By Mary Coday Edwards
Chair, RMC Legislative
Mary Coday Edwards
Good news! Another bad
bill bites the dust! HB13-1018, introduced by Rep. Don Coram of House District 58 and
referred to as the “glowing roads” bill at the Capitol, would have allowed for the drilling industry to sell its
radioactive blowback water for dust suppression on Colorado’s county roads. Running
into problems immediately, it was amended to allow for a task force to study
the “beneficial use” of such water – a task force with the deck stacked toward
industry. Fortunately, we were able to get this bill and its amended version
“postponed indefinitely” before it left Committee, effectively killing the bill
for this session.
When bills such as 1018
are introduced, you have to wonder just whose interests a legislator has in
mind. Obviously radioactive material leeching into Colorado’s waterways isn’t
exactly a healthy additive for the state’s citizens or its natural environment.
And forcing an industry to pay for the subsequent medical expenses for a sick
community and ecosystem cleanup costs meets with minimal success – if any. So,
once again, that leaves the oil and gas industry as the primary beneficiary of
not just increased profit, but also taxpayer dollars. Where’s the justice in
this, Rep. Coram?
Other legislature relevant
to the fossil fuel industry is slowing being introduced. In general, we support
SB13-202, on increasing the number of inspectors for oil and gas operations.
However, how these inspectors will be paid hasn’t been addressed – an ongoing
thorn of contention whenever this topic is broached. By the time you’re reading
this, we expect to see at least six to eight more bills, including RMC’s bill
to close the setback loophole on abandoned wells. Keep abreast of legislature
and RMC’s positions by checking out our Legislative Tracker at http://rmc.sierraclub.org/tracker.shtml.
The Legislative Committee has also endorsed an
upcoming bill to create a Renewable Thermal Standard for Colorado. Our state's current renewable energy standard is
really only a renewable electric standard, leaving out the 42% of Colorado's energy used for hot water
and space heating.
Solar thermal panels look similar to solar PV panels on
the roof, but instead of converting the sun's energy to electricity, they
convert it to heat in a
liquid medium that provides a home's or building's hot water and/or space heat.
Colorado also has rich renewable geothermal resources to harvest. If successful,
the law would be especially helpful for Coloradans who heat with electricity or
with propane, which are both very expensive. While the topic has garnered support at all political levels, the funding mechanism has yet to be resolved
before the bill is introduced.
The bill is still collecting the support it needs to be
successful. If you'd like to help assure that it passes, go to ColoradoRTS.org and add your name. Organizations can
also sign up (HOAs, faith groups, businesses, volunteer and nonprofit groups).
You can also easily find out who your state representative and state senator
are at the website, to let them know about your support. Governor
Hickenlooper also needs to hear from CRES members about the importance of
having a Renewable Thermal Standard for Colorado. You can also use
Facebook and Twitter from the website to invite your friends to do the
To contact your legislator
on any matter, go to http://votesmart.org/. Legislators
at the Sierra Club/Audubon Legislative Forum stressed how much your opinion
matters to them; they want to hear from you, they want to see you in person.
However, remember that to speak for the Club, please contact the Legislative
Committee first so we all speak with the same voice and in conjunction with the
policies of SC National, thus presenting a unified and professional front.
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