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Controversial Renewable Bill Signed

Hickenlooper signs controversial renewable bill  
Written by Tony Rayl   
Thursday, 06 June 2013
Denver- Governor John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 252 on Wednesday, a measure that opponents say increases utility rates on working families across the state by mandating that customer-owned rural cooperatives and utilities increase their renewable energy standard when they can least afford it. Supporters say the bill is landmark legislation that will boost Colorado’s rural renewable energy standard and create clean energy jobs.
Senate Republicans expressed outrage at what they view as another assault on rural Colorado. Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, said, “Senate President John Morse initiated the urban attack on rural Colorado when he sponsored SB 13-252. With his signature, Governor Hickenlooper joins Morse in perhaps the largest unfunded government mandate in Colorado history.”

He went on to say, “In addition to disregarding the bipartisan opposition to this legislation, the Governor is ignoring the common interests of Coloradans in favor of special interests of extremists. Colorado families, businesses owners, farmers and ranchers will now be on the hook for billions of dollars in increased utility rates. Additionally, all government entities -- municipalities, school districts, fire departments -- will now face unnecessary rate increases.”
Senate President John Morse (D-Colo. Springs) and Sen. Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass) carried the bill in the Senate, and Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D-Denver) and Rep. Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) carried it in the House of Representatives.  Both Pres. Morse and Sen. Schwartz heralded the bill’s signing as twin triumphs for Colorado’s economy and environment.

“For society to move forward, its people must look forward, and that’s exactly what we’ve done with Senate Bill 252. It set modest, attainable goals for large cooperatives to increase their renewable energy percentages over time, and in turn Coloradans will reap significant benefits,” said Pres. Morse.  “This bill will help stabilize the cost of electricity in the long run, create jobs and economic activity, and limit greenhouse gas emissions. These are all good things, and I am incredibly pleased to know we have taken another step toward national leadership in the clean energy field.”

“I know rural Colorado offers tremendous potential for increased renewable energy production and new jobs as a result of SB 252,” said Sen. Schwartz.  “We have significant underdeveloped renewable resources in wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro, and now coal bed methane, that can be harnessed to generate affordable electricity in rural areas.  Methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is currently escaping into the atmosphere from coal mines, will now create electricity and help us address the destructive impacts of climate change. Colorado's commitment to expanding renewable energy will benefit our state long term with stable electricity rates for homes and businesses.”

Senator Greg Brophy, R-Wray, said, “Here is another example of the Democrats’ callous attitude toward the families in rural Colorado who are struggling to make ends meet. Utility bills will now increase on the very people who can least afford it.”

Senator Steve King, R-Grand Junction, said, “Senate Bill 252 will directly impact people on fixed incomes in rural areas who are just barely hanging on in this economy. I am very disappointed that Governor Hickenlooper would sign yet another measure that only gained bipartisan opposition and puts seniors at risk.”

Opponents of Senate Bill 252 include Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, National Federation of Independent Business, Colorado Concern, Colorado Mining Association, IBEW Local #111, IBEW Local #667, IBEW Local #969, IBEW Local #12, IBEW Local #68, IBEW Local #113, Rocky Mountain Agribusiness Association, Colorado Corn Growers Association, Colorado Telecommunications Association, Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Cattlemen Association, Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, Action 22, Club 20, Progressive 15, Metro North Chamber of Commerce, Pueblo Home Builders Association, Colorado Hospital Association, Economic Development Council of Colorado, Craig Moffat Economic Development Partnership and the Douglas County Business Alliance.

Senator Brophy concluded by asking, “If Senate Bill 252 is such a reasonable piece of legislation, I am curious why the Governor decided to sign it in Denver and not when he was traveling in rural parts of the state?”