Clean-energy bill draws reasoned support, less-reasoned criticism

The Boxer-Kerry clean energy bill is still hot off the presses, but Coloradans are wasting no time weighing in—some with clearer heads than others.

Following introduction of the legislation Wednesday, a diverse group of environmentalists—including representatives from a veteran’s organization, Aspen Skiing Company and sportsman and water conservations groups—held a media call  in support of the bill.

The group ran through a number of solid reasons to support the bill:  economic (according to a Center for American Progress study, Colorado could gain $2.6 billion in investment and 28,000 jobs from the bill), national security: (we need to stop sending billions of dollars to hostile foreign regimes), global warming (which, according to a report put out earlier this year by 13 federal agencies, has already raised average temperatures in the Southwest by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit), water (global warming could melt the Colorado snowpack up to 60 days earlier each season) and impacts on hunting and fishing (which contribute 1.8 billon dollars a year to Colorado’s economy).

Colorado Sen. Mark Udall also released a statement, citing three predictable-but-solid reasons for clean energy legislation: making America less dependent on foreign oil, creating jobs in the recession and leaving the planet in better shape for our children. (Sorry folks, the best reasons aren’t always the most exciting ones.)

Meanwhile, conservative Colorado Springs blogger Michelle Malkin railed against “expensive eco-hysterics,” with scintillating, but dramatically less compelling reasons: 1) the bill still has “placeholders” where details are being worked out, and 2) raising efficiency standards for plane engines will force private and military institutions to buy them from G.E. (because no other manufacturer can make more efficient engines?)

The complaint follows a Malkin post from last week titled “Beware the Climate Change Republicans,” in which Malkin lists the vulnerable Republicans most likely to be wooed to the dark side of energy reform.

As they prepare for their bill introduction, Boxer and Kerry are most likely looking for help from Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who currently is in the thick of the health care debate. Down the line, the Democrats are also hopeful they can satisfy other longtime climate advocates, including Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Richard Lugar of Indiana.

Colorado State Senator Scott Renfroe, a Republican representing the 13th District, didn’t wait for the new climate bill to come out:  Days earlier, he signed a letter written by Grover Norquist, president of anti-tax lobbying group Americans for Tax Reform. The letter urged Senators Boxer and Kerry not to introduce their “energy tax.” Citing no studies or sources, Norquist insisted the legislation would raise the cost of energy “thousands of dollars each year on every American family” and thus “crush the economy.”

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