Yesterday the Colorado Environmental Coalition, a Denver lobbing group for “green” policies, issued an illogical press release.
On the one hand, it quotes Executive Director Elise Jones saying, “When the dust settles on this session, we will judge our success based on the savings families across Colorado will see in their pocketbooks and the jobs created by greener priorities.” So it would seem that the Colorado Environmental Coalition’s priority is the economic well-being of Coloradans.
On the other hand, the press release concludes with a statement from Pete Maysmith, Executive Director of Colorado Conservation, warning that “We will vigorously oppose any efforts to roll back advances made to protect Colorado’s environment and make the state a leader in clean energy job creation.”
Presumably, when Maysmith alludes to “environmental advances,” he is referring to Governor Bill Ritter’s “New Energy Economy,” a spate of laws enacted during the ex Governor’s lame duck session, when he had nothing to lose. There were three primary pillars: HB 1164, which allowed the PUC to change its mission from cheap electricity to expensive environmentalism; HB 1001, a Soviet-style green energy production quota; and (by far and away the worst) HB 1365, which was proposed and written by special interests.
The acknowledged costs are at least $3 billion through 2020, and that’s no doubt a low ball. Higher energy costs, in turn, result in lower job creation. Environmentalists frequently cite green jobs, but that’s a lark. The renewable energy industry faces bankruptcy every time their generous taxpayer subsidies come up for renewal in the Congress. Moreover, demand for green energy is predicated on government mandates, and those change. As a result, the Colorado renewable energy industry is prone to boom and busts.
This brings me back to my point: Colorado Environmental Coalition’s cognitive dissonance. It says that it will lobby for jobs (Elise Jones’s quote), but it also says that it will lobby for job-killing legislation (Pete Maysmith’s statement).
William Yeatman is an energy policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute