Ray Scott fires back at Hickenlooper on climate order: ‘The era of EPA overreach has ended’

Author: Ernest Luning - March 31, 2017 - Updated: April 1, 2017

State Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, pauses for a moment at Club 20's annual fall meeting on Sept. 10, 2016, in Grand Junction. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)
State Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, pauses for a moment at Club 20’s annual fall meeting on Sept. 10, 2016, in Grand Junction. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Ray Scott, a Grand Junction Republican, swung hard at Gov. John Hickenlooper this week, criticizing the Democrat’s embrace of a “clean energy future” for Colorado in the face of President Donald Trump’s move to halt federal efforts to combat climate change.

“Many Coloradans are dismayed and perplexed by the governor’s Tuesday afternoon statement of an unwillingness to follow federal law after years of sermonizing about federal clean air mandates,” said Scott, who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Energy and Environment, in a statement.

Hickenlooper had greeted an executive order signed by Trump by declaring that the policy changes “will not deter Colorado’s efforts” and a pledge to “keep building a clean energy future that creates Colorado jobs, improves our health and addresses the harmful consequences of a changing climate.”

Scott had a different response to the order directing the Environmental Protection Agency to bench its 2015 Clean Power Plan, which sets limits on greenhouse gas emissions by power plants. Trump’s order also lifts a moratorium on coal leases on federal lands and overturns federal rules restricting methane emissions.

“The president yesterday reversed many years of EPA arrogance by withdrawing the 2015 EPA ‘Clean Power Plan,’ an EPA mandate that had no basis in the federal Clean Air Act or other laws enacted by Congress,” Scott said. “Henceforth, the EPA will follow the letter of the law and not the ‘emanations and penumbras’ issuing from EPA lawyers and environmental extremists.”

“The era of EPA overreach has now ended,” he continued, “and the governor is not happy that he cannot use the hammer of EPA mandates to coerce Colorado industry and ratepayers.”

Hickenlooper contends that natural gas is more economical than coal, regardless of the climate implications, and calls the state’s leadership in the wind and solar energy industry a “boon to our economy, jobs and the environment.”

“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,” he said Tuesday.

Scott didn’t sound impressed.

“The EPA’s favorite governor is suddenly dismayed and alarmed by newly announced EPA policies,” he said. “Republican lawmakers welcome this breath of fresh air from that federal regulatory agency and invite the governor to ‘get with the program.’”


Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.