Governor to sign coal bill Monday

Local officials contend Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act will harm local economy

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Bill Ritter Jr.

When Gov. Bill Ritter signs Colorado House Bill 10-1365 on Monday, he will make a “ghost town out of Craig,” Moffat County commissioner Tom Mathers said.

The bill also known as the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act, requires some Front Range coal-

fired power plants to be retired, retrofitted with emissions-reducing technology, or repowered to be fueled by natural gas or other low energy-emitting sources.

Ritter, who is scheduled to visit Grand Junction today, will be signing the “historic legislation” on the west steps of the state capitol alongside the Xcel Energy chairman, bill sponsors including Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, energy producers and environmental groups.

The Moffat County Commis-

sion sent a letter of opposition March 25 to state legislators opposing the bill. It passed the Senate six days later March 31.

“Moffat County is directly negatively impacted by the implications of HB 10-1365,” commissioners wrote in the letter.

State Sen. Al White, R-Hay-

den, who opposed the bill, said it would harm the coal industry in Northwest Colorado and could mean a loss of jobs at Twentymile Coal Co., which supplies coal to the two Front Range power plants impacted by the bill.

Mathers said he doesn’t think Ritter thought enough about the impact the bill would have on Craig and Moffat County.

“Everybody makes these decisions that affect us, and we’re the lasts ones to hear about it,” he said. “You could have been sitting on the governor’s lap and you wouldn’t have heard about this until it was done, just like it was.”

Monday will mark 36 days since the bill was first introduced to the House, a speed that concerns Craig City Council member Terry Carwile.

Carwile, who retired after 30 years working for Trapper Mining Company, said “everyone I know was stunned at how fast it went through the legislature and how little resistance was put up against it.”

Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, said he was not pleased with the governor’s decision to sign HB 10-1365.

“I’m not happy with the fact that the bill (will be) signed due to the fact that an energy company, the governor, and Environment Colorado basically pit two energy companies against each other,” he said. “I still think that we need all the energy we can get in all kinds.”

White agrees.

“I think it is improper and unjust in the state of Colorado for two great natural resource industries to be trying to pick each other off to the detriment of one over the other,” he said. “It is just going to happen that way. The coal industry is going to suffer, there is no doubt about it.”

He said the bill, in addition to hurting the coal industry, costs consumers more money.

“I absolutely know it is going to cost the customers of Xcel a significant increase in their bills,” he said. “This is an unfair bill that only helps a couple of industries and hurts consumers.”

During Ritter’s visit to Grand Junction this afternoon, he is slated to visit several locations, including the Mesa County Workforce Center, before he delivers a keynote speech at the Mesa County Democrats’ annual Spring Fling dinner.

Brian Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or briansmith@craigdailypress.com.

Comments

grannyrett 4 years, 8 months ago

Good thing he decided not to run for office again

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lonelyone 4 years, 8 months ago

Ritter, sure showed his true colors after getting into office and slapping those of us in the face who supported him and thought he'd be good for the working man! HA! What a joke that was. I think after this bill gets signed and people start getting laid off because they are no longer needed or our electric bills get so high we can no longer pay them, those of us that are caught in this mess, need to move to Grand Junction and live in their parks and under their bridges and let Mr Penry take care of us since he didn't give a rats a@@ about us in Northwest Colorado. It use to be said that it was the Western Slope against the Eastern Side of Colorado as they wanted everything we had that they were running out of. Now thanks to Mr. Penry, it appears it is Northwest Colorado against the rest of the state and I fear we are doomed to come out last everytime.

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Ray Cartwright 4 years, 8 months ago

I know that the community is concerned with the coal mine jobs and what the effect will be in Northwest Colorado, and that seems to be the focus of attention for most people. Another fact that a lot of folks haven't considered is the amount of employees this act will affect in the utility industry. IBEW Local Union 111 that represents both the Craig and Hayden Power Plants stand to lose at least 400 jobs. Proponents of the Bill say that it will create jobs in the gas industry but at what cost to the taxpayer and the citizens of Colorado

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onewhocares 4 years, 8 months ago

Okay all of us citizens of Moffat County. It's time for us to start brainstorming real quick & wisely for alternative industries for this area, particularly in the new environmental power industry whether we like it or not. We have thousands of acres of open land, and we have to accept the times are changing just as the river changes every year, and we need to be able to ride with the changes or we will truly end up like Detroit with lots of deserted homes & empty schools.

There are so many talented people in our area, and I know if we put our minds to it, we can establish a new industry for this area that can benefit the masses.

How about it??

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justthefacts 4 years, 8 months ago

Fact: We need our County Commissioners and the mine managers in the area to go and watch the bill signing. ( The County has lots of spare cars just sitting around that could be used.)

Fact: They should have been in Denver prior to this bill being passed. ( If not them, then who???)

Fact: Our elected officals and the community need to decide what is important to the economy here,and become proactive.

Fact: We just saw what happens when people sit on their hands. ( We lose!!!)

Just The Facts

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P51 4 years, 8 months ago

How we gonna git down thar by monday? Cuz we up here are still livin in the 19th century and everybody else has moved to the 21st century. This new world is moving way too fast.

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