DENVER – Lawmakers representing rural Colorado’s farm, ranch and mountain communities denounced legislation Thursday that will double the renewable-energy mandate on rural ratepayers. Senate Bill 252 would raise from 10 percent to 20 percent the amount of power that rural electric cooperatives–the nonprofit utilities serving much of the state–must obtain from costly renewable-energy sources.
The measure, passed by the 2013 General Assembly before it concluded Wednesday, now awaits action by Gov. John Hickenlooper.
The rural state senators and representatives, joined by other rural Colorado stakeholders on the steps of the State Capitol at a news conference hosted by Americans For Prosperity-Colorado, called on the governor to veto the contentious legislation. The bill had sparked heated debate in both chambers of the legislature, leaving lawmakers sharply divided and emerging from the state Senate by only one vote.
“This measure came out of nowhere late in the legislative session without any input from the people who would be most affected by it–our state’s family farms and ranches and the small towns they rely on,” Americans For Prosperity’s Sean Paige said after the news conference.
“The bill blindsided rural lawmakers, and now it blindsides their constituents, who will be stuck with the tab,” Paige said.
He noted Colorado’s three largest newspapers have editorialized repeatedly against the measure.
“Even enthusiastic supporters of renewable energy mandates like the Denver Post editorial board concluded that this legislation goes too far, too fast,” Paige said. “It’s reckless, agenda-driven policy-making at its worst.”