Ritter signs energy bills, appoints climate adviser | AspenTimes.com

Ritter signs energy bills, appoints climate adviser

Steven K. Paulson
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Calling it a centerpiece of his first 100 days in office, Gov. Bill Ritter signed a package of renewable energy bills on Monday and appointed a climate change adviser.

“We’ve accomplished a lot in a short period of time,” Ritter said, citing increased use of renewable energy, easier financing of transmission lines from wind farms, quadrupling the number of ethanol fuel pumps in the state and a new wind-blade manufacturing plant.

The governor renamed the Office of Energy Management and Conservation to the Governor’s Energy Office, saying the name change better reflects the variety of projects under way.

He also issued two “Greening of State Government” executive orders that give state until 2012 to come up with ways to reduce their consumption of energy, paper and water and to purchase more environmentally friendly products.

Ritter appointed Heidi VanGenderen, a senior associate with the Wirth Chair in Environmental and Community Development Policy at the University of Colorado, to be his climate change adviser, with the job of coming up with an action plan.

“I want someone specifically told to do nothing but that, and who’s speaking directly to me. “It’s that important,” Ritter said.

Ritter said other states also have climate change advisers but he didn’t know how many.

The governor also signed pieces of his New Energy Economy plan into law, including bills that establish criteria for energy efficient state buildings, appropriate money for research, allow local governments to offer tax credits or rebates to people who install renewable energy fixtures and provide money to schools to teach renewable energy curriculum.

Ritter said he is keeping his campaign promises to promote renewable energy.

“Even in just the last few months, more and more people are recognizing that the Earth’s climate is changing. If we follow the science, if we follow the evidence, if we follow the data, there are things we can do to make a positive difference,” Ritter said.

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