County signs petition regarding coal bill


Other action

• Approved, 3-0, voided warrant resolutions for June totaling $32,334.41 and $1,500.

• Approved, 3-0, payroll warrant resolutions ending June 12 totaling $685,357.52.

• Approved, 3-0, a bid recommendation from the road and bridge department for striping projects to Rocky Mountain Enterprises totaling $22,526.25.

• Tabled, 3-0, a landfill engineering bid recommendation from the road and bridge department.

• Approved, 3-0, a revised Colorado House Bill 04-1451 memorandum of understanding from the social services department.

• Approved, 3-0, meeting minutes for the May 25 meeting with social services director Marie Peer.

• Approved, 3-0, two revised Colorado Works policies.

• Heard a caseload trend report and a monthly report for the social services department.

• Approved, 3-0, a bid recommendation for pavement maintenance at the Craig-Moffat County Airport with Hi-Lite Marking totaling $98,244.40 with the understanding that if the rest of FFA grant money for the project was not received, the project would not be completed.

• Approved, 3-0, a request to waive the bid process for electronic updates for jail security system with EO Integrated Systems, Inc. totaling $37,500.

• Approved, 3-0, to support the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado in filing a petition with the Air Quality Control Commission for consideration of envirnonmental and economic effects of Colorado House Bill 10-1365 also known as the Clean Air-Clean Jobs act.

The Moffat County Commission took action Tuesday it hopes will allow the county to have a voice in how Colorado House Bill 10-1365 might affect the future of Northwest Colorado.

At its regular meeting, the commission approved, 3-0, to become a co-sponsor of a petition drafted by the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado to allow public input on the emission reduction plan required by the bill, also known as the Clean Air-Clean Jobs act.

Gov. Bill Ritter signed the bill into law April 19 after it spent 36 days passing through the Colorado legislature.

The bill requires some Front Range power plants to submit emission reduction plans which have to “give primary consideration to replacing or re-powering coal-fired electric generators with natural gas and to also consider other low-emitting resources including energy efficiency.”

The commission discussed the petition with Aron Diaz, executive director of the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado, and with Jeff Comstock, Moffat County Natural Resources director.

Comstock and Diaz outlined the petition and the process Xcel Energy and Black Hills Power, the two utilities affected by the bill, will use to comply with the bill.

The emissions reduction plans must be submitted to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission by Aug. 13, Diaz said.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Air Quality Control commission will first review the plans before they are submitted to the Public Utilities Commission for consideration, Diaz said.

Diaz said the staffs of both the Department of Health and Environment and Xcel have recommended discussions about the emission reduction plans be held in private.

“What we’re asking with this petition is to have that be an open process where we can voice concerns that we have on the affect on the socio-economic conditions in Northwest Colorado and specifically in Moffat County,” Diaz said during the meeting.

Diaz said the means in which the two utilities will accomplish emission reductions at the plants are somewhat unknown at this point.

“The Clean Air-Clean Jobs act is pretty speculative in how they want to go about creating these emissions reduction,” he said after the meeting.

If approved by the state, the petition will allow Moffat County to comment on the plans and how they might affect the region.

“If their plan is not harmful or does not include a lot of things that economically impact us, then so be it,” commissioner Tom Gray said after the meeting. “It is pretty hard to say what we have as a solution until we see what they have as an initial plan, which we are not even going to be able to see unless they include us in the process.”

Among the items the county may convey to the Air Quality Control commission include the social, economic and environmental impacts the plans will have on the area, Gray said.

“It’s the potential job losses, what it means to our communities and how much would the plan cause a reduction in coal production in Northwest Colorado,” Diaz said.

Comstock said Air Quality Control has the authority to address the public concerns about the plans, but it is not required to do so.

Commissioner Tom Mathers said the bill would affect Moffat County economically and the state should take regional impacts into consideration.

“It’s up to us to try to do what we can to save those jobs,” he said.

The Routt County Commission and Rio Blanco County Commission are also supporting the petition.

Commissioner Audrey Danner said she appreciates the issue becoming a regional discussion.

“One small point is that (coal) is mined in one county, but the workforce can live in another county between the three counties here,” she said.

Danner said it is “easy to get very emotional” about jobs possibly being lost as a result of the bill.

“We can intuitively understand what that might mean to our community, (but) we are asking them to look at it also and to make it part of their decision-making process,” she said.


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