Thunderdome 2015: Fossil fuels vs. Environmental Protection Agency

“Thunderdome 2015” is The Colorado Independent’s wrap-up series on the 2015 legislative season. For a series overview, check out “Thunderdome 2015: 120 days under the gold dome.”

It’s drought, fire, flood season in Colorado. It’s TV-news smoke and helicopters and overturned floating-oil-tanks season. It’s the season that gives more power to the question that many people in the state want to never utter much less answer: What are we going to do to address the threats posed by climate change?

Well, the Environmental Protection Agency is asking, and it wants an answer. The EPA’s national Clean Power Plan aims to reduce carbon pollution dramatically. The agency is setting reduction goals, and it is asking states to come up with locally tailored plans to meet those goals.

As the wealthy and powerful fossil-fuel lobby sees it, this is the Obamacare of energy policy. In Colorado, the political groups funded by the oil-billionaire Koch brothers — the Independence Institute, Americans for Prosperity, the Competitive Enterprise Institute — would like to stop the EPA in its tracks. The next best thing would be to just. plain. slow. it. down.

Toward that end, Senate Republicans introduced a bill that wold have required any plan the state’s executive branch formulated through the Department of Public Health and Environment be reviewed and reported upon by the state’s Public Utilities Commission and then reviewed and approved by the State Legislature.

In other words, the bill, according to its critics, was an invitation to gridlock. Democrats killed it.

“We see where you’re coming from. This won’t be easy,” was the general message. “But climate change is happening, so let’s get on with addressing it, now, and seize upon the opportunity it presents for our burgeoning renewable energy sector and for the good of the planet. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has done this on a smaller scale before and won national recognition for its work.

“Let’s do this, OK?”

Read “Thunderdome 2015: 120 days under the gold dome,” for the rest of the series. 

Photo credit: Andrew Hart, Creative Commons, Flickr.