Surrounded by windmills, Colorado Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner touts his support of green-energy initiative when he was a state legislator in a new ad but neglects to mention that the law was revoked after just two years for being completely ineffective.
The ad debuted on Sept. 1 and was clearly designed to show Gardner as an environmentally friendly legislator who can work across the aisle on renewable energy initiatives, turf that’s already been staked out by his opponent, Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.
Udall has spent a great deal of time and money painting Gardner as the Big Energy candidate because of his support of oil and gas production in Colorado.
Gardner’s new ad is clearly meant to counter that image, but it’s backfiring in a big way.
“So what’s a Republican like me doing at a wind farm?” Gardner asks at the beginning of the outdoorsy ad, before announcing that when he was a state legislator, he “co-wrote the law to launch our state’s green energy industry.”
He’s referring to a bill he introduced in 2007, but which wasn’t adopted until 2010 — after he’d been elected to Congress — to help finance wind farms and other alternative energy initiatives.
Gardner’s critics tore to pieces the claim that the law did anything to help the alternative energy industry in Colorado, blasting the law as a prime example of do-nothing legislation that was repealed, in a bipartisan vote, as a failure two years later.
Denver’s CBS 4 reported that the law was designed in such a way that it could never issue bonds needed to finance renewable energy projects.
“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,” CBS 4 reported. “By 2012 the authority was scrapped.”
“He introduced the legislation in good faith in order to do something,” said Tom Plant, who oversaw the renewable energy authority Gardner’s law created as the head of the state energy office under Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.
“There’s no point in having something that can’t do anything,” he told the station.
Critics also bristled at Gardner’s attempt to take credit for creating Colorado’s so-called green energy industry, which has long been the sole talking point of former Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter.
Ritter heads the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University, and has advised President Obama on strategies for enacting his energy policy during his second term, according to The Washington Post.
In a written statement to CBS 4, Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano defended the legislation and took aim at those who criticize it for being “imperfect.”
“In Washington, career politicians like Sen. Udall are fond of killing progress by faulting it for being imperfect,” he said. “That’s one reason nothing gets done.”
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