Colorado Rising won’t fade into sagebrush in 2019

January 2, 2019

Colorado, oil and gas drilling

Newly appointed Colorado Rising Executive Director Joe Salazar (left) campaigned for Prop 112 with founder Bill McKibben (center) [Durango Herald]


DENVER — Colorado Rising, the group behind Proposition 112, today announced the hiring of civil rights attorney and former state representative, Joseph Salazar, as Executive Director of the organization.

Joe has been a longtime advocate for communities in the fight against oil and gas. During his tenure as a state representative, Joe introduced important and bold legislation to hold the oil and gas industry accountable, such as the “Regulate Oil Gas Operations for Protect Public Safety” bill, which would have codified the Colorado Court of Appeals’ Martinez decision, and the “Operators Liable For Oil And Gas Operations” bill. In 2014, Joe led a small team of representatives to kill a bill that would have given private oil and gas pipeline companies the power to condemn people’s private property.

Joe is a Colorado native whose roots in Colorado and New Mexico go back hundreds of years. The first in his family to go to college, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1993. Upon completing his undergraduate degree, he worked for the state as a civil rights and criminal investigator. In 2003, Joe graduated from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. For the past 15 years, Joe’s practice has included high profile employment discrimination and constitutional law cases, primarily against bad government actors and abusive industries.

Colorado Rising also announced the hiring of Suzanne Spiegel as the Director of Development and Anne Lee Foster as the Director of Communications and Volunteer Engagement. Suzanne and Anne Lee have been involved in the fracking resistance movement for several years and were key players in the Proposition 112 campaign as volunteers in these roles. They also served as proponents of the ballot measure.

“I am excited to have Joe on board as Colorado Rising’s Executive Director,” said Colorado Rising President Tricia Olson. “Joe brings great energy, a proven track record, knowledge, skills, and an understanding of the urgency around environmental issues. Colorado Rising is committed to protecting communities from being exposed to explosive and toxic chemicals, and to stop industrial oil and gas activities from infiltrating our neighborhoods. Joe is the right person to lead that charge.”

Even though Proposition was defeated in November, Colorado Rising has no plans to fade into the sagebrush. In 2019, Colorado Rising will start a new chapter in its organizational development by litigating cases against bad government actors and abusive oil and gas companies that harm the health, safety, and welfare of the public and the environment. The organization will continue its focus on public policy development and direct action in order to support Colorado communities adversely affected by the fossil fuel industry. The group previously announced that it will run another ballot initiative in 2020 if policymakers fail to adequately protect Colorado communities and the environment from the fossil fuel industry.

For their first direct action of 2019, the group will gather at the Colorado State Capitol from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. on Friday, January 4, which is Opening Day of the legislative session. They will demand a moratorium on new drilling until a state-sponsored health assessment is completed and new rule-making based on findings are enacted.

“It is undeniable that human activity, particularly activity from the fossil fuel industry, has adversely affected our climate,” said Salazar. “It also is undeniable that we are obligated to take bold and progressive action to mitigate the damage we have caused. As demonstrated this last election cycle, Colorado Rising was at the forefront of action to protect our communities and our environment.”

The newly appointed executive director for Colorado Rising added, “I am so damn proud to have been asked to lead this organization. I promise the fossil fuel industry and policymakers that while we remain committed to working with them to develop policies that protect communities and our environment, we will not hesitate to take on bad industry actors, government agencies, or elected officials who continue to ignore the health, safety, and welfare of our beautiful state.”

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3 Comments on “Colorado Rising won’t fade into sagebrush in 2019”

  1. Rick Casey Says:

    The first I heard that Joe Salazar will be heading up Colorado Rising: good news! The oil and gas industry needs to recognize this opposition movement in Colorado is not going away….and that it is in fact a global movement against their industry….and they need to start cooperating with society instead of fighting for their own selfish greed…because climate change affects us all.

  2. Evan Ravitz Says:

    This is “burying the lede.” The headline that would get more people to read is something like, “Joe Salazar to lead Colorado Rising”

  3. Peggy Tibbetts Says:

    Gee you’re welcome Evan

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