Local residents who attended last week’s Colorado Public Utilities Commission meeting represented the Craig and Moffat County community, and its coal industry, well before state officials. However, the fight to limit or overturn the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act can’t stop there.
Last week, a contingent of Craig and Moffat County residents appeared before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission with perhaps an insurmountable task — lobbying the PUC in opposition to Colorado House Bill 10-1365, more commonly known as the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act.
By now, this Editorial Board’s stance, and we’re guessing most of the community’s, on the detrimental and cleverly-named bill is clear.
The board — and again, most of the community, we’re betting — also believes that feedback to the PUC likely won’t do much good; officials in Denver appear to have had their minds made up for a while now concerning H.B. 10-1365.
Given these circumstances, the Editorial Board contends the local showing made before the PUC is all the more impressive.
People who testified to the PUC spoke in large numbers, with passion and intelligence, and with their hearts. Maybe that isn’t enough to impact the PUC decision, but it’s commendable and a victory nonetheless that community members came together in support of a singular cause.
And, it bodes well for the future, Editorial Board members believe.
The PUC will issue a decision by Dec. 15, and it’s probable that decision will be counter to the best interests of the Craig and Moffat County economy. But, our community’s showing before the PUC is an example of what could be accomplished down the road.
Whatever the PUC’s decision may be, the fight over this selfish, shortsighted and rushed piece of legislation isn’t over. That our community united in opposition shows it can be done again when needed.
The Editorial Board’s message to H.B. 10-1365 opponents is this: Don’t stop with the PUC.
Lobby your elected officials — from the Craig City Council and Moffat County Commission to state and federal representatives — to get in the game. The absence of many local and state elected officials at the PUC hearing was surprising and somewhat curious.
Lobby State Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, and State Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, to begin crafting legislation that proposes overturning H.B. 10-1365 and for them to get other legislators on board.
Ask your city councilors and county commission to work the back channels on behalf of our coal industry, as well.
The PUC hearing and a rally before the hearing was a good place for our community members to start. But, sadly it’s going to take much more.
That same sort of unified front, combined with thorough planning, compelling research, passion and diligence, may be the only hope our community has left of turning H.B. 10-1365 back.
In the face of an effort such as this, perhaps our state officials will open their eyes to an issue they have been utterly blind to thus far.