Congressman Salazar Supports Goal of Energy Bill but Says Current Version is "Unfair to Coloradans"
"This bill places a disproportionate burden on the backs of my constituents"
Congressman John Salazar, who opposed the bill, released the following statement regarding today's vote on H.R. 2454 in the U.S. House of Representatives:
"Addressing our nation's consumption of fossil fuels, and their long term impact on our environment, is of critical importance. While I strongly agree the issue of climate change must be addressed, the bill voted on today places a disproportionate burden on the backs of my constituents. It is my hope that as this bill works its way through Congress, we end up with a bill that I will be proud to support.
"I have always been a strong proponent of creating green jobs and investing in renewable energy. But the cost to consumers in this bill is highest for those living in rural America, particularly in a district like Colorado's Third where the Low Income Energy Assistance Program is vital in getting us through our long harsh winters. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the bill will cost the average U.S. household $165 annually. But in my district estimated annual increases are between a few hundred dollars and several thousand dollars per household. I cannot support dramatically increasing utility rates on my constituents, at a time when I feel the economy is just starting to stabilize across the state.
"I believe there were a number of steps that would have lessened the burden on my constituents. I strongly advocated for increasing allowances and extensions of the timelines for rural utility providers. I believed the bill should have included a strong investment in clean coal technology and nuclear power. If we're serious about curbing our reliance on fossil fuels, every option must be on the table. But these steps were not ultimately included in today's bill. Perhaps they will be in the future.
"I will continue to be a strong advocate for green jobs and renewable energies - Colorado should be the national leader in wind, solar and geothermal. As this bill evolves, and I hope it will, I will continue to advocate on behalf of rural districts to make sure that they are not unfairly burdened with the cost of this important legislation."