Polis is the roadblock | AspenTimes.com

Polis is the roadblock

We should’ve known Gov. Jared Polis couldn’t be trusted on climate issues when he refused to endorse the 2018 Proposition 112, the 2,500-foot oil and gas setback initiative. Now he says he’s going to veto Senate Bill 21-200, which would give the Air Quality Control Commission some teeth to enforce greenhouse gas emissions limits for the oil and gas and power industries set forth in 2019’s House Bill 1261.

Those standards are a 26% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, 50% by 2030, and 90% by 2050. All measurements are from a 2005 baseline. Cosponsors of SB-200 are Sens. Faith Winter and Dominick Moreno and Rep. Dominique Jackson. They call for the AQCC to set consequences for noncompliance by March 2022.

What HB-1261 lacked was any means of enforcement. These regulations were put out there for the industries to follow voluntarily. Polis said he likes it that way. He doesn’t want “dictatorial authority given to an unelected board.” Except for the county sheriff, did anyone vote for the police who’re authorized to exert a great deal of authority over our lives?

The industries aren’t going to follow the HB-1261 guidelines for the same reason Polis doesn’t want them to. The governor and the industry magnates are businessmen who’re motivated by the bottom line. For Polis, that’s the revenue that’d be lost if regulations chased out the oil and gas industry (which ain’t gonna happen).

Another event that’s strictly in Polis’ imagination is the emissions goals of HB-1261 will be met without enforcement. Just about every informed observer sees that we’re way behind on those targets and no way we’ll catch up unless we crack the whip.

In support of SB-200, 5th District Sen. Kerry Donovan said, “Let’s say we’re going to do it and figure out how to do it and stop saying that somehow letters to Santa Claus are going to continue to meet climate change.”

SB-200 has passed Sen. Winter’s Energy and Transportation Committee. This Wednesday, it’ll go to the Senate Finance Committee. Contact your governor, state senators and representatives and urge their support.

Meanwhile, Polis says he’s designing a roadmap to zero emissions. Unless he gives the oil and gas and energy industries a reason to follow that map, it’ll be a road to nowhere.

Fred Malo Jr.