Advocates Cheer Passage of Student Debt Reform Bill

Denver— This afternoon, the Colorado legislature gave the final thumbs up to Senator Faith Winter’s SB19-002, a bill that will bring oversight of student loan servicers in line with other consumer loan providers in the state. Among licensing requirements and establishing prohibited actions for student loan servicers operating in Colorado, the bill will add a full time Student Loan Ombudsman to the Attorney General’s office to act as a resource for borrowers working to navigate the loan repayment process.

According to recent reports, more than 730,000 Coloradans are working to pay back over $27 billion of student loan debt. Advocates point to reports that student loan servicers, the private companies contracted by the federal government to help ensure borrowers repay their loans, don’t always act in the debt holder’s best interest, making this bill necessary to protect Coloradans with student loans.

“At the very least, the process of repaying student loans should be a fair and transparent one,” explains Charley Olena, Advocacy Director for New Era Colorado and the lead advocate in the coalition that worked to make this bill a reality. “Student loans are the only type of major consumer loan without licensing requirements for servicers nor consistent state or federal regulations to govern their behavior—unlike servicers handling mortgages, credit cards, and even payday loans.” Coloradans, she says, should be able to trust that they can get accurate, timely information from their loan servicer, but that’s not how the system works right now.

Karen Cody-Hopkins, a lawyer specializing in student loans in Colorado, says this kind of legislation is long overdo. “I see everyday how Coloradans struggle to find and understand our complex federal and private student loan system,” says Cody-Hopkins. “With 27+ types of federal loans plus multiple repayment, forgiveness and discharge options, just figuring out how to manage your federal student loans can be daunting—SB19-002, the Student Loan Servicer Accountability Act, will give students a trustworthy process to ensure that their loan servicers properly and fully inform borrowers, process payments, and resolve disputes. I have seen too many borrower horror stories of misinformation or mistakes. SB19-002 will help hundreds of thousands of Coloradans get the consumer protection they have lacked.”

One of the nation’s largest student loan servicers, Navient, is facing a joint lawsuit from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the states of Illinois and Washington claiming they defrauded over 1.5 million borrowers and added over $4 billion to the lifetime costs of their loans. In response to numerous reports highlighting bad behavior from federal loan servicers, and the Department of Education’s shift away from oversight under Betsy DeVos, many states are turning to the kind of legislation Colorado is adopting with SB19-002.

“With Washington walking away from the fight to protect student loan borrowers, it is more important than ever that states fight for their citizens,” says Seth Frotman the former top student loan watchdog at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and current Executive Director of the Student Borrower Protection Center. “This legislation is an important step towards ensuring that the more than 700,000 Colorado student loan borrowers have critical protections against predatory players.”

The coalition working to advance this legislation is diverse—with representation from teachers unions, veterans organizations, seniors groups, student loan lawyers and policy shops. For AFT Colorado, one of Colorado’s teachers unions, SB19-002 is a way to help ensure teachers and other public service employees get the support they need from their loan servicers. “At a time when many Colorado educators are struggling to afford living within the communities in which they teach, it is essential to the continued success of Colorado’s public education system that they are receiving the assistance they need to enroll in programs that provide them financial relief and incentivize remaining in the profession they love,” explains Ryan Case, political director at AFT. “We would like to thank all of the sponsors of SB19-002 for standing up for Colorado’s educators, and other public service employees, by ensuring negligent student loan servicers are held accountable for their actions.”

The bill will next head to Governor Jared Polis’ desk to be signed into law.


From other advocates:

“The student debt crisis is having a profound impact on the ability of people to establish financial security and invest in their futures, particularly low-income families and people of color. States like Colorado have the right and the responsibility to mitigate these impacts by overseeing student loan servicers and preventing fraud and abuse. We applaud Colorado lawmakers for taking this step toward accountability for servicers.” -Ellen Harnick, Western Office Director, Center for Responsible Lending

“Student debt is a huge challenge for many Colorado families. Borrowers will now have more resources for help, and the companies who serve their loans will have more accountability and responsibility to the people of Colorado.” – Ali Mickelson, Director of Legislative and Tax Policy for the Colorado Fiscal Institute.

“The passage of the Student Loan Servicers Accountability Act is a big win for Colorado families. With student debt on the rise, many Coloradans don’t see a college education as an option, let alone an opportunity. We are pleased to see the legislature recognizing the importance of this issue and acting boldly to help borrowers of all ages be treated fairly and equitably.” -Cate Blackford, Director of Outreach for the Bell Policy Center.

“SB2’s passage is a great victory for all Coloradans whether or not they have student loans. The impact on the economy is felt when many are unable to purchase their first home and fully participate in Colorado’s economic opportunities, as well as with seniors struggling to make payments on a fixed income. Leveling the playing field and requiring servicer accountability in providing fair options for borrowers, is the right thing to do!” – T. A. Taylor-Hunt, Colorado State Chair of the National Association of Consumer Advocates

“SB19-002 takes a meaningful step towards addressing the student debt crisis in Colorado by ensuring that borrowers are treated fairly by loan servicers. This bill will make student loan servicers more accountable and transparent, and give borrowers tools to end abusive practices that often land them in deeper debt. We are very glad SB002 was passed this year, and look forward to it going into effect.” -Wendy Howell, Working Families Party

“With Colorado facing a $26 billion student loan crisis, the Student Loan Servicer Accountability Act is a much-needed step towards holding loan servicers accountable for misleading the state’s young people. Today’s students are the most diverse — and the most burdened by student loan debt — in history. We need to act now to stem the rising tide of student loan debt and help make an affordable, quality education available to every young person in the Centennial State.” -Christina Postolowski, Rocky Mountain Regional Director of Young Invincibles.

New Era Colorado is a non-profit nonpartisan organization who’s mission is to reinvent politics for young people, mobilizing and empowering a new generation to participate in our democracy to make Colorado a better place for everyone.

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New Analysis Reveals More than 730,000 Coloradans Suffer Under the Weight of Historic Levels of Student Debt, State Must Take Action to Protect Borrowers

As the Legislative Session Begins, Student Loan Borrowers of All Ages in Colorado Now Owe More Than $26 Billion in Student Debt

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) and New Era Colorado released new analysis demonstrating the scale of the student debt crisis in Colorado. A new analysis of government data shows that more than 1-in-4 middle-aged Coloradans now owe student loan debt. For the first time, nearly half of all young adults in the state owe money on a student loan. This analysis makes a clear and compelling case for Colorado to take action to protect student loan borrowers from illegal student loan industry practices.

Colorado borrowers owe more than $26 billion in student debt.

This new analysis looks at data made available by the U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Reserve Banks of New York and Philadelphia and shows the student debt crisis growing for borrowers across the state, including:

  • Over the last 10 years (2007-2017), 176% growth in student debt across Colorado; higher than the rate of growth in student debt nationally;
  • 733,700 Colorado borrowers have $26.4 billion in outstanding student debt;
  • Colorado added more than 15,000 new borrowers in just one year;
  • More than 130,000 rural Coloradans owe student loan debt; and more than 20,000 of them are severely delinquent;
  • Nearly a quarter of all consumers in Colorado owe student loan debt; and
  • More than 1,000 complaints from Coloradans about student loan companies, including more than 100 complaints from servicemembers with student debt.

“Colorado student loan borrowers suffer each day from the burden of their debt, it’s time state leaders take action,” said Seth Frotman, Executive Director for the Student Borrower Protection Center. “The federal government has walked away from this crisis, casting hundreds of thousands of Coloradans aside in the process. The borrowers across Colorado cannot wait any longer for predatory student loan companies to be held accountable.”

“If Colorado’s future leaders are held back because of their student loan debt, that will have a ripple effect on our state and our economy for years to come,” said Charley Olena, Advocacy Director for New Era Colorado. “The tens of thousands of young voters we work with every year consistently name student debt as the top area they want to see elected officials taking action. With oversight crumbling at the federal level, it’s more important now than ever that our leaders are taking steps to protect Coloradans burdened by student debt.”

Student loan borrowers across Colorado continue to suffer under the weight of mounting debt and face new hurdles from predatory companies. This analysis exposes the rising levels of unsustainable debt shouldered by borrowers of all ages, in communities across the state; yet, the Trump Administration continues to ignore mounting evidence of the nation’s growing student debt crisis. Not only has the federal government halted efforts to protect student loan borrowers, it is turning a blind eye predatory practices and enabling bad actors.

As the new legislative session begins, the SBPC, New Era Colorado, and other partners are demanding accountability from the companies at the center of a broken student loan system. This new analysis bolsters the case made by leaders across Colorado that the state must take immediate action to demand justice for student loan borrowers in their communities.

“There’s no doubt that the amount of student debt that Coloradans carry is a major problem facing our state, both now and for our future” says Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg  “I’m proud to sponsor several bills this session that will tackle this issue head on, and excited to continue to work with our members to find state solutions to the student debt crisis.”

Tackling the student debt crisis in Colorado has already emerged as a theme this legislative session, with several bills introduced this month to expand loan forgiveness for educators, to increase accountability and oversight of student loan servicers, and to notify Colorado’s public service employees of federal student loan benefits like Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Both Senate President Leroy Garcia and Governor Polis highlighted student debt in opening day and State of the State speeches.

“When so many Coloradans are carrying student debt, we need greater oversight of student loans to ensure that the people of Colorado are being treated fairly,” says Senator Faith Winter, who has carried legislation addressing oversight of loan servicers since the 2017 legislative session. “This issue is in one of my top priorities this session so that we can continue to support hard working Coloradans and protect our state from these unfair predatory loan practices.”


In the face of continuing systemic abuses across the student loan industry, state governments are taking action to expand protections for student loan borrowers and halt illegal practices by predatory companies. Last year, the Student Borrower Protection Center launched States for Student Borrower Protection, an initiative which highlights the student debt crisis in New York, and is designed to support the leaders in and out of government working to end this crisis through state level actions. Today’s release offers further evidence that state action is urgently needed.

This new analysis is part of an ongoing series of original research, projects, and campaigns by SBPC designed to help student loan borrowers by shedding light on the crisis and empower advocates.


About the Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC):

The Student Borrower Protection Center ( is a nonprofit organization solely focused on alleviating the burden of student debt for millions of Americans. SBPC engages in advocacy, policymaking, and litigation strategy to rein in industry abuses, protect borrowers’ rights, and advance economic opportunity for the next generation of students. Led by the team of former federal regulators that directed oversight of the student loan market at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, SBPC exposes harmful and illegal practices in the student loan industry, drives impact litigation, advocates on behalf of student loan borrowers in Washington and in state capitals, and promotes progressive policy change. SBPC accomplishes these goals by partnering with leaders at all levels of government and throughout the nonprofit sector.

About New Era Colorado:New Era Colorado reinvents politics for young people, mobilizing and empowering a new generation to participate in our democracy to make Colorado a better place for everyone. We’re grassroots. We’re nonpartisan. And we’re all about empowering our generation to lead Colorado not left, not right, but forward. We do it all with one constant: making politics fun again. Since our founding 2006, we’ve registered more than 190,000 young people to vote across Colorado, passed critical policies at the ballot and legislature and trained hundreds of  young people to become leaders in their own right. To learn more, visit

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Request for Proposals: Equity and Inclusiveness Assessment + Blueprint 

To view this request as a PDF, click here.

Date of Request for Proposals: December 1, 2018
Deadline for Request for Proposals: January 31, 2019


New Era Colorado seeks a consultant (or pair/team) to work with us to pursue organizational transformation in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We seek to do a full organizational assessment of our practices around diversity, inclusivity and equity, to conduct trainings simultaneously as needed of our staff (and possibly our board), and to work with us to create a blueprint we can follow to make concrete improvements in each of these areas over the next several years.

About New Era Colorado

New Era Colorado works to reinvent politics for young people, mobilizing and empowering a new generation to participate in our democracy to make Colorado a better place for everyone. We provide the resources and tools for young people to gain collective power in all levels of the political process, including issue organizing, electoral mobilization, and the legislative process. We’re grassroots, we’re nonpartisan, and we’re empowering our generation to lead Colorado forward. Our three core program areas are civic engagement, advocacy, and leadership development. We run large-scale voter registration drives and voter turnout efforts, train 60+ young leaders through 12-week leadership development programs each year, and advocate for economic justice, election access, climate action and reproductive rights.

We have 11 permanent staff and two offices, one in Denver and one in Boulder. In major election years, our staff grows tremendously to include up to 50 full-time staff and dozens of part-time staff, and we regularly have small teams of full- or part-time organizers for various efforts and campaigns. We were founded in 2006 by a multi-racial group of individuals, though throughout our 12-year history we have been a predominantly white-led organization.

Our staff and board has committed to engaging in work to become a more fully inclusive organization that is capable of effectively advancing equity through all the work we do, and has been planning to embark on this process for a number of years. We underwent an assessment process in 2017/early 2018.  We are restarting this process to achieve a clear blueprint to close the gap between our values and our work.

Our Goals

As an organization, we value diversity, equity and inclusion, but there is a gap between our values and our work. Our current programs, goals, and structures aren’t currently achieving the change we want to see and believe is necessary. We want to be an organization that can fight for shared liberation for young people, but we’re not currently achieving that. We’re aiming to take the first step in a long-term process towards becoming a more diverse, more inclusive organization that is more representative of young people in Colorado and can more authentically and effectively advance equity through all aspects of our work. Long-term, we hope to achieve equity within the organization, especially racial equity, and transform our organization into one that has equity, inclusiveness, anti-oppression, and anti-racism in its DNA. We see individual-level trainings as necessary to pursuing the systemic changes we seek, but hope to focus primarily on systemic change. While race and racism is our primary focus, we hope our process can be broader as well to consider other forms of oppression and how to combat them in our own organization and through our work.

To begin, we are seeking an organizational assessment and assistance with a planning process that can be informed by this assessment, and any trainings that should accompany the assessment and planning processes. This process should create a concrete, actionable plan for organizational transformation. In the future, we hope to work with the same consultant (or team) to provide ongoing support and guidance, but we’re not able to foresee that aspect of the work at this stage.

Description of Desired Outcomes

At the end of the process, we would like to see the following concrete outcomes:

  • Assessment: Multidimensional information gathering with data on our community, our field, and our organization, including a review of internal policies, norms, structures, power structures, workflows, etc…
  • Blueprint: An outcomes-based blueprint for organizational transformation that goes beyond surface level changes to make us more inclusive, more diverse, and more capable of effectively advancing equity through all the work we do. Includes both long term and short term measurable goals to help us achieve organizational change.
  • Training: Increased competency of and fluency among staff and board members in these areas, particularly as is needed to do a proper assessment and blueprint.

Please note: We have a lot to learn about what this process could and should entail for our organization, so we see these desired outcomes as an initial draft but hope to work with the consultant (or team) to better refine the process and our goals.

What we’re looking for in a consultant/team

We would like a consultant (or team) to be our partner and our guide in moving us closer to our goals, though we understand that significant capacity, commitment and leadership is necessary within our organization and that we cannot rely on external folks to do all of the work for us. We hope to take the consultant’s input to determine the length of time within which we work together, and to help us better shape our goals for this process and of course the shape of the process itself.

Our organization is by, for, and of young people. Our staff is young, and we infuse our work with irreverence, humor and flexibility. We are seeking an adaptable consultant with experience in the nonprofit sector and electoral work who believes in our approach and the value of our work—particularly our electoral work, but also our advocacy and leadership development work as well.

Proposal Content

Interested parties should submit the following:

  • Proposed consulting plan, project approach, and rough timeframe
  • Budget
  • A list of past clients
  • Bios (or resumes) of all relevant team members
  • References, with contact information
  • Contact information for all relevant team members
  • Work samples of action plans provided to other organizations

We will review proposals on a rolling basis, and plan to include an interview phase prior to making a final decision. Please submit your proposal as a single PDF to

The priority deadline for proposals is Tuesday January 15th at 5pm MT, though we are able to be flexible—so if there’s a reason that deadline wouldn’t work, please just let us know.

Budget and Timeframe

Our budget for this phase (assessment, training, and planning) is approximately $12,000-$15,000. We recognize this is an ongoing process, and hope to work with the consultant during this initial phase of our work to plan additional phases (and ongoing work), which we will need to fundraise for. We hope to begin work with a consultant as soon as possible and would like to work with the consultant to develop an appropriate timeframe and timeline.

Contact information

For questions, clarifications, or anything else, please contact:

Lizzy Stephan, Executive Director, | 845-551-6843

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Now seeking: Fundraising Fellow

For a PDF version of this fellowship description, click here.

We’re seeking a part-time fundraising fellow to help us raise the revenue we need to power our work and grow our impact. As a fundraising fellow, you’ll receive unique networking opportunities, one-on-one professional development, and the chance to gain experience in nonprofit development and management.

Working with the development team, you’ll help drive the progress we’re able to make on issues like student debt, abortion rights, and climate change. If you’re an organized, strong communicator with an interest in fundraising, we strongly encourage you to apply. Previous fundraising or events experience is not required—this is an opportunity for professional growth!

About New Era

New Era Colorado is working to reinvent politics for young people, mobilizing and empowering a new generation to participate in our democracy to make Colorado a better place for everyone. We register and turn out thousands of young voters every year, we work on issues like election access, economic justice, abortion rights, and climate change, and we train hundreds of young leaders to create change. We’ve registered more than 150,000 young voters, passed policies like online voter registration, given out more than 60,000+ buttons that say “Vote, F*cker” on them (good, right?), and made two viral videos (This Is Why We Vote; Campaign for Local Power).

Our team is deeply dedicated to social change, and takes the work very seriously—but not ourselves. We truly believe in the power of young people.

Get to know us: Our website | Our Facebook

Areas of Responsibility

  • Ensure that we have up-to-date records to facilitate timely donor responses and decision making.
  • Manage and track all contributions.
  • Manage mailing gift acknowledgments.
  • Manage records maintenance and work with Data Manager to implement best practices.
  • Assist with development stewardship, cultivation, and departmental metrics tracking.
  • Assist with prospect research, data entry, and other departmental administration.
  • Participate in events and networking opportunities that build exposure and support for New Era Colorado. This may include some evenings and weekends.

Position Details

This a part-time, temporary position based out of New Era’s Denver office, reporting to the Development Director. Compensation will be $15/hr, with an expectation for 10-25 hours per week. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. We’re looking to start someone as soon as we find the right candidate, so don’t wait to apply!

Apply here.

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Statement on Resignation of Top Student Loan Watchdog

WASHINGTON— Seth Frotman, the Student Loan Ombudsman at the Consumer FInancial Protection Bureau tasked with overseeing the student loan market, resigned this morning. In a scathing resignation letter to Acting Director Mick Mulvaney, Frotman states that the current administration has “has turned its back on young people and their financial futures,” and “abandoned the very consumers it is tasked by Congress with protecting.”  

The letter goes on to detail ways the current leadership is “undercutting enforcement of the law…undermining the bureau’s independence…[and] shielding bad actors from scrutiny.”

Charley Olena, Advocacy Director for youth engagement organization New Era Colorado, issued the following statement:

“Seth Frotman’s leadership of the Office of Students and Young Consumers uncovered systematic misconduct, fraud and abuse within the student loan servicing industry, prompting lawsuits and calls for reform across the country. Frotman has been an unwavering champion for the rights of borrowers with student loan debt at the federal level. His departure, combined with his allegations of the Bureau’s reluctance to enforce our laws and hold these servicers accountable, is no less than disturbing.

“Our financial future is at risk. There are more than 761,000 borrowers with over $24 billion of student loan debt in Colorado. Yet instead of protecting their basic rights, Secretary of Education Betsy Devos and Acting Director Mick Mulvaney are leaving borrowers across the nation to the mercy of unscrupulous and unaccountable lenders and loan servicers—some of the most powerful financial corporations in the country.

“As the federal government continues to roll back even the most basic protections for borrowers with student loans, the need for states to step up and act has never been clearer. The tens of thousands of young Coloradans we work with every year consistently name student loan debt as one of the top areas they would like to see elected officials taking action. With protections crumbling at the federal level, Colorado’s leaders have an obligation to take action locally to defend borrowers with student loan debt.

“Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has consistently made it clear that Colorado has an obligation to step up and protect borrowers with student loan debt where the federal government has failed to do so. Earlier this year, she co-authored a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos pushing back against the federal government’s attempted pre-emption of state laws regulating student loan servicers. Her office also supported HB18-1415, a bill that would have brought oversight of student loan servicers in line with other consumer loan providers in Colorado.

“We will fight to ensure that our leaders recognize the critical role they must play in protecting student borrowers and work with them to bring oversight of student loan servicers in line with other consumer servicers that operate in our state. We will continue to elevate the voices and stories of the Coloradans who have been taken advantage of by their student loan servicers across our state and in the halls of the capitol. We will not stop fighting until Colorado has strong protections in place for borrowers repaying student loans.”

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100% renewable energy or bust


Because of President Trump, our best chance to fight climate change is on the local level now—where we need to double down.

And here in Colorado, Boulder’s fighting to do just that: pursuing the most powerful tool it has to fight climate change by breaking away from its monopoly energy provider, Xcel Energy, to create a locally-owned electric utility powered by clean energy.

This effort—municipalization—is Boulder’s only real path to 100% renewable energy, and could be a model for climate action for communities across the country!

But this fall, the fight for clean, local power faces a critical test—and we need your help. Boulder voters will decide whether to pass ballot measure 2L, to continue the project’s funding. The climate crisis is only getting worse—we have to stay the course on this huge, precedent-setting fight!

We’ve been fighting for this for years, because municipalization is the type of complex action that the climate crisis requires of us: in addition to changing our light bulbs, we’re changing our electricity provider and we’re taking control of our own energy future—threatening the coal-dominated utility industry in the process.

Boulder voters have long supported this effort because we know we’re running out of time to fight climate change and have to take serious, systems-changing actions.

Here’s the thing: to pass this measure, we’re running a truly grassroots campaign—again—and we need your help.

We’ve already got organizers on the ground talking face-to-face with voters every day, but we need to keep ramping up. Can you donate today to help us educate and mobilize more voters to support this campaign?

This fight, right here, right now, represents a key milestone in Boulder becoming a world-renowned laboratory for innovation in the clean energy sector, and a model for tackling climate change across the country. Help us make history—click here to support our campaign today, or here to sign up to volunteer.


New Era

P.S. Remember the viral video we made telling the story of this effort in 2013? Walk down memory lane, and then chip in to support this fight!

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Forward on local power!


Exciting news: Boulder City Council voted 6-3 last night to stay the course on the campaign for local power!

This means we’ll continue with the utility formation process hearings at the Public Utilities Commission. Council members spoke of the weaknesses in Xcel’s offers, and listened to the overwhelming supportive crowds at the rally and the hearing. Forward on local power!

Thank you to everyone who wrote, posted, showed up, and spoke in favor of staying the course on local power.

The work continues: Now, we need your support at the Public Utilities Commission, which is hearing Boulder’s utility formation plans. They need to know we’re watching and care about them protecting Boulder’s right to municipalize!

Can you send a message to the Public Utilities Commission to support the next step?

A short and sweet note is best, thanking them for their work and asking that they please support Boulder’s constitutional right to form a municipal electric utility! Time is of the essence, so please email them today.

It’s up to the Commission to make Boulder’s constitutional right “real” by creating a realistic path for local power. There are 29 municipal utilities already in Colorado—so this isn’t a new concept—but the Commission has to show the way.

Email the Commission and let them know that you support municipalization in Boulder and defining a path for local power to happen in other communities (short notes are best!).

As a part of the Boulder community, you are leading the charge on climate action with local power as the model. The rest of the country is watching, ready to follow. Let’s go!


-New Era


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We need you—Campaign for Local Power update

This email was sent to our local power supporters on April 12, 2017.


As you know, Boulder’s been working towards the creation of a locally-owned electric utility powered by clean energy for the last several years. There’s a major update in this fight—another delay from Xcel—and we need your help to keep our energy future from slipping back into Xcel’s hands.

The latest: We’re closer than ever, and a big step is coming up: Boulder’s utility formation plan is set to be heard by the utility oversight commission in Colorado. But at the 11th hour, Xcel Energy has released two business-as-usual deals to halt that process!

Now, City Council will vote on whether to abandon this next big step toward clean, local power, temporarily or otherwise.

Make no mistake: What Xcel has put on the table is a bad deal for Boulder, and is another attempt to delay our progress.

Offer #1 is to sign a 20-year contract with Xcel again, with promises—but no accountability—to help Boulder use more clean energy. Offer #2 is to buy their system out for what would amount to 2-3x the price of what it’s worth. (Um, no thank you?)

Voters have spoken loud and clear on four separate occasions that they support the campaign for local power—we’re so close, we have to stay the course.

The clock is ticking, and City Council needs to hear from you before they vote. Can you email them to say you support staying the course on municipalization?

Click that button to compose a message—that email address will go to all council members. A quick note with your name saying you support staying the course and rejecting Xcel’s offers is perfect.

If you’d like more info, click here for our full explainer: what’s happening and why we oppose the delay.

With President Trump moving to undo major climate change mitigation efforts on the federal level, the stakes have never been higher—and bold, local leadership from our community has never been more important. We can’t put our energy future back in Xcel’s hands.


Molly, Emma, and the rest of the New Era team

P.S. We need a strong showing at the City Council hearing on Monday—can you join us? Click here for more details.

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Our message to Boulder City Council re: halting the PUC process

The following email was sent to Boulder City Council on April 11, 2017.

Dear City Council,

My name is Molly Fitzpatrick and I am the Organizing Director with New Era Colorado.

We would again like to express our deep appreciation for your persistent dedication to our community and your diligence on the issue of municipalization. I’m writing to reiterate our position, that continuing the PUC process is critically important for our community.

Our community has worked hard on municipalization for years—through so many elections, council meetings, study sessions, city open houses, and all the hard work that the Energy Future staff has done behind the scenes. Our voters made a bold, forward-thinking choice a long time ago, and they have since affirmed their decision on multiple occasions—what we would argue is the gold standard for a meaningful pursuit like this one. The critical moment—the upcoming PUC hearings—is finally upon us, and it is alarming that we would so hurriedly decide to halt that major step after all of this effort. Especially since, given the workings of the PUC, it is highly unlikely that we could simply hit the pause button on the proceedings and resume them as new post-election if voters rejected the settlement option(s)—which we believe they would. Delays are in Xcel’s interest and Xcel’s interest alone, particularly with the PUC hearings in sight.

On the offers themselves: Xcel’s “best and final” settlement options are weak, and ask the city—and our voters, again who have affirmed their choice on multiple occasions—to resume trusting Xcel to negotiate in good faith in the future, despite our city’s long history of challenging negotiations with them in the past. The franchise agreement, in practice, would be business as usual for Xcel. It’s missing critical accountability mechanisms, and offers little certainty in the pursuit of our community’s climate commitments—and in the process, it puts our energy future right back where it was when we embarked down this path as a community: in Xcel’s hands (particularly because the off-ramp options are quite hollow, in our view). The buyout option is a non-starter in our book and, we would guess, Xcel’s—since they couldn’t be under the illusion that Boulder would pay them so much more than the system is worth.

At every turn, our voters have consistently supported bold action in the face of the climate crisis and they’ve affirmed their support on multiple occasions—we’ve already taken this question to the people and given them a chance to voice support for another direction. And as President Trump is rolling back nearly every bit of progress that we’ve worked for at the national level, it is hard to imagine that our community would choose to cower at this time—and let Xcel lead instead, setting the pace for how we tackle a crisis that threatens life as we know it. The PUC process is literally just weeks away—we must stay the course and pursue the goals that voters have consistently supported.

We strongly urge you to move forward with the PUC process, and avoid any sort of compromise on Boulder’s values for a clean energy future.


Molly Fitzpatrick
Organizing Director
New Era Colorado

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An update on Boulder’s Campaign for Local Power

Boulder’s Campaign for Local Power: The Latest

TL;DR: Boulder’s fight to create a community-owned electric utility powered by renewable energy continues! With President Trump moving to undo major climate change mitigation efforts on the federal level, the stakes have never been higher—and local leadership has never been more important. But just as Boulder’s utility formation plans are set to be heard by the Public Utilities Commission of Colorado, Xcel Energy has released two offers to avoid the hearings and, in the case of one of the offers, get Boulder’s business back. On April 17th, Boulder City Council will hear from the community as to whether we should sign a 20-year agreement with Xcel, accept their costly “buyout” option, or continue on the path to municipalization at the Public Utilities Commission. Read on for more background, why we oppose these settlement options and support continuing down the path of municipalization, and what you can do to help bring local power to Boulder.

What’s the latest?
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of Colorado is reviewing Boulder’s municipalization application, with hearings set to begin on April 26th. Just over three weeks before these hearings begin, Xcel has asked Boulder to consider two “settlement” options—instead of continuing to pursue municipalization at the PUC.

What are the options Xcel offered?
1) To stay with Xcel or 2) To buy their system (read: poles, wires).

Option 1: Staying with Xcel | The city would again commit to Xcel, for a period of 20 years, with an off-ramp option. This option contains some renewable energy projects, but there’s again no guarantee from Xcel to help the city meet our climate commitment goals of 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Option 2: Buying the system outright | Xcel is giving Boulder the option of buying their system upfront, rather than go through the process at the Public Utilities Commission and the other standard price-setting processes. They’re asking Boulder to pay far more than the system is worth—it’d amount to 2x-3x its value.

What’s the verdict?
Xcel’s offers are business as usual. Municipalization remains the best tool we have to meet our community’s climate commitments! Boulder’s voters have consistently expressed their support for the creation of a local electric utility and a collective commitment to reducing our contributions to climate change by creating a clean energy future for the city. Though Boulder has a constitutional right to municipalize, Xcel has delayed and obstructed the municipalization process since its inception. Now, they’ve released this offer at the 11th hour, which would put our energy future back in their hands with no guarantees that we would move closer to our climate commitments. “Deja vu,” we think, is the term.


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