Independent’s Williams to appear on PBS show on climate legislation

Colorado Independent energy and environmental reporter David O. Williams will appear on the Rocky Mountain PBS news show “Colorado State of Mind” tonight at 7:30, participating in a panel discussion on federal climate legislation.

Hosted by veteran Colorado journalist Cynthia Hessin, the panel discussion includes Beth Chacon of Xcel Energy, Jeff Baker of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden and Pete Maysmith of Colorado Conservation Voters.

The show was taped Thursday morning before news broke that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was scrapping a comprehensive climate bill that could have included a carbon cap and national renewable energy standard, both of which Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall favored.

The show focuses on the ramifications for Colorado if the legislation fails, including the global ripple effects. Reid’s announcement came the same day China announced it will implement a cap-and-trade system.

Udall expressed disappointment in Reid’s decision and the failure of Republicans to support the bill, which some observers say would have given the United States a competitive advantage in the clean-energy industry. Now the scales may have tipped to China and other nations.

Here’s Bennet’s full statement on Reid’s decision to introduce a scaled-back energy bill next week:

“I can’t help but be underwhelmed by Washington today [Thursday]. The country needs us to move forward on addressing climate change and creating a clean energy economy. Yet partisanship and gridlock have struck again. We need a comprehensive energy bill that puts a price on carbon pollution and incentivizes the investments in clean energy that will help create jobs and lessen our dependence on overseas oil. A good bill will also follow Colorado’s lead in establishing an aggressive renewable electricity standard.

“We simply can’t afford to let the opportunity to create new clean energy jobs and break our reliance on foreign fossil fuels slip away. And while Washington can’t seem to get its act together, I’m going to keep up the fight to pass a comprehensive energy and climate bill that moves Colorado and the country forward.

“While I’m very disappointed that partisan bickering has kept a comprehensive bill from coming to the floor, there are provisions that are worthy of debate in this bill. I am supportive of lifting the liability cap for oil companies like BP to hold them fully accountable for their oil spills. I also support full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Coloradans take seriously the need to protect our natural heritage, and this highly-popular program will help us preserve our land and water for the enjoyment of generations to come.”

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