All too often, people feel like they can’t change anything: “What can one person do?” Through community organizing and leader development, our Alliance supports people as they build and exert their collective political power.
Community organizing brings people together – first to see that they’re not alone, and then to learn how to effectively join with others to make change happen.
Our organizers provide our members with leadership and skills training, then support them as they identify issue campaigns with clear goals, plan strategies and deliver on those plans. In this way, we seek to make positive change, strengthen democracy and develop leaders who will become the decision-makers of the future.
We may work on different issues depending on the place and the time, but all of our efforts come together to help build grassroots power and a Western Slope that is healthy, just and self-reliant.
A Name Change: Western Colorado Alliance for Community Action
After conducting an extensive strategic planning assessment in 2017, our members launched some new and exciting work that we believe will refocus the organization on its original mission of creating a healthy and resilient Western Slope. It seemed a perfect time to change our name as well — from Western Colorado Congress to WESTERN COLORADO ALLIANCE FOR COMMUNITY ACTION!
Supported Cottage Food Businesses
Drafted and successfully lobbied for the Colorado Cottage Foods Act in the state legislature, which gives farmers and home producers safe and equitable marketing opportunities. In 2015, we passed a follow-up bill that covered products like pickles and salsa so small producers have more ways to market their fruit and vegetable crops.
Established Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area
The culmination of more than a decade of citizen action by our members and allies, the US Congress officially designated over 66,000 acres of Dominguez Canyon as wilderness within the 209,000 acre Dominguez Escalante National Conservation Area.
Set Renewable Energy Standard
As part of a statewide coalition, we helped pass the ballot initiative which established the first-ever Renewable Energy Standard for Colorado, requiring 10% of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2015. The legislature has increased the amount of renewable energy required three times since 2004, including a bill in 2010 which required investor-owned utilities to generate 30% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2020.
Published “Your Land, Your Rights”
Our staff and members researched and published the handbook, “Your Land, Your Rights,” to help landowners who are impacted by oil and gas development in Garfield, Delta and Rio Blanco Counties. In 2005, we followed up with a second version for Montrose, Ouray, Mesa and San Miguel Counties.
Hosted Sustainable Living & Energy Fairs
Our members organized a weekend-long Energy Fair in Delta to spark greater interest in clean and renewable energy options. The event was repeated in three subsequent years, expanding to become a Sustainable Living and Energy Fair which included ideas for alternative building materials and healthy living.
Added Public Voice on Oil & Gas
Our members drafted and passed a bill in the state legislature that required the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) to include a seat for a representative of the general public, and established an emergency environmental response fund for abandoned oil and gas wells.
Reached Agreement Over Timber Sales
After six months of negotiations, our members signed the Keystone Agreement with the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests which resolved issues of monitoring timber sale impacts and water quality, providing protection for ecologically sensitive areas, and creating a citizens advisory committee.
Blocked Unnecessary Powerline
We successfully blocked Colorado Ute Electric Association’s proposal to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to build a 345KV power line from Rifle, CO, to San Juan, NM. The commission rejected the proposal as “an unnecessary investment” that the utility was unable to finance.
Western Colorado Congress Begins
Representatives from citizen groups across Western Colorado (our “Founding Humans”) met in Montrose to outline the purpose and goals for a new organization that could unite them under a common banner. They named the new group the “Western Slope Public Interest Congress”, which would be shortened to “Western Colorado Congress” after just a few months.
Our Staff Team
Membership & Database Coordinator
Our Board of Directors
Western Colorado Alliance of Mesa County
Uncompahgre Valley Association
Grand Valley Citizens Alliance
Ridgway-Ouray Community Council