Colorado Republicans start fight on energy bill

DENVER — Colorado Republicans want to undo some left-leaning proposals adopted last year, and their campaign starts with electricity.

A GOP lawmaker has proposed a bill to strike a new law that dramatically raises renewable energy requirements for Colorado’s rural cooperative electric associations. Democrats are giving a frosty reception to the idea, expected to be the first Republican repeal effort defeated in the Democratic Legislature.

The energy law helped inspire last year’s failed secession movements in parts of rural Colorado.

The law requires Colorado’s rural cooperative electric associations to get 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, up from 10 percent. That’s a lower threshold than required of electricity providers serving most Coloradans, but Republicans vigorously argued that rural residents can’t afford the upgrade.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper said he had “misgivings” about the energy bill, but decided it would contribute to cleaner air. He appointed a commission to examine implementation of the law, but the panel concluded without recommending any changes.

Republican state Sen. Ted Harvey said Hickenlooper’s panel failed to address fears in rural Colorado of rising energy prices.

“The committee did nothing,” Harvey said. “It was a waste of time and a waste of a press release by the governor to try to say he that was doing something productive to try to solve the problem.”
The energy bill was a prime sticking point for the 11 rural Colorado counties that considered secession last year, said Moffat County Commissioner John Kincaid.


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