ICYMI: Rep. Neguse, Mayor Stolzmann, Mayor Brockett, and CO Climate Leaders Called for Urgent Federal Climate Action in the Wake of the Marshall Fire

The Marshall Fire is the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history, and underscores the immediate need for bold action as Americans continue to face deadly extreme weather.

DENVER, Colo. – Today, on the one year anniversary of President Biden’s inauguration, U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (CO-02), Mayor Ashley Stolzmann (Louisville), Mayor Aaron Brockett (Boulder), League of Conservation Voters Senior Vice President of Campaigns Pete Maysmith, and climate geographer Dr. Lauren Gifford joined a press call hosted by Climate Power to discuss the devastating impacts of extreme weather in Colorado and the urgent need for bold climate action. 

One year since President Biden’s inauguration, the momentum for bold climate action has gained even greater traction. This is particularly true in Colorado, where people have a deeply personal understanding of the climate crisis, one that fuels their demand for bold climate action. 

To watch the full press call, click here.

Here are some highlights from the call:

LCV’s Pete Maysmith underscored the urgent need for climate action, saying “the answer [to these extreme weather events] is action on climate, specifically Congress working to do that of course through President Biden’s Build Back Better which has already passed the House.” 

Congressman Joe Neguse highlighted how Colorado has been repeatedly hit by historic climate disasters in the past year, emphasizing the need to push for climate action to protect future generations. Offering a ray of hope, Rep. Neguse emphasized how close we are to the bold climate action science demands.

  • If we needed any reminder that the climate crisis is here now — we have it, and the impacts are all around us. Our communities can’t wait any longer for bold, urgent action. […] And the truth is, Congress has the power to do something about this. 
  • “We’re very close — closer than we’ve ever been — to delivering much needed, transformational climate action. And we cannot let this opportunity pass us by because Coloradans and millions of Americans are counting on us.” 
  • “If we don’t have the political will power to act as our communities are on fire, flooding, experiencing record heat, and drought, then ultimately, we’ll be failing future generations. And that’s simply something that I’m not prepared to let happen.”

Boulder Mayor Aaron Brockett emphasized the devastation that occurred in Colorado, noting that the Marshall Fire ranks as the tenth costliest fire in United States history. He  urged federal leaders to take immediate, bold action to help rebuild and prevent future climate disasters, calling the Build Back Better Act a necessary solution. 

  • “The science is clear that families across Colorado and the country are going to feel the deadly impacts of the climate crisis like this unless we act now.”
  • “The Marshall Fire burned more than 6,000 acres in Boulder County in less than 24 hours. There were over a thousand homes and businesses burned, and these were in neighborhoods that no one expected to be vulnerable to wildfire. They were neighborhoods that people thought were safe from this kind of disaster.”
  • “We can’t fix this on our own. We don’t have the resources at the local level to fix these problems. We need the help from the federal government. […] What we really need next is the Build Back Better Act passed because it’s our last best chance to deliver big, bold climate solutions that we desperately need.

Louisville Mayor Ashley Stolzmann discussed the historic devastation in her town from the Marshall Fire and reiterated the importance of federal action to help Louisville and other communities impacted recover. 

  • “In my town, instead of prepping for New Year celebrations and having fun with family members and loved ones in the end of December, people spent the last days of 2021 watching our homes, our business, our community burn in the most destructive wildfire in state history. Never–even during wildfire season–has our community seen such devastation.”  
  • “A critical element of our recovery that we absolutely cannot overlook is that we must address the factors that caused the devastating fires in the first place. The Build Back Better Act has historic investments that are absolutely necessary to jumpstart our transition to a clean energy economy.” 
  • [With Build Back Better] There’ll be good paying jobs that will help sustain families while combating the worsening effects of climate change. We’re so close to delivering on this, we just absolutely need our Senators to get it over the finish line.” 

Dr. Lauren Gifford, a climate geographer, underscored the threat posed by climate change and highlighted the need for climate action to protect people across the nation from extreme weather.

  • “As a person who has been studying climate change for 15 years, and human-environment interactions for 15 years, this fire was a stark reminder to me of what climate inaction looks like.” 
  • “We understand–scientists understand–climate change as what’s called a threat multiplier. And it exacerbates and compounds existing natural hazards, like long-term drought, like an acute lack of precipitation, like rapid temperature fluctuations, all these things that we were experiencing here on the Front Range.”
  • “We need policies, we need institutions and support structures in place that address human vulnerability to extreme events, that support measures that help us respond to, to adapt to, and to mitigate climate change. We need resources and support for communities as we react to these extreme events, as we build back from them, and as we deal with the collective trauma that our community and every community around us is feeling right now.”