Same story. Different day.
Yesterday in Senate State Affairs, democrats Rollie Heath, Bob Bacon and Betty Boyd voted with Xcel Energy and killed two pro-consumer pieces of legislation. Republican members Bill Cadman and Kevin Grantham sided with ratepayers.
Most interesting, Senator Lois Tochtrop (D-Adams County) couldn’t get any support from her own party for SB 236 despite support from an impressive coalition that included business, labor and consumers. Tochtrop looked to save ratepayers nearly $200 million dollars by replacing Xcel’s preferred State Implementation Plan (SIP) for regional haze with Xcel’s original preferred and less costly plan. Xcel opposed, and lawmakers obliged.
Senator Kevin Lundberg’s (R-Berthoud) bill, SB 237, would have prevented Xcel from illegally including two Western Slope coal-fired plants from inclusion in the SIP, which would have saved ratepayers between $100 million and $140 million.
Appeals to the legality of Xcel’s preferred plan (HB 1291), to the cost effectiveness of the plan, and to how much the plan will burden ratepayers fell on Heath’s, Boyd’s and Bacon’s deaf ears. And Senator Boyd feigned offense to citizen Carol Kirkstadt’s testimony that questioned why lawmakers don’t seek the truth when contradictory statements are presented into evidence. Kirkstadt queried lawmakers’ ability to comprehend such a complex subject without asking any questions, and she predicted that the committee would defeat SB 236. Boyd may have been offended, but Kirkstadt was right. Xcel opposed, and lawmakers obliged.
Check out how my energy colleague William Yeatman destroyed Xcel’s and the Air Quality Control Commission’s arguments.
The energy company’s preferred plan, HB 1291, is flying through the General Assembly. It quickly passed the House and is awaiting second reading in the Senate. By the time you read this, HB 1291 may be on its way to the Governor’s desk.
As we’ve written before, whatever Xcel wants, Xcel gets.