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El Paso County legislator wants to keep fossil fuels but has a kind of interesting bill this year


State Rep. Ken DeGraff, a Republican from El Paso County, continues to argue against carbon dioxide as a significant risk.

In the 2023 session, he sponsored a bill that proposed to designate carbon dioxide as a non-pollutant. It failed in its first committee hearing on an 8-3 party-line vote.

State Rep. Ken DeGraaf

Ken DeGraaf

That same House Energy and Environment Committee this week will hear a somewhat more interesting proposal. The bill, HB24-1246, would require Public Utilities Commission to develop rules requiring utilities to:

  • monitor National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration space-weather predictions in order to isolate large power transformers and power generation from the grid
  • mechanically isolate critical components if or when the coronal mass ejection is likely to cause geomagnetically inducted currents.
  • restrict or close fuel pipeline valves to mitigate damage in a sectional failure.

The bill would also move out existing carbon dioxide emission reduction goals for 2030 and 2050 by a decade and make those goals a lower priority than resiliency.

For background reading, see the Feb. 23 story in the New Yorker: “What a Major Solar Storm Could do to our Planet.”

Allen Best
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