Reporter exposes lawmaker for manufacturing a phony war on rural Colorado

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby deserves credit for correcting one of his local lawmakers who claimed a bill mandating a higher renewable energy standard would devastate his constituents when, in fact, it wouldn’t affect them at all.

On Channel 6’s Colorado State of Mind Friday, Ashby told the story of how SB 252, which would increase the renewable energy standard on large Rural Electric Associations, was cited by Rep. Jared Wright (R-Fruita) as evidence of a war on rural Colorado, even though one of Grand Junction’s REAs supported the increased standard, and the other local REA gets power from Xcel Energy, which isn’t affected by the legislation, which awaits Gov. Hick’s signature.

Ashby: “We already have a 20 percent standard for utilities like Excel. In ’08, I think it was, they imposed a 10 percent standard on the REAs. Then [this session] they wanted to up it to 25 percent, and they ended up doing 20 percent. And that became the ‘war on rural Colorado.’ It’s going to raise rates. It was almost funny because one of my local lawmakers, for example, from Grand Junction, got up there, and he said, this is going to put people out of their houses. Businesses are gong to close. And what’s funny, in Grand Junction, for example, the major REA gets its power from Xcel, so therefore not affected by this bill. The other REA in his district actually passed a resolution in support of raising the standards. So it was more politics than it was policy.” [BigMedia emphasis]

Ashby originally called out Wright in an April 26 Sentinel story.

I think some journalists see fact checking as boring, but I agree with Ashby that it’s fun to point out the misinformation, even if, at least theoretically, it’s part of the blocking-and-tackling grind of journalism.

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