Christi Ruppe : Western Colorado Congress, Steamboat Springs

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In response to the the Craig Daily Press' recent editorial opposing Amendment 37, I would like to offer your readers some facts to consider setting the record straight:

1) Not a coal company in the state will be going out of business because of 37! As the Ron Binz/Energy Foundation report on the impacts of Amendment 37 on electricity rates report finds, even with the increase in renewable energy sources over the next 20 years resulting from 37, electricity from non-renewable sources will double in the same period.

2) The Xcel/Tri-State cost figures have been brandished about without any accompanying rationale. The Ron Binz/Energy Foundation report offers the most credible evidence that passage of 37 most likely will result in a $14 million decrease in statewide utility costs during the next 20 years. Binz also found that customers would find their real savings during spikes of natural gas prices, when renewable sources will act as a hedge against cost increases.

3) Under Colorado law, it is illegal for utilities to charge different customers different rates. Our State Statue in section 40-3-106 says, "No public utility, as to rates, charges, service or facilities, or in any other respect, shall make or grant any preference or advantage to any corporation or person or subject any corporation or person to any prejudice or disadvantage. No public utility shall establish or maintain any unreasonable difference as to rates, charges, service, facilities or in any respect, either between localities or as between any class of service." Therefore business and institutions will not bear a higher cost burden.

4) Mandates have been used in many states, including Texas' renewable energy standard signed by then Gov. George W. Bush, to boost the market for emerging technologies and industries. Uncommon people, including Republican Speaker of the House Lola Spradley, are encouraging these mandates because they work and can help invigorate rural economies.

5) Amendment 37 amends the Colorado revised statutes, not the Colorado Constitution! That allows state legislators to change the law by a simple majority vote, if they think Colorado voters really have screwed up.

Before your readers head to the polls this year, I hope they take a moment to look more deeply into the issues their fellow citizens have put before them through the citizen's initiative process. Thank you.

Christi Ruppe

Western Colorado Congress

Steamboat Springs

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