From a handshake to a foot, Dems stick it to rural Colorado

Apr. 30, 2013

DENVER—Democrats in the legislature continued their assault on rural Colorado today by passing Senate Bill 252 on a party-line vote in the House. Sponsored by Denver Democrats Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino and Rep. Crisanta Duran, SB 252 forces the Democrats’ radical and costly environmental agenda on the backs of rural residents hit hardest by the economic downturn.


“This bill is the epitome of the Democrats’ ‘We-know-better-than-you’ approach to policy,” said House Minority Leader Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs.


“This bill was drafted without any bipartisan input and is sponsored by urban lawmakers who do not understand the devastating impact this bill will have on rural Colorado,” Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, added. “It only highlights the growing divide between rural Colorado and the Front Range urban corridor.”


Senate Bill 252 forces new renewable energy mandates on rural electric associations. Estimates for the costs of compliance with these new standards reach up to $4 billion and could raise rates by 20 percent. One study  shows SB 252 will drive Colorado’s statewide average unemployment rate 15 percent above the national average.


“This bill is a dagger in the heart of rural Colorado,” added Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose. “It’s absolutely shameful.”


Democrats falsely claim a two percent rate cap will contain the costs of SB 252, but that cap is largely fictional and easily circumvented.


In 2007, lawmakers and Governor Ritter negotiated a renewable energy mandate of 10 percent by 2020. SB 252 raises this mandate by 100 percent, mandating a 20 percent standard by 2020.


During the bill’s final debate on the Floor, Rep. Jared Wright, R-Fruita, compared the 2007 deal to a handshake for rural Colorado.


“This year, they’re getting the foot,” Wright said.


The bill is opposed by a long list of business organizations across Colorado and several prominent newspapers, including The Denver Post, the Pueblo Chieftain, the Colorado Springs Gazette and the Grand Junction Sentinel.