It’s time for change, not politics as usual.


Robert Bowen testifies at EPA hearing on new Carbon Emission Rules

On July 30, the EPA held public hearings on the proposed new rules to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants. I testified in support of the new rules, telling the EPA that when I was a Colorado State Representative in the 1980s I introduced legislation to reduce particulates and hydrocarbons from power plants in the state. Unfortunately, that legislation was blocked by Republicans.  I am glad that the EPA is finally addressing the problem.

There needs to be some urgency because while they were working on rules that should have been implemented 20 years ago, the ice at both poles is melting, the oceans are heating up, and Americans are beginning to suffer as a result.

I told the EPA that climate change is not an equal opportunity destroyer. It hits middle class and poor people first and hardest. Wealthy people, like coal company executives, may have a beach house, or a townhouse in the mountains, but if their place is destroyed by a flood or fire, they have insurance and money to pay the deductible. Rich people are the first to get their FEMA check in a disaster. Middle class and poor people often do not have flood insurance. If they rent, they may not have insurance to protect them if their home is destroyed. Small family farms do not have crop insurance to make them whole if their crops fail due to drought or flood.

I raised a concern about giving the state too much flexibility to obstruct the new rules,  reminding them that the 30 governors who blocked Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act are still in power, and they are likely to obstruct these new rules. I asked them to tighten up that provision.

Secretary of State Hearing on Election Rules

On August 14, I testified at a public hearing on the new election rules being proposed by the Colorado Secretary of State. I voiced concerns, which were also expressed by witnesses from Common Cause, the Colorado Democratic Party, the Denver Election Commission, and other citizens’ groups. Among the concerns was a rule that gives the County Clerks only seven days to investigate the eligibility of voters purged by the Secretary of State.

That is not enough time to contact purged voters to determine if they still live in the county, or to verify their citizenship. This rule could give the Secretary of State the right to purge legitimate voters. The Secretary of State mistakenly disenfranchised thousands of legitimate voters in past purges.

Several other rules concerned us as well. These rules would have a chilling effect on voters and on efforts to register voters in voter registration drives. It would allow the County Clerk to toss out registrations if there was a stray mark or highlight on the form.