Two El Paso County legislators received a zero grade for their conservation votes from environmental advocate Colorado Conservation Voters.
David Schultheis and Bill Cadmen both received zero percent, the first time any lawmaker received that designation since 2001. Scott Renfroe received the other zero score.
The Conservation Scorecard catalogues votes cast by state lawmakers on 13 pieces of legislation.
Environmental scores by legislators are lower this year than last, but the core agenda of the conservation community cleared the Colorado State Legislature with leadership from the Democrats, but also support of key Republicans.
“Lawmakers understand that passing environmental laws will help the economy in the long and short terms,” said Carrie Doyle, executive director of Colorado Conservation Voters. “State lawmakers showed this year that reasonable environmental legislation is one of the building blocks of a healthy economy in Colorado.”
Fifteen state senators voted with conservationists 100 percent of the time. El Paso legislators Mike Merrifield, John Morse and Dennis Apuan, all Democrats, were among those who voted for the conservation legislation each time.
Twenty-seven state representatives voted with conservationists 100 percent of the time.
The conservation legislation included solar energy bills (including a bill to make solar a standard option on all new homes), low-interest loans for schools to invest in renewable energy, and a sales and use tax exemption for water heaters that use solar power.
The legislature created a framework to build transmission lines so Colorado can export renewable energy and passed a bill allowing rural electric cooperatives to create market-based incentives to drive smarter energy use.
H.B. 1292 was designed to protect Colorado’s water, wildlife and communities from impacts of oil and gas drilling – an effort that included support from hunters, conservations, local government and public health advocates. S.B. 108, also known as FASTER, dedicated $15 million annually to transit, bike and pedestrian safety.
The rest of the El Paso legislators, and the percentage they voted for conservation issues:
Amy Stephens – 23 percent
Mark Waller – 23 percent
Bob Gardner – 31 percent
Kent Lambert 15 percent
Larry Liston – 23 percent
Keith King – 15 percent