Salazar fires back at critics of his ‘difficult’ no vote on cap-and-trade bill

U.S. Rep. John Salazar Friday responded to a League of Conservation Voters TV ad campaign blasting him for voting no on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill by defending his record on green jobs creation and criticizing the bill for its potential economic impacts for Colorado families.

“I have a strong track record of creating green jobs and investing in renewable energy both in Colorado and across the nation. I am very proud of that record,” Salazar said in an e-mail response to the Colorado Independent. “While I strongly agree the issue of climate change must be addressed, this specific bill would have placed a disproportionate financial impact on individual households in Colorado’s Third Congressional District and, for that reason, I could not support it.”

Salazar, a blue-dog Democrat from the largely rural and agrarian Western Slope, is the brother of Interior Secretary and former U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar. He has taken a pounding from green groups for being the only Democratic member of the Colorado delegation to vote against the bill, which passed by a scant 7-vote margin of 219-212 in June. The Senate will take it up after the August recess.

“As I said the day I took that difficult vote, it is my hope that as this bill works its way through Congress, we end up with a bill that I will be proud to support,” Salazar added. He did not specify what changes he’d like to see. Colorado Sen. Mark Udall has said he’ll fight for a higher renewable electricity standard and more financial incentives for natural gas exploration and production because it’s cleaner burning than coal.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, also from a largely rural district, voted for the House version of the bill. TV ads are running that are similar to the ones attacking Salazar but instead praise her for her yes vote. They’re sponsored by the Interwest Energy Alliance, a coalition representing renewable energy companies.

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