scales of justice

The court decision this week to uphold Colorado’s renewable energy standards reaffirmed the adage, “be careful what you wish for.”

The judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit noted on the first page of their opinion that the standard requiring 30 percent of power supplies come from renewables was approved by a statewide ballot:

“It may be that Colorado’s scheme will require Coloradans to pay more for electricity, but that’s a cost they are apparently happy to bear for the ballot initiative proposing the renewable energy mandate passed with overwhelming support.”


If that same ballot measure had been put to the voters in 2016, after new measures were put in place by the state legislature this year requiring that price tags for such schemes be attached on future petitions, we doubt it would pass.

The Energy and Environment Legal Institute, which challenged the standards in court, says the ruling has condemned nearly 130,000 of Colorado’s poorest families to live in perpetual energy poverty.

The Court admitted that its decision allows Colorado to burden its citizens with higher prices for electricity, under a scheme transferring income from Colorado’s poorest to an entrenched lobby; in so doing it punishes those least able to pay for an environmentally harmful policy ostensibly adopted in the name of the environment and human health, but which causes the premature death of 250 Coloradans every year it remains in place.

Thankfully, the court’s decision has not yet condemned us to a done deal. The legal institute says that a similar lawsuit on price affirmation was rejected in a separate court circuit, and the question is also pending a decision in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Meanwhile, the legal institute is considering a final appeal to the Supreme Court, and we wholeheartedly encourage them to do so.