Megan Walker: Clearing the air |

Megan Walker: Clearing the air

Colorado’s Renewable Energy Standard urgently needs your support. Over a decade ago, voters made Colorado a clean energy leader by enacting the renewable energy standard at the ballot box. Today, 29 states and the District of Columbia have RESs.

Since the 2004 ballot initiative, Colorado has expanded its RES in scope and strength through multiple additions while providing economic resilience and job opportunities across the state. Some utilities have already met or exceeded their RES ahead of schedule while providing a cost benefit to consumers.

Despite these many successes, the RES is again under attack. Senate Bill 44 that would cut the RES in half was passed by the Senate, and it is now on its way to the House. While cheap and plentiful fossil fuels have helped to shape the modern world, it is wise to consider the implications of a narrow focus on these finite resources. The potential for price shocks and supply constraints leaves Coloradoans vulnerable, while a diversification of Colorado’s energy portfolio creates long-term resiliency for our communities. Moreover, voracious consumption of fossil fuels has released unprecedented levels of carbon dioxide and other harmful pollutants into our environment, altering essential life-supporting natural systems in ways we are only beginning to understand.

Residents and visitors alike treasure the abundant outdoor experiences offered here, and we would be wise to pursue energy strategies that protect the health and integrity of our outdoor places critical to the rural state economy and our quality of life. Of course, the subject of fossil fuel reserves could be debated until the cows come home, but it is safe to say that we have developed our most productive and easily accessible resources first and now go to ever-increasing lengths and risky situations to extract fossil fuels for increasingly diminished returns. We are developing energy next to schoolyards, in deep water and other sensitive areas.

What lengths do we expect the next generation to have to go through in order to satisfy their energy demands? As a mother, I am concerned with the health and well-being of my children and have a responsibility to do everything I can to ensure a vibrant future for them. Supporting a bright energy future is as important as nutrition and education when we consider that the ability to meet our basic needs requires consistent, reliable, and affordable energy.

A strong Colorado RES is the foundation for that bright energy future. Instead of rolling it back, if anything, we should be thinking of ways to build upon that foundation.

Megan Walker

Steamboat Springs

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