Coal bill root of energy summit cancellation in Moffat County |

Coal bill root of energy summit cancellation in Moffat County

Brian Smith

Kate Nowak, executive director of Yampa Valley Partners, said Colorado House Bill 10-1365 took the Northwest Colorado community by surprise, shaking it to its core.

Nowak outlined one of the bill's lasting effects during an update on her organization's activities to the Craig City Council during its regular Tuesday meeting.

The director said YVP recently decided it would not host the Energy Summit in the future — a sign of the rift recently created between the coal industry and the oil and gas industry, she said.

For years, Nowak said YVP hosted the summit with all sides of the energy industry sharing information about their respective businesses. But, the coal industry, Nowak said, no longer wanted to participate in such an event.

"When we did the last energy summit, we had oil and gas there, we had fossil fuel companies talking about what they were doing in renewable energy, and the feedback I got later on in the summer was that the coal folks didn't like that," she said after the meeting. "They particularly don't like, you know, sitting in the same room with oil and gas folks to be honest with you."

Without the coal industry participating and the oil and gas industry no longer interested, it didn't make sense for the organization to host the summit, she said.

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The fact the coal industry is seemingly turning its back on the oil and gas industry, Nowak said, is a somewhat troubling fact.

"Is that concerning? Sure, it is," she said. "But, I think it is also a reality and I think the coal folks need to do some lobbying or whatever it is that they need to do with education to get the word out there about their industry and that they're what keeps the lights on."

Nowak said the coal industry wasn't planning on bowing out of participating in a similar activity in the future, however. The industry, she said, is planning to organize a coal conference at some point.

"They really wanted it to be more of a lobbying effort and to have it like it was years ago … and bring up legislators and educate them on the importance of coal," she said.

A coal conference was an idea Nowak said she followed up with and started investigating in hopes of bringing to the area. But, the YVP board thought the idea might be too one-sided and too much of a lobbying effort — something that might not fit with the organization's role of being a "neutral data provider," she said.

Nowak said she also contacted the oil and gas industry asking how the organization could help them, but was turned away considering the number of other oil and gas conferences already established on the Western Slope.

"So that didn't seem like a really good idea and I don't really think renewables would go over very well here," she said.

In response, Nowak said the organization would start looking at ways to expand its educational efforts, but was unsure how those efforts would materialize, or what they would look like.

She would also have to start looking for other fundraising activities, considering the Energy Summit was the organization's biggest fundraiser. She said she might also look to expand the various data projects the organization provides for businesses, making note that YVP's quarterly economic newsletter is gaining "traction" in the community.

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In other news

At its regular meeting Tuesday, the Craig City Council:

• Approved, 6-0, Jan. 11 meeting minutes

• Approved, 6-0, renewal of the hotel and restaurant liquor license for Cugino’s at 572 Breeze St. No cause was shown for denial.

• Approved, 6-0, a request for a temporary liquor license for Peretzler, Inc. doing business as Carelli’s at 465 Yampa Ave.

• Approved, 6-0, a proclamation declaring February as teen dating violence prevention and awareness month.

• Approved, 6-0, bid recommendations for various chemicals for the water and wastewater departments for 2011 with Thatcher Chemical, DPC, BHS and Summit Labs.

• Approved, 6-0, resolution No. 3 approving the final plat of the Hillside Subdivision, phase one.

— Note: Council member Byron Willems was absent.

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