Colorado lawmakers are split, mostly along party lines, when it comes to reactions to the EPA’s rollout of new carbon emission control measures yesterday. Both Senators, Michael Bennet and Mark Udall praised the new rules as a victory in the fight against climate change. The rules are expected to cost Americans $50 billion annually, $17 billion of that in increased electric bills, and around 250,000 jobs. The individual’s electricity rate could increase by up to $200 per year. Udall and Bennett say the 2,000 jobs it will create in renewable energy jobs, many of which will be temporary, will be a boost to the state, but have yet to address the coal producing counties in Colorado. In a statement, Bennet said he “supports the President’s action”. Udall stated that “the EPA’s draft rule is a good start”, and that he plans to fight to enforce it. Both were asked to make tailored statements to the coal producing counties of Northwest Colorado, which could be devastated by the new rule. Udall has not responded, while Bennet’s staff simply said he stands by his original statement. Congressman Scott Tipton blasted the move, saying “those who will be hurt worst by the President’s war against affordable energy are middle-class and low-income families, seniors on fixed incomes, rural Americans and small businesses.” Numerous coal-based power plants that provide low cost energy for families and small businesses in Colorado’s 3rd District would be directly impacted by the proposed EPA rule, including the Hayden Generating Station, and the Craig Generating Station, which provides over 300 jobs alone. There are measures being introduced in Congress which would block the rules from taking effect, at least for a while. Experts feel some of those measures could stand a chance of passing, seeing as how some Democratic lawmakers from coal producing states are standing against the president on the new rules. The full statements from Bennet, Udall and Tipton can be seen below.
Congressman Scott Tipton:
“The President is ignoring the American people by unilaterally moving forward with his cap-and-trade agenda. The President’s proposed rules amount to a backdoor energy tax that would force states to comply with heavy-handed regulations that will cause electricity costs to skyrocket for countless Americans, kill jobs, and further slow the economy. What’s most concerning is that those who will be hurt worst by the President’s war against affordable energy are middle-class and low-income families, seniors on fixed incomes, rural Americans and small businesses,” said Tipton. “Instead of working toward a responsible all-of-the-above strategy needed for a secure and stable energy future, the President is picking winners and losers and waging a war on America’s most abundant and affordable energy resources. This Administration’s potential regulations are already having a serious impact on rural communities in the 3rd District including Craig, Hayden, Gunnison and Delta, and will only get worse should this proposed rule be implemented. It can be stopped. In the House we have passed legislation that would prevent the Administration from unilaterally implementing these destructive rules. Now the Senate must join us in standing up for the American people against the Administration’s regulatory overreach by passing the Electricity Security and Affordability Act.”
Senator Mark Udall:
“Climate change is threatening Colorado’s special way of life. Coloradans have seen firsthand the harmful effects of climate change, including severe drought, record wildfires and reduced snowpack,” Udall said. “Coloradans also have led the nation over the past decade in confronting this challenge and showing how we can reduce carbon emissions, protect our land, water and air, and strengthen our economy. The EPA’s draft rule is a good start, and I will fight to ensure it complements the work we have already done in Colorado and provides states the flexibility they need to make it successful.”
“I support the President’s action to curb dangerous carbon pollution, because Colorado is already experiencing the negative effects of a changing climate. The constant threat of wildfire, prolonged drought that imperils our $40 billion agriculture industry, and our shortened winters (and ski season) and longer summers all demand action. Fortunately, Colorado is already well-positioned to meet these carbon reduction targets.
“Colorado has not waited for Washington to act. For years, our state has led the nation by forging commonsense energy solutions that reduce harmful pollution, including our renewable portfolio standard, the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act, and the recent, industry-supported rules regarding fugitive methane.
“I am pleased that the EPA will allow for an extended comment period on the draft rule. I look forward to reviewing the details of the proposal and working to ensure the final rule reflects Colorado’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions while generating strong economic growth.”