DENVER–Embattled Democratic state Sens. Angela Giron and John Morse may be in trouble with the voters, but they’re still popular with environmentalists.
Both Giron and Morse, who are fighting off recall drives, earned perfect scores for their voting records from Conservation Colorado in its 15th annual legislative scorecard released Tuesday.
The state’s largest environmental group issued its legislator ratings based on their votes on 10 bills during the 2013 legislative session, including Senate Bill 252, the highly divisive measure expected to increase electricity costs for rural consumers by doubling the state’s renewable-energy mandate.
Morse is described in the report as “the driving force behind S.B. 252, the bill that increased the rural renewable energy standard.”
The scorecard revealed an unsurprising partisan split, with Conservation Colorado giving scores of 100 percent to 47 of 57 Democrats and no Republicans. The highest rating earned by a Republican legislator was 50 percent.
The report said it provides “factual, non-partisan information about how each member of the legislature voted on important issues that affect Colorado’s air, land, water and people.”
“With session now behind us, it is important to thank our legislative champions and to hold accountable those legislators who opposed protections for our air, land, and water,” said Conservative Colorado director Pete Maysmith in a statement.
Energy advocates dismissed the scorecard as a partisan sop to Democrats and a slap in the face to those who work in and depend on the oil-and-gas industry.
“How touching that the eco-left congratulates itself in four colors for waging war on rural Colorado, including raising electric rates on those who can least afford it and insulting the 40,000-plus hard working Coloradans who are employed in the oil-and-gas industry, which the eco-left labels as ‘dirty,’” said Amy Oliver Cooke, energy policy director for the Independence Institute in Denver.
Conservation Colorado gave high marks to Democrats who voted in favor of S.B. 252, which touched off an outcry in rural Colorado and prompted some northern county lawmakers to proposed splitting from the state.
Sean Paige, assistant state director of Americans for Prosperity-Colorado, said the scorecard could be useful for voters, although not in the way that Conservation Colorado intended.
“Such ratings actually serve as a valuable resource for conservatives, libertarians and just people with common sense, since they indicate which statehouse politicos slavishly carry water for the professional green extremists,” said Paige in an email.
“We note, for instance, that recall targets Morse and Giron max out on the group’s Crazy Scale, meaning they do what Gang Green tells them to 100 percent of the time,” said Paige. “That’s valuable information for folks to have.”
Other bills cited in the scorecard included three measures to crack down on the oil-and-gas industry. Two of those bills died and one was watered down in the face of opposition from Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.
The report makes no mention of Hickenlooper’s role, blaming instead the defeat of the bills on “the oil and gas industry’s well-funded lobby.”
“While seeing these bills die this session is disappointing, it is not the last word on this subject,” said the scorecard. “Concerted organizing and advocacy will eventually allow us to better regulate this industry and protect our communities and environment.”