Letter: Choosing Udall to move us forward | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Choosing Udall to move us forward

I have known Mark Udall most of my life. He didn't get gray hair by taking the easy way out. He earned it as a senior senator, fighting for and working hard to protect Colorado's air, water and land. Udall championed the issues many Coloradans are most proud of, a clean energy economy.

In this year's race for the Senate, Udall's opponent, Congressman Cory Gardner, has been taking unexpected departures from his long-held views in an attempt to appear less extreme to Colorado voters. In general, Republicans have begun to embrace more moderate policies to soften their image. Don't be fooled.

Gardner released an ad taking credit for writing a law that "launched Colorado's clean energy economy." He failed to mention, however, that the legislation he's talking about, a bill that created the Clean Energy Development Authority, didn't fund a single project and had no impact on the development of Colorado's clean energy industry.

The Clean Energy Development Authority was intended to assist in the financing of clean energy projects. Gardner supported the bill as a member of the State House. But, according to its own annual reports, the authority "doesn't have an executive director or other employees," "hasn't financed or refinanced any projects" and "will not develop a three-year plan or mission statement." And, get this, the authority was repealed in 2012.

Gardner has been caught red-handed touting a dead measure that did nothing for Colorado's energy industry. Even 9News exposed this falsehood a couple weeks ago. What did Gardner's campaign say in response? According to his spokesman, "Cory says that he co-wrote a law to launch our state's green-energy industry, not that launched it." It seemed a blatant attempt to intentionally deceive voters and alter the facts.

What's widely perceived as launching our state's new energy economy is the renewable-energy standard, which mandated that by 2020, 30 percent of energy from state-owned utilities be produced from renewable sources. One of the foremost champions of the standard was none other than then-Rep., now Sen. Udall. The fact is, Gardner opposed the standard, as did most Republicans in 2004.

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This is just one example of the striking contrast between Udall and Gardner. A recognized expert on energy issues, Udall's leadership has helped make Colorado a model for the nation on smart energy policy. Throughout his career, Udall has pushed to responsibly develop Colorado's abundant energy resources — from clean-burning natural gas to renewables like wind, solar, small hydroelectric and geothermal power. This balanced approach to energy development helps grow our economy, create good-paying Colorado jobs and puts us on the path toward true energy independence.

Udall also successfully led the effort to renew the Production Tax Credit in 2012, urging his colleagues in the Senate to pass its extension. This crucial measure supports about 5,000 jobs in Colorado and gives manufacturers the certainty they need to continue creating jobs and making millions of dollars in capital investments.

This highly contested Senate race has huge consequences, not only for the State of Colorado, but for our nation, as well. If lost, it would mean a step back to a fossil fuel-based economy, the loss of valuable water from the Western Slope and our policies hauled backward into a 1950s agenda by a famed climate-change denier. Nov. 4 we all have the honor of voting to decide which direction we want to move in. I'm choosing a move forward into 2015 by voting for Mark Udall.

Ruthie Brown

Aspen

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