business

Biden admin lobbies Colorado environmental leaders on infrastructure

Energy Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm shakes hands at an event in West Virginia in June.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at an event in West Virginia in June. Photo: Michael Swensen/Getty Images

The Biden administration is looking to win over Colorado environmental activists as it seeks to build support for the climate provisions in a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill.

What's happening: U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will travel to Denver today and hold a private meeting with leaders from a handful of environmental organizations, as well as top aides to Gov. Jared Polis and Mayor Michael Hancock, Axios Denver has learned.

Why it matters: The visit comes as the White House faces growing pressure from environmentalists and Democratic lawmakers who consider the infrastructure plan weak on climate change, Axios' Ben Geman writes.

Details: Granholm wants to hear from local leaders about recent climate legislation Colorado lawmakers passed to accelerate adoption of electric vehicles and reduce pollution. And she plans on making a pitch for how the president's infrastructure plan will help the state reach its goals.

  • The invite list shared exclusively with Axios Denver includes leaders from Green Latinos and Conservation Colorado. The latter is affiliated with the League of Conservation Voters, one of the groups pushing the Biden administration for major action on climate change.
  • Other people at the table: Colorado U.S. Sen. John Hickenlooper, former Gov. Bill Ritter, Colorado Energy Office director Will Toor and Denver's climate director Grace Rink.

In addition, Granholm will tour a solar community garden near Denver with Hickenlooper, and then attend a baseball game at Coors Field with winners of the Solar Decathlon competition from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Reality check: The visit highlights the work of Democratic leaders in Colorado on renewable energy and cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but the state is far from reaching its own goals.

  • Polis even threatened to veto a bill that empowered state regulators to enforce the needed reductions.

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