Congress is a place where bold ideas are developed and debated, rejected or approved.
Solutions to some of our nation’s toughest challenges start out as a few lines on a piece of paper and then become laws that benefit the American people. I applaud anyone who puts forth serious proposals on how to move this country forward. When it comes to addressing complex challenges like climate change, it’s important that we work together to develop realistic solutions. Unfortunately, the Green New Deal is not a realistic approach to address anything – it’s just another raw deal for hardworking Colorado families.
The resolution attempts to implement a socialist agenda to fundamentally change this country. Among other things, it would ban fossil fuels to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, require massive capital expenditures to upgrade all buildings, overhaul the country’s transportation system and mandate a transition to zero-emission vehicles. In response to criticism about eliminating cows, the Congresswoman who authored it responded, “We shouldn’t be eating a hamburger for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
The Green New Deal is a radical, unrealistic proposal, and it’s not just conservatives who think this. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it the “Green Dream” and one Democrat house member recently said it “takes a socialist economic agenda and puts it under the umbrella of environmentalism.” Senate Democrats who support the proposal chose to vote “present” when it was brought up for a vote because many realize how catastrophic it would be.
Unfortunately, its first wave has already crashed into Colorado. The state legislature is poised to pass a bill that could decimate the oil and gas industry, even though its tax revenue funds our schools, fire departments and important local projects. If the radical left gets its way, other industries like agriculture and aerospace that support tens of thousands of jobs in our state could be next.
According to the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business report, beef and cattle drive Colorado’s agriculture economy. The Colorado Cattlemen Association reports that Colorado is home to 11,600 farms with cattle and calves, and we are the fourth largest exporter of fresh and frozen beef in the U.S. Do we really want to stop feeding the world, gut the agriculture economy and decimate almost 12,000 farms?
Colorado’s economy also depends on air travel. The nine-county Metro Denver and Northern Colorado region’s airport system is a strong engine with a regional impact of $28 billion and supports nearly 200,000 jobs. Do we really want to weaken this driver and put these hardworking Coloradans out of work?
I believe in climate change, and I believe humans are contributing to it, but I also believe denying the unrealistic elements of the Green New Deal is as counterproductive as denying that climate change is real. If the left is going to attack “climate deniers,” it should listen to experts when it comes to the unfeasibility of its own plan. Instead, leftists are denying that 100 percent renewable energy in 10 years is unrealistic and denying the economic devastation the plan would cause. Democrats who are serious about protecting the environment and addressing climate change should work collaboratively with Republicans. Instead, they have given us a road map to turn the U.S. into Venezuela.
Bipartisan policies I have championed are having a bigger impact on emissions reductions than the green deal ever could. I led the fight to protect tax incentives for wind and solar companies so Colorado can continue to be a leader in renewable energy, secured a funding increase for federal agencies that research climate change and supported successful efforts to increase R&D funding for clean energy technologies.
We can work together to address every hurdle we face in Colorado. Instead of pushing an extreme agenda that will hurt Colorado, we need to continue the spirit of cooperation that makes our state unique and advocate for reasonable solutions that will achieve results. That is the Colorado I know and love and the Colorado I know we all want for our kids’ future.
Cory Gardner, a Republican from Yuma, represents Colorado in the U.S. Senate.