DENVER (AP) – Colorado will push ahead to develop more affordable renewable energy despite President Donald Trump’s order eliminating many restrictions on fossil fuels production, Gov. John Hickenlooper said Wednesday.
Hickenlooper said Colorado has already met carbon pollution goals under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which is under challenge in the courts and could be weakened or rescinded under the executive order that Trump signed Tuesday.
His spokeswoman, Jacque Montgomery, said later Colorado has not yet met the goals but is on track to do so by 2030 – the deadline in the Clean Power Plan for U.S. states to cut carbon emissions 30 percent.
The environment is vital for Colorado residents and the state’s tourism industry, Hickenlooper told reporters.
“Clean air, clean water continues to be an important part of Colorado’s brand,” he said.
Hickenlooper said it’s important to keep clean energy costs low to avoid burdening residential consumers with higher electric bills. He said market forces are already driving down renewable energy costs.
Colorado has been pushing to reduce carbon pollution since at least 2004, when voters approved a measure requiring utilities to get at least 10 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2015. The target was later increased to 30 percent by 2020.
In 2010, the state enacted a law requiring utilities to replace some coal-fired electrical generating plants with natural gas facilities. The administration of former President Barack Obama held up Colorado as an example of how states should promote cleaner energy.
Even if Colorado is successful in cleaning up its own air, pollution from coal-fired plants in neighboring states spills over into the state, Hickenlooper said.
Some states have stopped drawing up new pollution control plans while the Clean Power Plan is in court, but others are moving ahead on their own initiatives to cut carbon…