Gardner Renewable Energy Ad Crashes and Burns

I cowrote the law to launch our state's green energy industry.

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

​Refreshing journalism yesterday from the AP's Kristen Wyatt, fact-checking GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner's latest TV spot:

GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner, framed by sunflowers and wind turbines, tells voters in a campaign ad this week that he co-wrote a law to launch Colorado's green-energy economy. He leaves out that the law was repealed five years later, deemed useless for not enabling a single project. [Pols emphasis]

"Gardner's claiming credit for launching Colorado's clean-energy economy and he did not. Coloradans did that and Coloradans deserve the credit," said Chris Harris, spokesman for incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall. Udall's camp has been deriding Gardner's wind-turbine ad and the Republicans' touting of the 2007 law…

In a press release touting the turbine ad that first aired on Monday, Gardner's campaign cited a 2007 speech by then-Gov. Bill Ritter, a Democrat, who predicted the Gardner bill would "solve one of the biggest challenges when it comes to clean energy."

What we're talking about here is legislation sponsored by Gardner meant to create a "Clean Energy Development Authority" to provide money for clean energy-related upgrade projects. Wyatt makes specific reference to transmission line upgrades as one example. This legislation passed three years after Colorado passed Amendment 37, the state's landmark renewable energy standard law. And it's true that, at the time it was passed, Democrats and Republicans praised the legislation as you can read from then-Gov. Bill Ritter's press release above.

But unfortunately for Gardner, that's not the whole story:

But the authority had financing caveats that made it toothless, said Tom Plant, who oversaw the authority from its creation until 2011 as head of the Governor's Energy Office…

The authority never had a staff and did little but gather once a year to report to the legislature that it had made no progress. By 2012 the authority was scrapped, part of a larger makeover of the Energy Office, now called the Colorado Energy Office.

"There's no point in having something that can't do anything," said Plant, [Pols emphasis] now a policy adviser at the Center for the New-Energy Economy at Colorado State University. The center is run by Ritter, who set up the Governor's Energy Office and appointed Plant to run it.

Bottom line: in every meaningful way, it was Amendment 37 that "launched" Colorado's new energy economy. One of the foremost champions of Amendment 37 was none other than then-Rep., now Sen. Mark Udall. Cory Gardner opposed Amendment 37, as did most Republicans in 2004. Three years later, Gardner helped with a bipartisan bill to finance energy projects that ended up not working out.

The leap from these facts to Gardner's claim he "cowrote the law to launch our state's green energy industry" is, any way you look at it, totally absurd. It cannot be validated by even the most strained definitions. It is a lie every bit as blatant as Gardner's bogus distinction between state and federal Personhood, and it's another case of Gardner trying to "greenwash" his longstanding support for the oil and gas industry. And in a pattern we're seeing repeat itself, Gardner's spokesman Alex Siciliano only makes it worse when confronted with reality:

"In Washington, career politicians like Sen. Udall are fond of killing progress by faulting it for being imperfect. [Pols emphasis] That's one reason nothing gets done," spokesman Alex Siciliano wrote in a statement.

Like Obamacare, Alex? Actually, Gardner's failed energy bill can't even be compared to Obamacare.

Because Obamacare actually did something.

10 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DaninDenDaninDen says:

     This explains how unbelievable the ad come across, right down to blue checkered shirt swap out from his ® default  shirt color of dried blood in prev ads. Jaw dropping, or as Brandi Rittiman will green light it with, ”this needs context”( translation: the worm squirms). Brandi’s truth tests have amounted to reading sheep entrails for the most part, back to this ad: Cory crotch shot, with his hind leg hitched up to about waist high should disgust most sensitive viewers, as if in a SNL skit pose.

  2. DawnPatrol says:

    There is simply no depth too low for this Koch-owned Firehose of Lies and his hired goons to sink. Utterly amoral.

    This Gardner person should probably be in jail, he's so blatantly, shamelessly dishonest.

  3. DawnPatrol says:

    Cory Gardner is a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries and the Colorado Oil & Gas Association. For him to attempt to present himself as anything else is a bald-faced lie of the most despicable kind.

    I'm sorry, but it's time to say it out loud: These vile individuals are genuinely evil.

  4. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    And this, folks, is why we only have two options to further expand our New Energy Economy successes. 

    ConMan would like you to believe that if people 'really wanted' this kind development, that our glorious, 'free marketplace' will magically deliver it. There is NO free market in the energy sector in Colorado (or any other place as far as that goes).  If you're served by an Investor Owned Utility (Xcel, Black Hills), it's the PUC that decides what you do and don't get.  And let's not forget that one of our current PUC members was an active member of ALEC, a group committed (and funded by #QuidProKoh) to rolling back any environmental and green energy legislation. Boulder, who has now gone to the ballot box and THREE TIMES defeated Xcel so they can create their own, locall-owned muni, is now being sued by Xcel.

    To think that any 'Clean Energy Authority' would be useful in our monopolisitc energy sector is folly.  Xcel goes to the bond markets to finance their projects; rural electrics use the federally-subsidized Rural Utilities Service. 

    The other option is the dreaded 'mandate': the ONLY mechanism that works in a oligolopy marketplace. It is the only remedy that works in a system like we have today.  Amendment 37 was foundation for all of this.  So don't miss the point that Gardner opposed not only A37 – but the two subsequent increases under Ritter as he was a state representative.   And really, really don't miss the fact that it's the fusion of those successes that has Colorado (arguably) already meeting the proposed benchmarks of the Clean Power Plan.  While Cory will be trying to shoe horn his support of the Clean Energy Clean Jobs Act (that also plays a critical role in meeting the EPA proposal), that legislation only succeeded because we had already built the foundational wind farms (which benefit, almost exclusively Gardners Congressional constituents) and drawn businesses like Vestas in to the state.  It's because we did the very things Gardner had earlier opposed.

    Here's a good piece on our looming battles:

    A battle is looming over renewable energy

    The multi-pronged conservative effort to roll back regulations, begun more than a year ago, is supported by a loose, well-funded confederation that includes the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and conservative activist groups such as Americans for Prosperity, a politically active nonprofit organization founded in part by brothers David and Charles Koch. These groups argue that existing government rules violate free-market principles and will ultimately drive up costs for consumers.

    "Ultimately drive up costs"?  Of course, it's doing no such thing…

     

     

     

  5. FrankUnderwood says:

    If the Koches get wind (no pun intended) of Con Man's alleged work in the field of renewable energy, they're gonna want their $$$ back from him.

  6. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    If Gardern wants to talk about models that are useful and relevant, he might start here..  And to my earlier point, there are only two things that deliver the change that is occurring: 1) a truly free marketplace, or 2) sound public policy (mandates).

    In his case, his actions advocate for neither scenario.

    East Coast Rising – Revolutionizing the Utility Model in …. NY

    New York is fundamentally re-imagining its grid with distributed generation at the center.  After a 5 year campaign, NY SUN, a $1 billion / 3 gigawatt solar program, was finally approved.  The NY Public Service Commission is now leading an effort, called ‘Reforming the Energy Vision’ (REV) to restructure the utility business model to harness the benefits of DG.

    Georgia is defying the coal-state narrative by launching 900 MW of solar by 2016, all below avoided cost.

    Massachusetts came close to a long-term policy compromise that would have completely removed net metering caps, but instead passed a bill that provided short-term relief and set up multiple study/workshop processes.

    Vermont raised the state’s net metering cap from 4% of utility peak load to a whopping 15% … and did so with the support of the state’s utilities.  Awesome.

    It’s exciting to be a part of so much change. 

    What a great time to be alive, eh?

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