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Told ya so: Governor’s clean-air order is gone with the wind

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… Then again, it was actually Gov. John Hickenlooper himself who had told us — indeed, had told any Coloradans who happened to be listening — in a radio interview last fall. As we noted around that time, the governor seemed to be oddly wavering on his promises a couple of months earlier to issue an executive order implementing a Colorado-specific climate-action plan that would be even more stringent than the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

The Obama plan had been put on hold by a court challenge earlier in 2016, and the governor seemed to be saying by his announcement that he wasn’t about to sit still while the climate changed. It was bold talk, ruffling feathers in Colorado’s energy industry while delighting some environmental groups.

Yet in a Nov. 21 interview with Colorado Public Radio, Hick so much as said the initiative he had announced in August could be scaled back — incredibly, to a commentary his office might submit to a newspaper. No mandates; just a last hurrah in print.

Here’s the relevant passage from the interview transcript posted by CPR:

RW:  Any sense of a timeline for pursuing that executive order?

JH: Well, I’m not sure whether we’re going to do an executive order or lay it out in an op-ed.  We’re trying to figure out what the right format is.

We kind of looked on incredulously, thinking there had to be some mistake. Maybe the governor misspoke?

But no. This week, the other shoe dropped on what was left of the guv’s pending order. As reported late Tuesday by the Associated Press via Denverite:

Citing backlash from Republicans, Colorado’s Democratic governor said Tuesday he has abandoned the idea of issuing an executive order to seek a one-third cut in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

But Gov. John Hickenlooper insisted he hadn’t given up on the proposal’s goals — or his own commitment to maintaining Colorado’s status as a national leader in fighting air pollution.

“I think the response — the pushback — from the executive order was so intense that the potential benefits were outweighed by the collateral damage,” Hickenlooper told reporters on the eve of the 2017 state legislative session.

That’s a heckuva “never mind.” It’s a wonder more Coloradans didn’t pick up on it months ago, when the governor first let it slip.

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