Expansion of Colo. energy office becomes law
DENVER (AP) — The scope of Colorado’s energy office will expand beyond renewables, with funding for all types of energy development projects in the mix under legislation that Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Thursday.
The office will now include two funds — one for clean and renewable energy development and another for all other sources of energy, including traditional sources such as oil and gas and coal. The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Jon Becker and Democratic Sen. Pat Steadman also changes the name of the office from the Governor’s Energy Office to the Colorado Energy Office.
First created in 1977 to promote energy conservation, the office took on new significance under former Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, whose focus on renewable energy development was a legacy of his term from 2007 to 2011. The legislation went through several changes before passing, and environmental groups that were critical saw it as a Republican attempt to dismantle a hallmark of Ritter’s time in office.
Becker, of Fort Morgan, called the re-organization a “next step” in the progression of energy development for Colorado.
“It opens up what this office is doing and how they can do it,” he said.
The bill gained wide bipartisan support. However, environmental groups initially opposed the idea because they worried it took attention from renewable energy projects like wind and solar.
“We wanted very much to keep those doors open,” said Pete Maysmith, the executive director of the Colorado Conservation Voters. “As introduced, the bill didn’t do that.”
Maysmith said his group is now “happy to support the bill because it does allow that focus.”
Money for a clean and renewable energy fund will come from the state’s general fund, while other energy sources will get support from severance tax dollars. Next year, each fund will get about $1.5 million. After that, each will get annual support until 2017 — the clean and renewable energy fund will get $1.6 million, and other energy sources $1.5 million.
“I think it fits nicely with how we have now expanded and balanced the mission to look at all of the above,” said Steadman, of Denver.
The change comes amid growing interest from oil and gas companies in the oil-rich Niobrara formation that underlies northeast Colorado and southeast Wyoming.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Craig and Moffat County make the Craig Press’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Seven miles along the side of Highway 318 as it passes through Sand Wash Basin will shortly be the location for a new fence.