Polis takes over as governor, aims for 100% renewables

Source: By James Anderson, Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2019

Colorado took a formal step to the left yesterday with the gubernatorial inauguration of Democrat Jared Polis, whose overwhelming election victory and party’s consolidation of legislative control promise ambitious changes for energy and environmental regulation.

Polis is a wealthy tech and education entrepreneur and former five-term congressman from Boulder. He succeeds Gov. John Hickenlooper, a centrist Democrat, former Denver mayor, petroleum geologist and beer pub entrepreneur who served the maximum two terms. Hickenlooper is actively considering a 2020 presidential run.

Polis trounced then-state treasurer Walker Stapleton in November and became the nation’s first openly gay governor.

The festivities included an evening “Blue Sneaker Ball,” named after the footwear Polis sported during his campaign.

Polis promises action on oil and gas drilling and on marijuana policy.

Hickenlooper brokered a tentative compromise on hydraulic fracturing between Colorado’s expanding $32 billion oil and gas industry and environmentalists opposed to drilling.

Hickenlooper also oversaw the creation of Colorado’s first-in-the-nation recreational marijuana market, which opened in 2014.

Polis once supported fracking limits but has abandoned them, saying there’s a place for Colorado oil and gas exports even as he pursues a 100 percent renewable energy goal by 2040. Democratic lawmakers are working this session to strengthen air and water quality rules for the fossil fuels industry.

Polis, a member of a Cannabis Caucus in Congress, says he’d pursue more industry financing opportunities and add autism to medical marijuana conditions.

Polis earned his wealth by starting an internet company in college and revolutionizing the online greeting cards and floral retail industries.