Coal power generation conference returns to Craig

Colorado Water Congress also scheduled next week in Steamboat

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Quotable

“I see the value of coal extraction and development to our community as the best way to begin the conference because those industries employ people and provide a resource we use to generate electricity. They benefit our local, state and national economies.”

— Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner

After a one-year hiatus, the Colorado Coal & Power Generation Conference returns to Craig next week.

Organizers are continuing the event’s partnership with the Summer Water and Energy Conference, an annual Colorado Water Congress event held at the Sheraton Steamboat Springs Resort. But day one of the four-day convention will return Tuesday to its traditional venue at the Holiday Inn of Craig, 300 S. Colorado Highway 13.

This year’s theme for the joint conference is “The Balance of Power” and will feature numerous speakers from the water and energy sectors, economic experts and local, state, and national legislators.

Many of the topics scheduled for the conference will focus on regulations at the state and national levels and the balance of providing affordable energy with conservation.

Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner is slated to deliver the welcome address Tuesday morning.

She said she plans to set the tone for the day by addressing Environmental Protection Agency regulations and state legislation, such as the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act, that are crippling Yampa Valley’s coal mines and coal-fired power plants.

“I see the value of coal extraction and development to our community as the best way to begin the conference because those industries employ people and provide a resource we use to generate electricity,” Danner said. “They benefit our local, state and national economies.”

Though Danner expects most, if not all, of Tuesday’s speakers to touch on the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado’s lawsuit against Clean Air-Clean Jobs, she said it’s not her place to provide an update on its progress.

“But, I can give my perspective on how we did respond to it and why,” she said. “With the current administration, we will continue to see a push against coal and that is of grave concern.

“EPA regulations and state legislation like HB10-1365 are political issues that we (as local elected officials) can address side-by-side with the energy industry.”

Also on the speaker agenda for Tuesday is Stuart Sanderson, president of the Colorado Mining Association.

Sanderson will follow Danner and he said he plans to segue off her comments in his presentation about the factors influencing coal’s volatility in the short- and long-term futures. Many of his topics will be political, Sanderson said.

“I think coal is facing the greatest challenge in its history,” he said. “That challenge here in the United States is in regards to what the government does in terms of regulation.”

Despite the EPA’s “war on coal,” Sanderson said the state of coal in 2012 is moving in both positive and negative directions.

“The fact that world demand for coal is growing is a positive,” he said. “Of course balanced against that are the regulatory and legal disincentives against coal use under the administrations of President Barack Obama and former Gov. Bill Ritter.”

Though discussions led by industry experts dominate much of Tuesday’s schedule, participants in the conference will have the opportunity to either take a local historical tour, with stops planned for the Museum of Northwest Colorado, the Marcia Car and the Wyman Museum, or play in a nine-hole scramble at Yampa Valley Golf Course.

A red dogs, blue dogs and old dogs barbecue at Loudy-Simpson Park will close Tuesday’s schedule of events.

Costs for the Colorado Coal & Power Generation Conference range from $30 to $60. For more information, call Gena Hinkemeyer at 326-6930.

Though the Colorado Water Congress technically begins at 1 p.m. Tuesday with a meeting of the interim water resources review committee, public events are scheduled to kick off at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the Sheraton Steamboat Springs Resort, 2200 Village Inn Ct.

Dr. Carl Steidtmann, chief economist and director of consumer business at Deloitte Research in New York City, will deliver the keynote address during the opening luncheon Wednesday.

Steidtmann was the keynote speaker during Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership’s Economic Update and Small Business Resource Fair in Craig last October.

Moffat County Natural Resources Director Jeff Comstock also will speak during the Colorado Water Congress.

He will be participating in an endangered species roundtable discussion focused on balancing human and wildlife interests.

Colorado legislators Scott Tipton, Cory Gardner and Jerry Sonnenberg also plan on traveling to Steamboat Springs to lead a discussion on the balance of political power.

The Colorado Water Congress event runs from Tuesday through Friday. Costs range from $50 to $325.

For more information, visit www.cowatercongress.org or email Meg Meyer at meg@cowatercongress.org.

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