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Vice President Kamala Harris, right, takes part in a moderated discussion about climate change and clean energy during an appearance in the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Monday, March 6, 2023, in the northwest Denver suburb of Arvada, Colo. The stop was part of a nationwide tour to discuss the effects of climate change and to renew the focus on clean sources of energy. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ARVADA — Vice President Kamala Harris spoke about increasing water storage and ramping up the use of electric school buses during a panel discussion Monday in Arvada with Democratic U.S. Rep. Brittany Pettersen and professional rock climber Sasha DiGiulian.

The water and climate change discussion at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities largely highlighted recently enacted policies by the Biden administration, including through the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by Congress in 2021. 

“We need to be equally invested and prioritize in everything from conservation and recycling to water storage, in particular underground water storage,” Harris said. “We have grown up with a system that when there are floods the state of mind is to address the emergency at the moment, which means for many states, that are coastal in particular, flush that water into the ocean instead of capturing it.”

Harris said the administration is working with new satellite technology that maps water around the globe, showing trends and where water is being lost. She said she would like to see that data widely distributed, namely to farmers. 

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“They can then make decisions about when they are planting their crops and what kind of crops to plant,” she said. 

Harris also discussed the potential for the U.S. to step further into electric school bus manufacturing.

Harris is the highest-ranking Biden administration official to visit Colorado since President Joe Biden visited the high country in October to designate Camp Hale a national monument. 

The event Monday began with brief remarks from Gov. Jared Polis and state Rep. Lindsey Daugherty, D-Arvada. 

“It makes sense that the vice president would choose our state for a very important conversation about the environment, climate and sustainability and that’s because we like to think we’re doing a lot right here in Colorado,” Polis said. “Extreme drought threatens our agriculture, our recreation industry — the situation around water in the west is becoming more and more difficult.” 

DiGiulian, who lives in Boulder, advocates for environmental issues. Pettersen, who lives in Lakewood, represents Arvada in Congress.The 45-minute conversation was streamed on the White House Youtube channel.

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Elliott Wenzler

Elliott Wenzler is a reporter for the Colorado Sun, covering local politics, the state legislature and other topics. She also assists with The Unaffiliated newsletter. Previously, she was a community reporter in Douglas County for Colorado Community Media. She has won awards for her...