Donald Trump vs Joe Biden on Colorado issues: Where the presidential candidates stand

A breakdown of where the candidates stand on health care, marijuana, education, public lands issues and other major policies

  Energy & Environment




Do you support fracking and what, if any, regulations would you put on it?


The use of hydraulic fracturing technology allows energy companies to drill miles-long horizontal wells and extract oil and gas deposits by fracturing shale rock. In Colorado, fracking has led to a boom in the energy industry in Colorado, which counts $30 billion in economic impact and thousands of jobs. However, the proliferation of wells and their location near Front Range communities is generating conflict.


Does not support ban on fracking but eventually wants to phase it out

A: His position on fracking became unclear at an earlier Democratic debate but Biden has reaffirmed that he won’t support a fracking ban. He supports reinstating methane emission regulations on the industry, but fracking is included as part of his energy plan, although he has said he wants to ban it eventually.




Supports fracking

A: Leases issued by the federal government for fracking operations reached their highest point since the initial fracking boom, largely because Trump has made the expansion of fracking a central policy position. He has criticized Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris for wanting to ban fracking. Earlier this year, Trump freed natural gas producers from needing to detect and fix methane leaks by repealing an Obama-era rule, and his campaign website celebrates natural gas production as a key element of energy independence.





How would your administration’s energy policy move toward 100% renewable energy, which also is the goal for Colorado leaders?


The push toward renewable energy continues, but reaching 100% would require major changes at the regulatory and consumer level. In Colorado, just 23% of the state’s power is generated from wind, solar and hydroelectric power, with the rest coming from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. The national picture looks similar. Achieving that goal will mean financial pain for a fossil fuel industry that employs more than 30,000 workers in the state, among oil, gas and coal. But it could also mean new green jobs. Colorado’s Democratic governor set a goal to reach 100% renewable energy by 2040.


Wants emissions-free energy production by 2035

A: Biden proposed an ambitious $2 trillion climate plan that he says would get the U.S. to emissions-free power production by 2035. His ambitious climate plan includes a number of measures to hit these targets at the federal level, and highlights ongoing efforts here in Colorado to do the same. Biden also argues that transitioning to green energy will create new jobs.




Strong supporter of fossil fuels

A: He has throughout his administration rolled back policies that would move Colorado and the nation closer to 100% renewable energy. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris accords, which sought to slash U.S. carbon emissions by 26-28% by 2025. He repealed the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which tightened emissions regulations for power plants. His campaign website makes no mention of transitioning to renewable energy and instead touts his policies to “unleash oil and gas production in the U.S.”





How will your administration regulate the use of the Colorado River to prevent water shortages?


The dual pressures of climate change and population growth are expected to exacerbate the challenge of water shortages. Colorado has a state-level plan for managing river usage, but the federal government will have a role to play in mediating the competing demands of the seven states and Mexico, where residents, farmers and environmental groups have concerns about having their needs met by the Colorado River.


Water infrastructure upgrade needed

A: The campaign’s website does identify the challenges facing the Colorado River. How he would respond is less clear, but he said he supports efforts to ensure clean drinking water and upgrade infrastructure.




Signed water agreement

A: The growing concern over the Colorado River’s ability to support a population of 50 million people in the western U.S. led last year to a water-management accord involving seven states and Mexico that Trump signed. His administration also fast-tracked a 140 mile pipeline to transfer water from Lake Powell, a key Colorado River reservoir, to communities in southern Utah.





What would your administration do in response to the proliferation of wildfires in the West?


The catastrophic fires that ravaged California communities for four straight years set records, putting policymakers across the West on notice: as global temperatures rise, natural disasters are expected to occur more frequently and be more destructive. States like Colorado have responded by increasing funding to fight fires and prevent them. The maintenance of power lines is another issue. The federal government is commiting more resources to the problem as well, even as the president has sparred with state leaders. But the federal government’s role could expand in unexpected ways if the trend continues.


Looks to climate plan, but few details

A: The campaign released a 1-minute video blasting Trump for his response to the California wildfires, and Biden cast the issue in the light of climate change, saying action was needed now. He hasn’t offered details for addressing the fire threat in particular but has suggested his climate plan would help mitigate the issue. The campaign told The Sun Biden supports building infrastructure that is more fire resistant




Advocates for forest management

A: He has tried to eliminate the budget of the nation’s top fire science division and accelerated cuts to fire science that started under the Obama administration. He has advocated for “forest management,” a practice that, scientists say, is inadequate to address current fires, which are linked to climate change.



The Issues

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The Candidates

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Joe Biden

Joe Biden

Former Vice President and U.S. Senator   

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Incumbent president and businessman