Editorial: Join them, any way you can

Craig Editorial Board, Jan. to March 2012

  • Al Cashion, community representative
  • Jeff Pleasant, community representative
  • Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
  • Bridget Manley, newspaper representative
  • Chris Nichols, community representative
  • Josh Roberts, newspaper representative

Our View

Strength lies in numbers, and it’s going to take an impressive display of community presence and involvement at Thursday’s Colorado Public Utilities Commission meeting in Denver to possibly stem the tide of Colorado House Bill 10-1365. If you can’t be in attendance, submit your opinion online. Each and every person is needed in this battle to protect our local coal industry and economy.

It’s hard to argue with the words Editorial Board members heard Monday in reference to the potential impacts of Colorado House Bill 10-1365.

“I don’t know if our community understands the impact of what may happen,” said Jeff Pleasant, owner of Rehabil-

itation Services of Craig and a fourth-generation Moffat County resident.

Pleasant appeared at Monday’s meeting to speak against H.B. 10-1365, a flawed piece of legislation cleverly guised as the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act.

It’s Pleasant’s contention — and one this Editorial Board is in complete agreement with — that the tentacles of this bill could have far greater reaches into the Craig and Moffat County economy and community than most realize.

The bill aims at reducing the use of coal at Front Range power plants, thereby hindering our community’s biggest industry, and one many local families depend on.

But, it’s not just families that rely on the industry. A reduction of local mining jobs cuts into all economic areas.

It reduces tax bases for local governments and hinders services. It limits customer bases for small businesses — another foundation for our community. It takes children out of local schools because their parents have to move elsewhere for employment opportunities.

The reaches of this harmful bill and the trickle down effect from its implementation go on and on. Like Pleasant said, most don’t understand or can’t comprehend the depths right now.

The Editorial Board is concerned not only for our local friends, family members and neighbors who work hard and with pride in our coal industry, but also that without intervention, our community could be crippled in the not-so-distant future.

We’ve watched with sadness at what’s happening to a proud American city like Detroit, saddled with unbearable economic woes. The last thing our community, its residents or businesses need is to see a smaller-scale version of that occur here at home.

So, what’s to be done?

In Pleasant’s opinion, and again, Editorial Board members are in agreement, the next step lies in action and involvement.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission is scheduled to host a public comment hearing from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at the PUC offices in Denver. The PUC is attempting to rule on plans required by the bill and must do so by Dec. 15.

As of now, it appears there will be a strong local contingent appearing in Denver to lobby on behalf of our community.

Join them, in one fashion or another.

Help them fight on behalf of Western Slope interests — a proposition that’s always difficult on the Front Range — and protect our community’s future in person in Denver.

Or, if you can’t be there, submit your opinions online to pucconsumer.complaints@dora.state.co.us, or by using the PUC comment form at www.dora.state.co.us/puc/consumer/consumercomment.htm.

No contribution is too small, and the more people who rally to this worthwhile and necessary cause, the better chance we all have of keeping our community intact.

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