UPDATE: From Gail Schwartz’s campaign via the Twitters:
— GailForCongress (@GailForCongress) September 9, 2016
As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, GOP incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton is feeling the heat from Democratic challenger Gail Schwartz, firing off a new attack ad against Schwartz meant to hurt her with pro-energy voters on the Western Slope.
The first problem is, it’s wrong:
“Unfortunately, Delta County, Colorado, has taken the brunt of Gail Schwartz’s tenure in the state Senate,” Tipton said in a press briefing. “Instead of representing her constituents, she did go to Denver and took her orders from someone else. She sided with climate alarmists in Denver and Aspen, pushing renewable energy policies that are directly responsible for the loss of over a thousand coal mining jobs and a 12 percent decrease in tax revenues in Delta County alone.”
Problem is, that bill, SB252, wasn’t about coal, at least not directly.
The bill doubled the state’s renewable energy standard for rural electric associations, meaning they had to generate at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. For-profit utilities in the state have a 30 percent standard.
As Ashby correctly reports, the Delta-Montrose Electric Association supported increasing the renewable energy standard in 2013, and has boosted its production via renewables exactly as was hoped when Senate Bill 13-252 was passed. As locals already know, Delta County coal mines have shut down for a variety of reasons, including fires and a global glut of coal on the market–not anything the legislature did. And it gets even worse:
Tipton also cited HB1365 for hurting the coal industry, which the Legislature approved in 2010. That measure called for converting some Front Range coal-fired power plants to burn natural gas instead, a bill Schwartz voted for that Tipton opposed.
Two prime sponsors of the bill were Western Slope Republicans Sen. Josh Penry of Grand Junction and then Rep. Ellen Roberts of Durango. [Pols emphasis]
As we’ve discussed previously, attacks on Gail Schwartz over the landmark Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act to convert coal-fired power plants along the Front Range to natural gas ignore that it was a bipartisan initiative that passed with heavy Republican support. The plan was passed in part to address declining air quality along the Front Range that may well have forced federal action, and the only people against it were in the employ of not the energy industry–but one small part of the energy business in Colorado (coal) in competition with a much larger energy business (natural gas). And natural gas, with both parties voting in unison, won the battle.
Talk-radio ignorance aside, everyone who understands the issues here knows these hits on Schwartz over the coal industry’s problems are bogus. Coal is in permanent decline as an energy source, just like horses and buggies made way for automobiles.
And that means it’s time for Scott Tipton to get some new material.