Craig City Council member Ray Beck, left, speaks at the Denver rally in support of coal Wednesday. Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe testified earlier in the day at the Environmental Protection Agency listening sessions, explaining why strict regulations on existing coal-fire power plants could be harmful to the Yampa Valley economy.

Photo by Erin Fenner

Craig City Council member Ray Beck, left, speaks at the Denver rally in support of coal Wednesday. Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe testified earlier in the day at the Environmental Protection Agency listening sessions, explaining why strict regulations on existing coal-fire power plants could be harmful to the Yampa Valley economy.

Moffat County residents head to Denver to testify and rally for traditional energy

More than 20 traditional energy advocates caravanned to Denver Wednesday to attend the Environmental Protection Agency listening sessions and a rally on the state Capitol steps.

The EPA set up hearings nationwide in their regional EPA offices to listen to input on the upcoming proposed regulations for existing power plants. The proposed regulations for new power plants came out in September, and caused controversy because of their strict rules for coal fire power plants.

Yampa Valley coal miners, Moffat County Commissioners and Craig City Councilman Ray Beck testified at the sessions.

Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe gave a three-minute testimony on behalf of the county.

“It’s devastating to our economy if these EPA regulations go through. We’re a small community,” he said. “We lose the power plant and coal mines; we’re really dead in the water.”

He was glad he got to speak in favor of traditional energy, but not optimistic that it would make a difference in the EPA’s decision.

“It’s one of those things where you don’t know if you’re going to make a difference. But you do it anyway,” he said.

After the EPA listening sessions, energy advocates made their way to the state Capitol to rally in favor of traditional energy. About 100 people stood at the steps of the Capitol and several speakers touched on why this was a crucial issue, not just for coal-producing communities, but for the whole country.

“This is critical. This is a life or death issue for all of Colorado,” said Sean Paige, deputy state director for Americans for Prosperity-Colorado. “I hope the governor wakes up. He has some amends to make with rural Colorado. Can you imagine what America would be like without a strong energy sector?”

The proposed EPA regulations for existing power plants will come out June 2014.

Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or efenner@craigdailypress.com.

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