Senate Republicans React to New Executive Order

Denver – Colorado Senate Republicans today expressed disappointment and dismay at Gov. John Hickenlooper’s surprise decision to circumvent state law and the democratic process by issuing a unilateral executive order significantly increasing the state’s existing emissions reduction goals.

“This is not Washington, D.C,” said Senate President Kevin J. Grantham (R-Canon City), “and here in Colorado we do not govern by executive order.”

Colorado already has ambitious carbon reduction benchmarks in place, with the statutory goal of 30% renewable energy by the year 2030.  That goal can only be changed lawfully by new legislation, after a thoughtful debate and consideration by the people’s elected representatives in the General Assembly.

“The Governor’s failure to proceed in an open, collaborative, bipartisan way means this policy never will have the stamp of public legitimacy it needs, and that it most likely will be challenged in court,” added Grantham. “This unilateral action seems out of character for a Governor whose overall successes stem from his willingness to take centrist positions, follow common sense, and work collaboratively with all parties.”

Hickenlooper’s announcement, made before a hand-picked group of environmental activists, is seen by some as a response to weeks of political pressure from California billionaire and Democrat kingmaker Tom Steyer. Steyer wants Colorado to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, made up of states that want to comply with a never-ratified, recently-nullified Paris Climate Accord. Follow this link to see Steyer's message directed at Hickenlooper. 

Others in Senate leadership also voiced concerns about the Governor’s actions.

“The Governor today implicitly admitted that the state’s renewal energy goals cannot be accelerated without closing additional power plants ahead of schedule and creating substantial unemployment in rural communities,” said Greeley Republican John Cooke “It’s folly and hypocrisy for one arm of state government to consciously destroy jobs in rural communities, while another arm of government promises assistance to mitigate the horrible impact of that policy.”

Senator Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction), who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Energy and the Environment, said he didn’t believe Hickenlooper had the authority to change the state’s renewable energy goals through an executive order. And he warned against other efforts by the governor to shortcut the public process.

“The Governor would be ill-advised to attempt to ram that change through the Public Utilities Commission without General Assembly approval.  Any rubber-stamp action by the governor’s appointees on the PUC will be met by strong opposition – in court and most likely at the ballot box,” said Scott. 

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commented 2017-07-14 07:51:53 -0600 · Flag
Jobs v. the environment is a false dichotomy. Please check with Brad Udall at the Colorado Water Institute for county by county U.S. maps regarding action on climate change. It is an existential threat.
published this page in Newsroom 2017-07-11 21:45:21 -0600
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