Read It and Weep: Editorial Pages Continue to Oppose SB 252

The legislative debate over the doubling of the renewable energy mandate on Colorado’s rural electric cooperatives officially ended on June 5, when Gov. John Hickenlooper signed Senate Bill 252 into law. However, several of the state’s leading newspapers continue to voice concerns not only about the new law’s implementation but also about the contrived process by which it came to reach the governor’s desk in the first place.

And it’s not just small-town papers from remote communities that are speaking out against the governor’s decision. The major dailies from some of the state’s largest metro areas have taken strong, reasoned stands against Senate Bill 252 since its enactment – just as many of them did during the legislative session.

In a June 7 editorial simply titled “Utility Mandate,” the Pueblo Chieftain wrote, “We opposed the new mandate during the legislative session and continue to have grave concerns about its potentially dire impact on rural electric customers now that the governor has signed it into law. We remain unpersuaded that doubling the required solar, wind and other sources of renewable energy can be achieved in such a short time — less than seven years — or that rural utility bill increases can be kept below 2 percent as SB252 promises.”

Referring to a new task force that the governor – immediately after signing the bill – appointed to evaluate the feasibility of the new law’s central provisions, the Grand Junction Sentinel slapped the headline “Gov. Hickenlooper’s Backward Process” on its June 5 editorial. “It would make far more sense,” noted the article, “to appoint such a commission before the legislation was signed into law, then allow the commission’s recommendations to be included in the drafting of legislation.”

In another eloquent example, the Colorado Springs Gazette on June 6 noted forcefully that, “Every dollar taken to pay for this is money Coloradans cannot spend on food, clothing, shelter, education, transportation and other assorted goods and services that benefit our economy and improve our quality of life. It is money businesses cannot use to hire new employees.”

Senate Bill 252 was largely supported by legislators from Colorado’s most populous areas. If those policymakers had been as concerned about the fairness of this new mandate as many urban papers’ editorial boards were, we might have seen the kind of sensible, collaborative approach to policymaking that was alluded to by the Grand Junction Sentinel. 

Follow the links below to read some of the stronger anti-252 editorials that were published prior to the bill’s being signed into law: