To the Editor;
With summer energy needs on the rise and more and more Colorodans concerned about our energy situation, I have heard lots of folks continuing to sing the same old song that Americans were going to have to make a choice between affordable and reliable energy or a clean environment. Fortunately for us here in Colorado, that's not true and the last 30 years has clearly shown that to be the case.
Between 1970 and 2000, America's demand for electricity more than doubled and we increased our reliance on domestic fuels like coal to meet that demand. While we increased energy production, we didn't neglect the environment. In fact, thanks to over $50 billion investment in clean coal technologies by America's electric utilities that use coal, our air quality actually improved.
Here in Colorado we have benefited from coal-generated electriciry giving us some of the cheapest electricity rates in the nation. That helps consumers, makes our state more attractive to businesses and creates jobs for Colorado workers. Approximately 85 percent of Colorado's electricity is coal-based. Our electric power costs are 11 percent below the national average and coal prices have remained relatively stable while petroleum and natural gas prices have skyrocketed. What's more, coal is abundant here in the United States, with a 250-year supply available nationally
Both Democrats and Republicans agree that America's energy future is too important to be left to chance. For more than a year now, policy makers have worked long and hard to develop a balanced national energy strategy that includes all energy sources including renewables and electricity from coal.
I believe that a balanced energy policy is needed to protect Americans against the threat of supply disruptions and the higher energy prices that have plagued Californians and others over the past 12 months.