(May 10) – The House approved a slimmed-down energy bill tonight, continuing the Colorado Energy Office but stripping off a smorgasbord of political tradeoffs that, if adopted, would have cooled some of the energy-related debates that have roiled Colorado, but proved unmanageable.
The Energy Office, which would have sunset on July 1, was only one section of what was at least two dozen sections in SB17-301, sponsored in the House by Majority Leader KC Becker, D-Boulder, and Rep. Lori Saine, R-Firestone.
“The Colorado Energy Office has been a driver for energy innovation and the growth of renewables as an industry and a creator of jobs,” Rep. Becker said. “Losing the office would have been a disaster for Colorado. So rather than lose it, or lard up the reauthorization with giveaways to the oil and gas industry, we passed a clean bill.”
The Energy Office has been a political football all session. The Joint Budget Committee voted to include full funding for it, and the House approved that funding in the state budget, only to see funding stripped off by the Republicans who control the Senate.
“After funding for the Energy Office was blocked, we worked to find a path forward on funding it through SB301,” Rep. Becker said. “This late bill included sweeping changes to energy policy and concessions to the oil and gas industry, many of which I could not support. Mixing these new changes in with the work of the Energy Office turned the bill into something that was untenable.”
The Senate will consider the House amendments tonight.