LCV Action Fund Memo: Joe O’Dea is Wrong for Colorado’s Climate and Families

Kyra Madunich-Arevalo, kmadunich@lcv.org, 909-767-9743

To: Interested Parties

From: Craig Auster, LCV Action Fund Vice President of Political Affairs

Date: September 6, 2022

Re: LCV Action Fund Memo: Joe O’Dea is Wrong for Colorado’s Climate and Families

The Washington Post published a story about Colorado Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea who is running against Senator Michael Bennet, who was endorsed by LCV Action Fund in June 2021.

According to the Post, O’Dea said he:

…believes the climate is changing but favors “prudent” rather than “urgent” action. Asked about his stance on environmental regulations, particularly with regard to fossil fuels, he said, “I would default to those people that know — oil and gas people.” 

In response to O’Dea’s comments, LCV Action Fund issued the following statement from Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld:

“Joe O’Dea’s position is anything but moderate and Coloradans will not be fooled by this cynical attempt at greenwashing his climate denial. The science is clear that the climate crisis is here and Coloradans know this too, dealing with record droughts and wildfires fueled by climate change. Coloradans are demanding action and O’Dea is dangerously out of step. The vast majority of Coloradans want their elected leaders to do more to fight the climate crisis and know that treating climate change as anything but an emergency is as bad as denying it is even happening. The idea that we should allow the same giant corporations that have created this crisis, polluted communities and knowingly misled the public on their climate impacts for decades to write the laws that protect our air, lands and water is outrageous. Luckily, Coloradans already have a climate and environmental justice champion in Michael Bennet representing them in the U.S. Senate and LCV Action Fund is all-in to help him win this November.”

Key facts:

  • Climate action IS urgent. 
    • According to the IPCC Assessment Report, “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is beyond reach.” And the IPCC has been clear that “Climate-related risks for natural and human systems are higher for global warming of 1.5°C than at present, but lower than at 2°C.”
  • Colorado is already experiencing devastating climate impacts.
    • Colorado’s three largest wildfires were in 2020 (Cameron Peak, East Troublesome and Pine Gulch).
    • Historic drought has brought the Colorado River to a record low.
    • In 2021, Colorado had a record 65 ozone action days.
    • In July, Denver broke a 144-year high temperature record.
    • From April to May, the state’s snowpack declined from 90% of the 20-year median to 55%. 
    • And this is all predicted to get worse in the coming years.
  • Coloradans want climate action.
    • A recent poll for the Center for Western Priorities found that 74% of Coloradans either somewhat or strongly agreed that leaders aren’t doing enough to reverse the effects of climate change.
    • Colorado College’s 2022 “Conservation in the West Poll” found that 72% of Coloradans support transitioning to 100% clean energy, 65% are worried about the future of nature and 74% think wildfires are more of a problem than a decade ago.
  • The oil and gas industry cannot be trusted to regulate themselves.
    • According to the U.S. House Oversight Committee: “The fossil fuel industry has had scientific evidence about the dangers of climate change since at least 1977.  Yet for decades, the industry spread denial and doubt about the harm of its products—undermining the science and preventing meaningful action on climate change even as the global climate crisis became increasingly dire, and its deadly impact on Americans increased. More recently, some large fossil fuel companies took public stances in support of climate actions while privately continuing to block reforms, invest overwhelmingly in fossil fuel extraction, and support efforts to extend the life of fossil fuel investments.  The industry reportedly spends billions to promote climate disinformation through branding and lobbying.   Moreover, they increasingly outsource lobbying to trade groups, obscuring their own roles in disinformation efforts.”
  • American Policy Fund, the Super PAC supporting O’Dea, is being heavily funded by the oil and gas industry including $100,000 from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and $50,000 from DCP Operating Company, which was recently fined $3.25 million for harmful air pollution.
    • In contrast, Senator Bennet refuses to accept corporate PAC contributions. 
  • O’Dea has come out against the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy (CORE) Act, which would increase protections for 400,000 acres of federal land in the state, and polling has shown it is popular with Coloradans. This demonstrates that O’Dea is really on the side of the oil and gas industry, not Colorado’s environment and communities.  
  • Senator Bennet has been a champion for climate action, recently voting for the Inflation Reduction Act, the largest investment in our nation’s history to transition to clean energy, fighting for the solar industry, and earning a 90% lifetime score on LCV’s National Environmental Scorecard.

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Paid for by the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund and authorized by Bennet for Colorado.

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