Friday, April 24, 2009

Schwartz's Energy Bills Signed by Governor


Senate Chamber
State of Colorado


DENVER— Four important bills sponsored by Senator Gail Schwartz (D-Snowmass) were signed in to law by Governor Bill Ritter:
Bill #
Short Title
SB 039 Conserve Energy Tiered Rates Incentive Sen. SCHWARTZ / Rep. CURRY Signed
SB 177 New Solar Facility Prop Tax Valuation Sen. SCHWARTZ / Rep. VIGIL Signed
HB 1233 Recognize Acequias Rep. VIGIL / Sen. SCHWARTZ Signed
HB 1294 Renew Nongame & Wildlife Checkoff Rep. VIGIL / Sen. SCHWARTZ Signed

“I am so happy these four very important bills were signed into law,” said Sen. Schwartz. “These two senate bills are essential to our energy efficient future in Colorado and will help the economic development in the state. HB 1233 recognizes the value and cultural importance of the Acequia tradition and preserves that essential history of the San Luis Valley.”

SB 39, Conserve Energy Tiered Rates Incentive, will expand energy efficient investments and create energy savings. For years, water utilities have encourages water conservation through a method called inclining block rate, where the price of water rises with increasing usage. This bill would use the same method to deal with rising power costs and also create sensible energy markets that benefit the economy and Colorado’s environment. Sen. Schwartz carried this bill for the Holy Cross Rural Electric Association who offered the concept for energy conservation.

SB 177, New Solar Facility Property Tax Valuation, will requires that, similar to wind energy facilities, state assessed solar energy facilities will be valued using the income approach. This means that the actual value will be based on the projected gross revenue of such facilities. This bill provides incentives to the solar industry and property tax revenues to counties now based on energy generation.

HB1233 is a very important bill to Colorado and the San Luis Valley region. This bill promotes and encourages the continued operation of acequias, or historic community ditches, and the viability of the historic communities that depend on this system as a means of irrigation and cultural preservation in Southern Colorado. Sen. Schwartz carried this bill with Representative Ed Vigil (D-San Luis) who’s great grandparents were the first water rights owners in the state of Colorado.

HB 1294 extends the voluntary contribution designation (or income tax checkoff) benefitting the Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund from tax year 2009 through tax year 2011. The Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Fund provides funding for projects that manage or recover nongame wildlife. Nongame wildlife includes 750 species of wildlife in Colorado that cannot be hunted, fished, or trapped. These projects include wildlife such as lynx, river otter, black-footed ferret, greenback cutthroat trout, mountain plover, and others. The nongame program does not receive state tax dollars and depends on voluntary contributions.