Gov. John Hickenlooper declared Tuesday that Colorado will continue to pursue “a clean energy future” despite an executive order signed by President Donald Trump ending the federal government’s efforts to combat climate change.
“We will keep building a clean energy future that creates Colorado jobs, improves our health and addresses the harmful consequences of a changing climate,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. The Democrat said Trump’s directive, signed Tuesday, “will not deter Colorado’s efforts,” arguing that natural gas is more economical than coal and that the state’s leadership in the wind and solar energy fields is a “boon to our economy, jobs and the environment.”
Trump’s order, signed Tuesday, directs the Environmental Protection Agency to reverse gears on its 2015 Clean Power Plan, which set strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions by power plants. The order also lifts a moratorium on coal leases on federal lands and does away with federal regulations restricting methane emissions.
“Our efforts to clean our air and protect the natural environment are part of what draws young people, families, and businesses to Colorado,” Hickenlooper said. “Our outdoor recreation industry, which helps create jobs all across the state, is dependent upon cleaner air and water. We have a history of solving complex problems and taking action to move the state closer to meeting its clean air goals, and we have shown that we can have cleaner air and reduce harmful carbon emissions at essentially no additional cost — potentially even saving money for Colorado families.”
Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet called the executive order “a direct assault on the health of our children and clean energy economy” and warned that rescinding the Clean Power Plan will jeopardize thousands of jobs and cost the economy billions of dollars. “It also could prevent the EPA from regulating clean air and water, sacrificing a rigorous scientific process in the name of ideology. Instead of leading the fight against climate change and transition to clean energy, this Administration has abandoned it,” Bennet said in a statement.
Echoing Hickenlooper, Bennet said Colorado’s clean energy economy will continue to grow and the state intends to meet targets under the EPA rule. “I’ll continue to work across the aisle to combat climate change for our businesses, our children’s health, and the future of our planet,” he said.