State Senator Ray Scott (R-Mesa County) isn’t just your average fossil fuel cheerleader. He goes far beyond defending the oil and gas industry by working to hobble and block advancements in clean, renewable energy, including solar energy, electric cars and even by finding creative ways to attack bicycle transportation. Even worse, Scott ignores inevitable injuries and deaths caused in pursuit of fossil fuel development, like the deadly explosion of a home in Firestone, Colorado on May 4, 2017 that killed two people and the July 27, 2018 explosion at a gas collection facility just over the state line in Cisco, Utah that badly burned two workers.
Legislator ignorance red alert
A search for any kind of statement by Senator Scott acknowledging these deaths and injuries in his pet industry turns up nothing. Maybe that’s because they are of little consequence to Scott, who has blinders on in his dogged defense-at-any-cost of the oil and gas industry.
Rather, Scott is such an extreme a booster of fossil fuels that in the 2018 legislative session he introduced a bill to repeal Colorado’s existing renewable energy standards.
In a 2013 video, Scott actually rails against solar energy development, saying:
“We have better things to do.” and “We’re going too darn far.”
The video reveals Scott’s astounding ignorance about renewable energy and environmental science. In it he says:
“I have people in rural Colorado who say ‘You know, I don’t have a problem with renewable energy. I have solar panels on my house, that’s fine.’ But they’re having a hard time getting their mind around fields of solar panels in a field, or wind generation facilities out in the plains that they’ve never seen before. And if we’re really environmentally conscious, why would we want to look at those things? They don’t even make sense to me. I know I’ve driven through places in Utah and California and said, ‘Oh my gosh. All of this just to say we are changing something that we’re not even really sure we’re changing, based on studies that make no sense and the science is not necessarily true?’ “
Scott justifies his head-in-the-sand thinking by touting the fossil fuel industry’s ability to create jobs. But doggedly clinging to old technology just because you can’t wrap your head around new tehcnology never helped anyone, and never preserved any outmoded industry.
Consider outdated technologies of the recent past. Where would we be now if instead of accepting the changes these industries wrought and moved forward — with job shifts and all — legislators worked tooth and nail to thwart them, like Ray Scott is trying to do to renewable energy?
Former industries we ended up being okay without:
For your consideration:
- Remember film developing labs and Fotomat drive-throughs, where we used to drop our camera film for developing? They disappeared after digital cameras came onto the market. Would Ray Scott have preferred to kill the digital camera industry to keep all the film developing jobs? That’s would have been just silly.
- Remember travel agents, and how everyone had to go through them to buy airline tickets or make hotel reservations? Now people use sites like Expedia and Orbitz to book trips, or go right to airlines’ websites. Would Ray Scott have preferred to ban these kinds of online travel services because they put so darned many travel agents out of work?
- Blockbuster video stores disappeared after streaming video services like Netflix and Amazon came on the scene. Would Ray Scott have outlawed streaming video to save all the video rental store jobs? I hope not.
- White boards are quickly replacing chalk boards in classrooms and board rooms across the country. What happened to all the chalk and chalk board manufacturing jobs? My goodness, they’re disappearing. Is Ray Scott wringing his hands over the disappearance of these jobs?
- Changes in the music industry have taken us rapidly from phonographs and vinyl records to 8-tracks, then cassettes and cassette players, to compact disks to MP-3s, and now to downloading and streaming services like I-Tunes and Pandora. What happened to all the people employed in phonograph and vinyl record manufacturing jobs? Did we even worry about that, or did we all just move on? Would Ray Scott have introduced bills to block the manufacture of cassettes or the development of MP3s in order to preserve phonograph manufacturing jobs? That’s the equivalent of what he’s doing now with oil and gas.
Refrigerators put ice men out of business. Did icemen lobby to block the manufacture of refrigerators and freezers?
- Law firms have faced the advent of online services like LegalZoom, Nolo and RocketLawyer, that make it easy for people to create their own wills, draw up their own divorce papers and perform other tasks that once required an attorney, yet we still seem to have plenty of lawyers around.
- Bar codes replaced price stickers on retail products in grocery stores. Did Ray Scott worry about the loss price-sticker manufacturing jobs?
- Navigation is replacing maps for travelers. Why isn’t Ray Scott fighting the proliferation of GPS and navigation devices, so all the mapmakers can continue to stay in business?
- Powerpoint long ago replaced slide shows, slide projectors and slide carousels. Does Ray Scott think would we would have been better off to have outlawed Powerpoint because it put the slide projector makers out of business?
- Remember encyclopedias on home bookshelves? They’ve been replaced by Google, which has scanned every book of Encyclopedia Britannica back as far as 1773. So Ray Scott, why aren’t you railing against Google for putting the encyclopedia manufacturers out of business?
Just as it would have been idiocy to try to block all these technological advancements, it is absurd for Senator Ray Scott to continue to work so feverishly against cleaner, more efficient advancements in the American energy industry.
It’s time for Scott to get his head out of the sand and stop promoting dirty, dangerous and harmful forms of extractive energy. He needs to consider the well-being of his constituents and the future of his country, and start promoting safer, cleaner and more sustainable forms of energy, which will bring a host of new kinds of jobs that Mr. Scott clearly lacks the imagination to conceive.