Cut Your Consumption, and Still Pay More

Un-free Paris!


Senator Ken Salazar talked today about the immigration reform bill in the U.S. Senate and insisted that the measure isn’t dead yet. As M.E. Sprengelmeyer of theRocky Mountain News reports:

Despite Thursday night’s Senate vote shelving a controversial immigration reform bill, the legislation can survive, Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar said this morning.

“No, it’s not dead. Defeat is not an option,” Salazar, D-Denver, told CNN on the morning after backers of comprehensive immigration reform fell 15 votes short of the 60 votes needed to bring the measure up for final action.

People who consider the legislation to be “amnesty” for illegal immigrants celebrated the vote this morning, but even they warned that it likely was not the end of the story.

“This is a testament to the will of the American people and a great victory for our country,” Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Littleton, said in a release Thursday night. “It’s time to move forward with what we should have been doing when this bill was originally passed is 1986, and consistently enforce the laws. I call it Plan A.”

The Washington Post reported today that the immigration bill had stalled:

A tenuous compromise to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws collapsed last night when senators from both parties refused to cut off debate and move to a final vote, handing the unlikely alliance of Democratic leaders and President Bush a setback on a major domestic priority.

The defeat came after months of painstaking negotiations and weeks of debate as a 45 to 50 procedural vote fell well short of the 60 votes needed to break the filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) then pulled the bill from the floor, while holding out hope that the Senate could resurrect the measure within weeks.

“There’s no reason to be upset. I think that we have to look toward passing this bill,” Reid said after 9 p.m., even as he catalogued a long list of futile efforts at compromise. “It’s something that needs to be done.”
But he was quick to place responsibility for the defeat on Bush, who had made passage of the measure a top legislative goal. “The headlines are going to be, ‘The President Fails Again,’ ” Reid said. “It’s his bill.”

With Bush out of the country this week, he left the lobbying on the bill to key aides, including Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez. They watched from Vice President Cheney’s ceremonial office just off the Senate chamber last night as the bill stalled.

Thirty-seven Democrats, seven Republicans and independent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.) voted to break the filibuster. Thirty-eight Republicans, 11 Democrats and independent Sen. Bernard Sanders (Vt.) voted against it. Maryland’s two Democratic senators voted yes. Virginia’s Republican senator, John W. Warner, and its Democratic senator, James Webb, voted no.

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If you use less energy in your home, you can be proud of yourself for helping out the environment. That will probably be small consolation when Xcel Energy raises your rates anyway, but at least you’re saving the earth.

As Zach Fox of The Denver Post reports:

One citizen expressed opposition Thursday to a provision in Xcel Energy’s natural-gas rate settlement that would add a surcharge to all residential bills if homeowners use less gas than anticipated.

“The ludicrousness of this is high in my mind,” said Russell Weisfield, 29, of Arvada. “If customers are conscientious of usage … they could have their rates raised, which defeats the idea of conservation.”

The fixed surcharge would be applied to all residential users, regardless of the amount of gas they used individually, if overall gas consumption in the year ending June 30, 2008, was lower than expected.

Conversely, if overall gas consumption was higher than expected, all homeowners would receive a slight deduction on their bills.

Xcel said that even if a surcharge is applied, customers would still end up with lower bills if they cut back on gas consumption. A company spokesman said the surcharge is needed to help the company maintain revenues while still encouraging conservation. Gas usage over the last year decreased by 2.5 percent from the previous year, Xcel spokesman Tom Henley said.

In December, Xcel filed for a $41.9 million increase in natural gas rates. The company this month agreed to a settlement that would raise gas rates by $32.3 million, but that settlement must be approved by the Public Utilities Commission.

Under former Gov. Bill Owens, the Public Utilities Commission was little more than a matador for Xcel, waving through whatever they wanted. Hopefully that will change under Gov. Bill Ritter.


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Senator Wayne Allard has never been very active during his two terms in the Senate, and perhaps he was better off that way. Lately he just seems to be making people angry with anything he proposes.

As Chris Barge of the Rocky Mountain News reports:

Army representatives told an angry and sometimes hostile gathering of southeast Colorado ranchers, farmers and other residents on Thursday that it wants to expand its Pi

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Jason Bane

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