Moffat County residents planning to attend Denver rally in protest of coal bill

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If you go

What: Colorado Public Utilities Commission public comment hearing

When: 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: PUC offices, 1560 Broadway St., in Denver, Suite 250, hearing room A

— The PUC will hear public comment on Xcel Energy’s emission reduction plans required by Colorado House Bill 10-1365. Anyone may comment to the PUC except those who have already testified. The PUC stated it will try to accommodate everyone hoping to speak.

— If you can’t attend the meeting, submit written comments to pucconsumer.compl... or by using the PUC comment form at www.dora.state.co...

What: Rally for affordable energy

When: 2 p.m. Thursday

Where: State capitol building, 200 E. Colfax Ave., in Denver

— The rally will be on the west steps of the capitol building. The Colorado Mining Association encourages people impacted by Colorado House Bill 10-1365 to attend.

Hayden resident Danielle Campbell is worried about her husband’s job, but not because of his work ethic.

Danielle said if her husband, Nathan, who works at Twentymile Coal Co., loses his job as result of Colorado House Bill 10-1365, also known as the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act, the family could be forced to move.

“The cost of our mortgage payment and the cost of living here, I don’t think there is another job that can fill that void,” said Danielle, a stay-at-home mom with three children.

For that reason, Campbell said she has spent the last few weeks spreading the word throughout the Yampa Valley about a Colorado Public Utilities Commission public comment hearing on Xcel Energy’s emission reduction plans required by H.B 10-1365.

Danielle encouraged residents to not only testify before the PUC, but also attend a rally before the meeting in opposition of the bill and Xcel’s plans.

The Colorado Mining Association is helping organize a “rally for affordable energy” at 2 p.m. Thursday on the west steps of the state capitol building, 200 E. Colfax Ave., in Denver.

The rally takes place before the PUC hears public comments on Xcel’s emission reduction plans from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday in Denver at the PUC offices in hearing room A at 1560 Broadway St., Suite 250.

Danielle said she plans to attend the rally and testify before the PUC.

In hopes of encouraging others to travel to Denver for the rally, Danielle said she made a handout containing information on affects the bill would have on the Yampa Valley.

She and another resident passed out 200 copies of the handout in Craig and Hayden, she said.

Danielle is also gathering letters from local businesses and community members to present to the PUC. She has about 15 so far, but is hoping for about 50, she said.

“I have letters from community members that don’t work at Twentymile, and I think that’s huge,” she said. “That was the feeling that I got from the Grand Junction meeting … that, ‘Well, there is just a bunch of you miners here that are worried about your jobs.’

“Well, it is not just the miners who are worried … it is the whole community worried about the community.”

Mining association president Stuart Sanderson said he is hoping for a good representation from the mining industry and other affected communities at the rally because the issue is “bigger than the coal mining industry.”

“This is about the future of Colorado,” he said.

Sanderson’s hope is that the rally and PUC testimonies raise as much public knowledge of the plans as possible, he said.

“Make no mistake about it that we are in opposition to Xcel Energy’s shady, secret deal,” he said. “The more light that gets shed on what Xcel did, the worse it looks.”

Sanderson is hoping for a larger turnout than an Aug. 30 PUC hearing in Grand Junction, which he said drew about 300 Western Slope coal miners.

But, Sanderson would be happy with 100 miners Thursday, he said.

“If I get 100 committed, I’m satisfied because I think it is the zeal with which we pursue things that counts,” he said.

State Sen. Al White, R-Hayden, said he would not be able to attend the rally and PUC hearing, but was “distraught over the passing” of the bill.

“I just think the whole thing is a bad idea,” he said.

White said he was pleased to hear the community was showing support for the coal industry.

“I am just disheartened that the PUC went ahead, regardless,” he said.

State Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, said he would also not be able to attend the rally and hearing because of a prior commitment.

But, Baumgardner said he supported those attending the rally and is pushing for the PUC to consider residents’ concerns.

Nathan Campbell said he hopes to attend both the rally and PUC hearing.

“I want to stand up for my job that’s on the line,” he said.

Nathan said he’s impressed the community is supporting the coal industry and showing interest in protesting Xcel’s plans in Denver.

“The more people that are down there, the more chance we have of making a point,” he said.

Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers said the county commission could not testify to the PUC because of its involvement in an action by the Associated Governments of Northwest Col-

orado against the PUC.

However, Mathers said he would attend the rally and hopes to speak.

“I am going to let the coal miners know the county is behind them,” he said.

Mathers said he hopes to convey that the county is “doing everything we can to get this bill stopped” and to “make the PUC really think about this.”

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