Letter: Don’t roll back renewable energy
One of the people heading a Senate committee is 80-year-old Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma. He is the head of Environment and Public Works. Inhofe is a true climate change denier. Nice to know that he will be an unbiased watchdog for the environment. In 2012 “Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) appeared on Voice of Christian Youth America’s radio program ‘Crosstalk’ with Vic Eliason to promote his new book ‘The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,’ where he repeated his frequent claim that human-influenced climate change is impossible because ‘God’s still up there.’ Inhofe cited Genesis 8:22 to claim that it is ‘outrageous’ and arrogant for people to believe human beings are ‘able to change what He is doing in the climate.’” (from Right Wing Watch)
As someone who has been involved with solar energy for the last seven years, I have found the GOP trend against alternative energy alarming. Recently, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio and Kansas, all red states, have enacted regulations to make it more costly for residents to go solar. Oklahoma actually undid a 1977 law prohibiting extra fees for solar panel owners so it could pass a law to charge solar panel owners an extra fee. That’s Inhofe’s Oklahoma.
Closer to home, Republicans in the Colorado House want to undo the progress we’ve made with solar in our state (Post Independent 1/11/15). Republican Reps. Brian DelGrasso (Loveland) and Ray Scott (Grand Junction) have decided to try and roll back the alternative energy legislation approved by voters in 2004 and expanded in recent years, claiming it has forced a burden on ratepayers in Colorado, while at the same time acknowledging that we have one of the lowest electrical rates in the country.
Can you say “cognitive dissonance?” According to DelGrasso, “Oil, coal and natural gas not only provide clean, affordable and reliable power, but are economical drivers in many communities in Colorado.” With Loveland and the Front Range not meeting ozone standards due largely to oil and gas development, perhaps DelGrasso should look up the definition of “clean power” (and cognitive dissonance). It’s worth noting that Xcel Energy was a major donor to his campaign. Xcel is also proposing rate increases for solar owners. It appears that solar is good if Xcel builds it and can charge regular rates for the power, but solar is bad if I produce my own power. Extractive industries have been financially supporting lawsuits to overturn solar mandates around the country and around the world.
As an alternative energy supporter, I have been told that us tree huggers have been the ruination of the economy of Rifle. When gas was $14/million BTUs and technology was so 2000s there was money flowing like, well, natural gas. Now with new technology and multiple plays, natural gas is below $3/million BTUs. I’d say the industry is a victim of its own success. France, Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Northern Ireland, as well as parts of Spain and Switzerland have enacted fracking bans. New York state has recently joined the anti-fracking club. I guess they aren’t as concerned about economic drivers from fossil fuels as they are about the health and welfare of their citizens. All of these anti-fracking laws are being challenged in court, again by the extractive industries.
Perhaps DelGrasso and Scott should consider finding alternative energy solutions to driving the economies of their districts. They do exist. Polls show that almost 80 percent of Colorado residents support increased alternative energy mandates and net metering without increased fees. Relying on dinosaur fuels for energy will lead us to the same fate as the dinosaurs.
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