2014 legislative session starts with push back against renewable energy mandate

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Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid

With a new legislative session underway, lawmakers already are challenging energy regulations that were signed into law in 2013.

State Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, proposed Senate Bill 35, a bill that effectively would gut the renewable energy mandate. Now law, Senate Bill 13-252 requires cooperative electric associations to get at least 20 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2020.

SB 35 swiftly was introduced into the State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee Wednesday and just as swiftly was killed in committee.

“The governor admitted when he signed (SB 252), at his signing ceremony for the bill, that the legislation did not take into consideration any of the concerns of the ratepayers, the businesses and the cooperatives of the state,” Harvey said. “The governor then had the audacity to sign the bill and at the very same time (issue) an executive order to appoint an executive committee to iron out the issues. That’s not how the process works.”

Among other things, SB 35 would have returned the renewable energy standards to what they were before SB 252 passed, taking the punch out of the law.

“My goal was to carry through legislation that would repeal a bad bill,” Harvey said.

Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid traveled to Denver to testify in favor of SB 35. He long has spoken out against higher renewable energy standards, and this was an opportunity to make a point to the governor, he said.

“I think what we did yesterday was necessary to seek the greater good. I think what we did yesterday was pay a dividend later on for the session,” Kinkaid said.

There never was much chance for SB 35, and Kinkaid said it functioned as a political statement. It could alert the governor and Democratic lawmakers to the issue so they will pay attention to upcoming legislation challenging SB 252, Kinkaid said.

State. Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, proposed a bill Wednesday that offers a compromise. Instead of repealing SB 252, it would, among other things, reduce the 20 percent requirement on energy cooperatives to 15 percent.

Kinkaid is exercising “cautious optimism,”

“If people can get out of the trench and work across party lines, maybe we can get somewhere,” he said.

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@craigdailypress.com.

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