Democrat-controlled Colorado already has done Barack Obama’s bidding by passing draconian limits on the Second Amendment, imposing same-sex civil unions on voters who rejected it and boosting the abortion industry.
Now Democrats are advancing the White House’s green-energy agenda, which establishes a double standard for urban and rural consumers.
Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a bill that has been criticized as a benefit to the environmentalist lobby at the expense of rural residents.
“With the signing of the ‘Rural Foreclosure Relocation Act’ the governor is subsidizing special interests in the environmental lobby on the backs of rural Coloradans who already [are] experiencing unemployment rates nearly twice the national average,” said State Rep. Lori Saine, R-Dacono.
Democrats in the statehouse previously admitted that Vice President Joe Biden had pressed them to pass severe limits on guns without any support from the GOP.
In the last hours of the session, Democrats rammed through another bill without any input from Republican lawmakers. SB 252 requires rural electric utilities to get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2020 while urban utilities in cities such as Denver and Boulder are required to get only 10 percent.
The new standard doubles the energy requirement from the amount agreed to by rural electric co-ops just three years ago when they adopted a 10 percent energy standard.
“Now we’re changing the standard on them, we’re changing the rules mid-stream and that’s not fair,” said House Minority Leader Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs. “It is once again, Democrats saying to the rest of Colorado, we know what’s better for you than you do.”
While wind and solar are defined as renewable energy that count towards the goal, hydro power, which many rural electric associations use, does not.
Democrats specifically rejected an amendment by Saine that would have included hydro power.
Supporters claim the bill is necessary to lower carbon emissions and insist the cost to rural customers will be negligible, but a report by Management Information Services says the law will be devastating to rural Coloradans.
The report, titled “The Economic and Jobs Impact of the Proposed Colorado RES,” predicts the law will significantly raise the state’s unemployment and electricity rates. The law is expected to cost rural co-op members $2 billion to $4 billion.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader John Morse, who may soon face a recall for the agenda he pursued in opposition to citizens’ desires, begrudgingly admitted under questioning from Republican Sen. Ted Harvey that Democrats never bothered to consult with rural cooperatives during the writing of the bill.
However, the bill could prove to be a windfall for utilities such as Xcel Energy, which serves urban customers in the state. In addition to the lower renewable energy requirements, former Public Utilities Commission member Ron Binz, who resigned under the cloud of an ethics complaint, admitted Xcel could benefit tremendously by selling “renewable energy credits” to the rural co-ops to help them comply with the law.
Democrats claim the bill will not significantly increase costs to rural customers, pointing to a 2 percent rate cap. Hickenlooper said the bill is expected to raise rates by only $2 for a typical customer’s bill and up to $40 a month for agricultural customers.
However, when pressed by Harvey, officials admitted the 2 percent cap provision was no guarantee of a limit on the total cost of a customer’s bill.
Pressed by Harvey, PUC Executive Director Doug Dean had difficulty explaining the actual total cost of the renewable energy bill and the cap. Dean was finally forced to acknowledge the 2 percent cap only applied to “incremental costs” rather than the entire cost of a customer’s electric bill.
He went on to say, “It’s pretty complicated.”
While lawmakers purport to be concerned about the environment, the law exempts Morse’s own utility owned by Colorado Springs. Dan Hodges, executive director of Colorado Association of Municipal Utilities, said the exemption was perfectly reasonable as the state constitution excludes municipal utilities from state regulation because they are owned by their citizens.
Additionally, Kent Singer, executive director of the Colorado Rural Electric Association, told the Denver Post that while Democrats may have gotten the bill signed into law, meeting the requirements will be impossible.
Singer notes that there is vast difference between urban utilities and the rural co-op system, which does not have the natural-gas-fired plants or transmission lines to balance the requirements of renewable energy.
“Twenty percent by 2020 is an impossibility,” Singer said.
Republicans criticized the governor and Democrats for the energy bill, saying it effectively amounts to a war on the state’s rural residents.
“Make no mistake about it, this is an attack on rural Colorado,” Saine said. “Municipal utilities are exempt while our Rural Electric Associates are required to double their renewable energy requirements in the next few years.
“Our REAs only have seven customers per line to recoup the loss for complying with this mandate, while the urban utilities have 35 customers per line,” he said. “Right there you can see what a huge disparity exists under the requirements of this bill.”
State Sen. Vicki Marble said proponents of green energy are displaying hypocrisy by advocating for wind power at the expense of other renewables such as hydro power.
“Look at our wind turbines. They are killing fields regarding the very environment they profess to want to protect,” Marble said. “The turbines kill massive amounts of birds, and I’m not talking about birds like sparrows, were talking … endangered species such as condors and bald eagles. However, if a rural farmer were to kill one of these endangered species [the] entire force of the government would be all over him.”
Saine warned that the bill ultimately will hit urban consumers, too, if they happen to eat.
“Not only will rural customers see their individual bills go up by 20 percent, but think of the schools in rural Colorado. Farmers with the pivot sprinkler system in their field could end up seeing their rates increase by $12,000-$15,000 more per month. This will affect the price of food in the state.
“I proposed an amendment that would have counted hydro power, which would have gone a long way to helping the REAs to meet this mandate, but they shot that down. This bill is a payoff to special interests.”
Saine also sponsored an amendment that would have required the cost of compliance with the renewable energy mandate to be listed on a person’s utility bill. However, Democrats didn’t want that information to be available.
Regarding abortion, Democrats adopted a bill that would prohibit the state from bringing a case against an abortionist for actions similar to those of Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell, who was recently convicted on multiple counts of murder for killing children after they were born alive.
Hickenlooper already was on record as expressing disdain for rural Coloradans. During his 2010 campaign for governor against WND columnist and former congressman Tom Tancredo, he accused rural citizens of having “backwards thinking” regarding moral values.
“I think a couple things, I mean, you know, the tragic death of Matthew Shepard occurred in Wyoming. Colorado and Wyoming are very similar,” Hickenlooper said. “We have some of the same, you know, backwards thinking in the kind of rural Western areas you see in, you know, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico … at the same time, Denver has, I think, one of the more robust, politically active gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgendered communities, really, in the United States.”
The attitude also was expressed in debate over the gun control measures.
State Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, scolded a witness opposing one of the gun restrictions.
Amanda Collins, 27, of Reno, Nev., was telling her story of being assaulted and explained that had she been carrying a concealed weapon, the incident might have ended differently.
“I just want to say that, actually statistics are not on your side even if you had a gun,” Hudak scolded. “And, chances are that if you would have had a gun, then he would have been able to get that from you and possibly use it against you.”
Hudak continued, speaking over the committee witness, “The Colorado Coalition Against Gun Violence says that every one woman who used a handgun in self-defense, 83 here are killed by them.”
Finally able to resume her testimony, Collins said, “Senator, you weren’t there. I know without a doubt [the outcome would have been different with a gun].
“He already had a weapon,” she told the meeting of the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. “He didn’t need mine.”
A similar attitude was shown by state Rep. Joe Salazar.
He said that a woman who feels threatened by rape on a college campus doesn't need to be armed because she can use a call box to get help.
Salazar's statement came in a debate over a proposal to ban citizens possessing a concealed-carry permit from being armed on university campuses.
"It's why we have call boxes," said Salazar, "It's why we have safe zones, it's why we have the whistles. Because you just don't know who you're gonna be shooting at.
"And you don’t know if you feel like you're gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone's been following you around, or if you feel like you're in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop a round at somebody."
State officials admitted they were doing the bidding of the White House. In February, Vice President Joe Biden flew to the state to strong-arm Democratic lawmakers who were feeling pressure from their constituents to vote against the bills.
"He (Biden) said it would send a strong message to the rest of the country that a Western state had passed gun-control bills," Tony Exhum, a Democratic lawmaker from Colorado Springs, told the Denver Post.
House Majority Leader Mark Ferrandino, an open homosexual who also pursued a "civil unions" agenda this year, admitted the gun-control bills introduced by fellow Democrats had national implications.
"I was shocked that he called. He said he thought the bills could help them on a national level," Ferrandino said.