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January 12, 2022

Boulder County Commissioners to the Boulder County Community and President Biden: This is a climate emergency

Boulder County, Colo. -- The following is a statement from the Boulder County Commissioners:

Our hearts are with our neighbors, friends, and community members who are dealing with the painful aftermath of the Marshall Fire. We grieve the loss of life, the loss of homes and businesses, and the loss of a sense of security we've all experienced as a result of this catastrophe. This tragedy, however, has brought out the best in our community — an outpouring of support from individuals, non-profits, and businesses to help those who have been directly impacted by this disaster.

This devastating urban firestorm swept through parts of unincorporated Boulder County, Superior, and Louisville leaving a path of destruction as it picked up speed driven by hurricane-force winds, and ignited parched grasslands dried from near record dry weather conditions. This much is clear: this fire was able to intensify and spread because of conditions created by the climate crisis.

“Boulder County has been hit by climate-related disaster upon disaster,” said Boulder County Commissioners Matt Jones, who had to evacuate his own home in Louisville because of the Marshall Fire. “Beyond the challenging emotional impacts to our community, recovery from these tragic events are time-consuming, resource-draining, and very costly.”

Since 1989, Boulder County has experienced seven significant wildfires and a 500-year flood event on top of the global pandemic disaster. And Boulder County is not alone. Colorado's climate is changing. It’s becoming warmer and drier, and extreme weather events are becoming more common. All Colorado communities are threatened by severe climate impacts including more destructive wildfires, intense heat waves and droughts, reduced snowpack, increased air pollution and changing precipitation, among others.

“While we in Boulder County are focused on providing immediate assistance for our community members in need, we have also been asked how residents can help reduce the impacts of climate change,” Commissioner Marta Loachamin said “Because climate change is a human-made crisis, each one of us has the ability to take action and change the course of the future.”

With the support of Boulder County residents, Boulder County’s Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience (OSCAR) has been working to combat climate threats for decades. Residents can sign up here to receive updatesto stay informed about ways to take action on climate locally.

However, systems-level change is the most impactful way to fight the climate crisis. As we recover from the Marshall Fire, Boulder County will continue our climate action work, but we cannot do it alone. We need more support and ambition from the federal government, to stand a chance. Make your voices heard by contacting your members of Congress and state legislators. You can also learn about Boulder County’s potentially precedent-setting climate liability lawsuit against ExxonMobil and Suncor Energy.

“The best way to fight the climate crisis is through systemic changes,” Commissioner Claire Levy said.— “Our lawsuit against these oil giants is about demanding that these companies pay their fair share of the costs our communities are incurring from climate change impacts so that the costs do not fall disproportionately on taxpayers. May this moment serve as a catalyst for action for all of us.”

Headshots of three current commissioners in horizontal alignment with their names to the right of each photo