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, and 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 Green New Deal is a thinly veiled attempt to implement the radical left’s 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 existing buildings, overhaul the country’s transportation system and mandate a transition to zero-emission vehicles. In response to criticism about eliminating “farting cows,” the Resolution’s author did not say that was an exaggeration. The Congresswoman instead 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. 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 the proposal was brought up in the Senate because even many of them realize how catastrophic the Green New Deal would be for our country.
We cannot deny the devastating effects the entirety of the Green New Deal will have on our state. Unfortunately, the first wave of it has already crashed into Colorado. The state legislature has passed a bill that could decimate the oil and gas industry, kill thousands of jobs, erase billions in wages and annual economic impact. The tax revenue from oil and gas operations funds our schools, fire departments, and other important local projects in our communities. The real-life impact this anti-jobs measure will have on tens of thousands of hardworking Colorado families must be taken seriously.
And this ban on oil and gas development in Colorado is Colorado’s first taste of the Green New Deal. If the radical left gets their way, other industries like agriculture and aerospace that support tens of thousands of jobs in our state could be next on the chopping block.
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 United States. Do we really want to stop feeding the world, gut 70% of the Colorado agriculture economy, and decimate almost 12,000 farms?
And when it comes to air travel, Colorado’s economy is dependent on this vital industry. The nine-county Metro Denver and Northern Colorado region’s airport system is a strong economic engine with a regional impact of $28 billion and supports nearly 200,000 jobs. Do we really want to weaken this economic driver and put these hardworking Coloradans out of work as well?
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,” they should listen to experts when it comes to the unfeasibility of their own plan. Instead, they are denying that 100% renewable energy in ten years is unrealistic; they are denying the economic devastation their plan would cause; and they are denying the real-life consequences the Green New Deal will have on hardworking Colorado families.
Democrats who are serious about protecting the environment and addressing climate change should work collaboratively with Republicans on proposals to do so. Instead, they have given us the Green New Deal, which is a roadmap for how to turn the United States of America in to Venezuela.
Bipartisan policies that I have championed throughout my time in public service are having a far bigger and more effective impact on emissions reductions than the Green New Deal could ever have. 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 our federal agencies that research climate change, and supported successful efforts to increase research and development funding for clean energy technologies. I also supported a carbon emission reduction proposal during my time in the Colorado State House. These were all bipartisan wins that have produced tangible results.
We can work together to address every hurdle we face in Colorado. People of differing views have proven that they can get in a room and work out a compromise. Instead of pushing an extreme agenda that will hurt Colorado, we need to continue the spirit of cooperation that makes our state so unique and advocate for reasonable solutions that will achieve results. That is the Colorado I know and love and that is the Colorado I know we all want for our kids’ future.
Cory Gardner represents Colorado in the U.S. Senate.