DENVER (AP) — Out of all the states in the nation, Colorado offers the best sneak peek at what the nation would look like once President Barack Obama's energy regulations take effect.
But critics warn it's too soon to say Colorado's energy plan won't have negative consequences.
Colorado got high praise Monday in a plan from the Obama administration aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by nearly a third over the next 15 years. Colorado was cited repeatedly as a model for reducing carbon emissions while managing to "dispatch power effectively in the short term and to ensure adequate capacity in the long term."
Ten years ago, Colorado became the first state with a voter-approved renewable energy standard. And in 2010, then-Gov. Bill Ritter signed into law a bill requiring larger utilities to get 30 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020. That law has forced many electricity producers to switch from coal to natural gas.
Colorado has "led the nation over the past decade in confronting this challenge," Sen. Mark Udall said in a statement Monday praising the state's carbon emissions work in advance of the proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Even as the federal government held up Colorado as a model, it proposed a standard Colorado may not be on track to meet. The plan calls for Colorado to reduce its carbon emissions by more than 35 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. It wasn't immediately clear whether Colorado's existing laws would enable the state to meet that benchmark.