Energy bill polarizes candidates

12:46 PM, Sep 19, 2010   |    comments
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"Yes," Markey, the first-term Democratic incumbent from Fort Collins, said.

"I think the climate is changing, but I don't believe humans are causing that change to the extent that's been in the news," Gardner, a state representative from Yuma and the Republican nominee to challenge Markey, said.

That disagreement drives one of the most pointed disagreements between Markey and Gardner; her 2009 vote in favor of so-called cap and trade energy legislation that's meant to reduce carbon emissions by making carbon more expensive and encouraging development of alternative energy sources.

"The cap and trade will devastate the economy," Gardner said in an interview with the Coloradoan.

"I think what Congress can do is to make sure that we're continuing to grow economically and that we develop businesses that can actually address these concerns. I don't think these kinds of changes are going to come from Congress without killing our economy," he said.

The House passed a cap and trade bill in 2009, but the Senate has refused to take action on the legislation because of opposition by all the chamber's Republicans and some Democrats.

Markey stands by her vote in favor of the bill.

"It set out policies to help us reduce our carbon emissions, increase energy efficiency and give tax credits for technologies, whether it's wind, solar, geothermal, credits for nuclear energy as well," she said in a Coloradoan interview.

She rejects Republican arguments that the bill will wreck the economy by driving up the cost of energy and killing off jobs.

"Investments cost money in the short term, but you're never going to see that long-term payoff unless you make those investments to improve in the future," Markey said.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in June 2009 that the House cap and trade bill would cost the economy about $22 billion in 2020, or about $175 per household. The conservative Heritage Foundation issued a report in June saying the CBO was vastly underestimating the household impact of the bill.

While Markey and Gardner are poles apart on cap and trade, their stances on other energy policy questions are similar.
Both say they favor environmentally responsible development of domestic fossil fuel resources, and both support using tax credits as a way of promoting alternative energy development.

The other two candidates on the 4th Congressional District ballot Nov. 2 are American Constitution Party candidate Doug Aden and independent Ken "Wasko" Waszkiewicz.

Aden, a Fort Lupton farmer, says free markets, not the government, should determine our energy course.

"Energy is no different than any other commodity in which free-market solutions should prevail. The federal government should not interfere with the development of potential energy sources, including natural gas, hydroelectric, solar, wind, and nuclear energy," he said.

Waszkiewicz, who works for the Fort Collins city transportation department, said his energy program is explained in a video at his campaign Website,

Written by Robert Moore of the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

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