Anti-rolling coal bill on its way to governor

Cyclists, pedestrians and outdoor dining enthusiasts, breathe easier! A bill to stamp out the practice of “rolling coal,” when a driver of a diesel truck deliberately revs up exhaust to blow black smoke, is on its way to the governor.

What a long, strange trip it’s been.

Democratic Rep. Joann Ginal of Fort Collins has been pushing for a ban on “rolling coal” for the last two legislative session. Both her bills died in the Senate, in 2016 and in early March of this year.

But Ginal, along with Sen. Don Coram, a Montrose Republican, didn’t give up, and decided to take another version out for a spin. Three weeks after the first bill died, Coram took the lead on introducing a new version that would soothe the concerns of his Republican colleagues.

The latest proposal eliminated language saying that those who “roll-coal” intend to harass or obscure the vision of cyclists, pedestrians and other drivers. Republicans have raised concerns in the past about proving intent. Supporters have pointed out that in order to blow that black smoke, exhaust equipment in diesel vehicles must be illegally, and intentionally, modified. 

With the intentional harassment issue cleaned up, the bill picked up a critical third vote in the Senate Transportation Committee, from Sen. Ray Scott of Grand Junction, who had voted against the bill last year. The bill makes rolling coal a class A traffic offense with a $100 fine.

Related: These 3 GOP lawmakers killed an anti “rolling coal” bill in Colorado

The measure blew through the Senate with support from all of the Senate’s 17 Democrats and five Republicans, and won similar bipartisan support in the House, with a final vote of 40 to 25 on Tuesday.

Theresa Conley of Conservation Colorado cheered the passage, calling it “a significant win for public health and the environment.” Rolling coal is a nuisance that intends only to harm and irritate other people, she said, and also pointed out that Colorado is just the second state in the nation to ban rolling coal.

The measure now heads to the governor for signing.


Feature photo from YouTube video, courtesy Diesel Truck Authority

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.


  1. Good. The intent of this action is nothing more than to be an ass to other people that you disagree with. And it doesn’t help the air around here, either, which is also part of the point. These idiots are doing this for no other reason than to be parasites. It shows NO positive character traits, it’s just a stupid and destructive streak in these people. In several ways, it should also be seen as assault.

    $100 is letting them off cheap.

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