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Efforts to Revamp Governor’s Energy Office Still on the Table

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Kirk Siegler
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Solar Panels in the San Luis Valley.

Democrats and conservationists are working with Governor Hickenlooper’s staff to try and save a bill that would expand the mission of the Energy office to promote more traditional forms of energy such as coal and natural gas.

Former Governor Bill Ritter created the office to advocate for wind, solar and energy efficiency. Senate Democrats defeated a similar bill last year but more is at stake this time around because federal funding is set to expire.

The measure would create two separate pots of money, one to fund renewable energy and the other traditional energy projects. Senator Pat Steadman (D-Denver) is sponsoring the bill in the Senate.

“I realize this is an issue where there’s not necessarily consensus between the house and the senate, but we’ve agreed to try and work on it,” says Stedman.

But funding is a key sticking point for the group Colorado Counties Inc says group lobbyist Bill Clayton. He says county commissioners don’t want to take severance dollars away from local communities to help promote traditional energy.

“Any diversion away from the local severance tax is something they’re opposed to, really that’s the specific piece. If there was an alternative funding piece I’m sure they’d be 100% in favor of where we’re going.”

For his part Governor Hickenlooper is advocating for the measure going as far as writing an editorial in the Denver Post calling for an all of the above energy policy. Hickenlooper says it’s important to have all of the stakeholders at the same table.

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.
Email: brian.larson@kunc.org
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