Craig and Moffat County government officials attend Denver EPA hearing | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig and Moffat County government officials attend Denver EPA hearing

Patrick Kelly

Craig Mayor Ray Beck and Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid were in Denver Tuesday to represent Northwest Colorado at an Environmental Protection Agency meeting.

As part of its public outreach on the Clean Power Plan, the EPA has extended the comment period on the proposed implementation plan and organized four, two-day hearings across the country.

"The purpose of these hearings is to collect public comments on a proposed federal plan and proposed model rules to implement what is now the final Clean Power Plan," EPA Region 8 Air Program director Carl Daly told the Craig Daily Press.

Daly said the model rules are intended to guide states in implementing the Clean Power Planmodel rules are intended to guide states in implementing the Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030., which aims to reduce the nation's carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

model rules are intended to guide states in implementing the Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce the nation's carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

At the Denver meeting, Beck and Kinkaid both expressed their concerns on how the plan could adversely affect Northwest Colorado's economy, which relies heavily on the energy industry.

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"The Clean Power Plan, whether implemented either by the state or the federal government, will cripple this county to the point that we will see a smaller tax base that pays for goods and services, and will see families and businesses leaving our community," Beck said at the hearing.

According to Yampa Valley Data Partners, a nonprofit research organization, the top 10 taxpayers in Moffat County are all energy related with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association coming in at number one.

In 2014, Tri-State paid $5,762,011 in taxes — accounting for almost one out of five dollars collected by the county.

Tri-State's Senior Manager of Environmental Policy Andy Berger addressed the EPA panel on Monday, citing concerns on the timing, legality and equitability of the model rules while promoting Tri-State's efforts to incorporate renewable sources into its energy portfolio.

"Tri-State operations are clean, efficient, support rural economies, low-cost and critical to reliability and yet our cooperative-owned power plants are considered just like every other power plant in the nation," he said. "This one-size-fits-all approach treats less efficient plants the same as efficient plants — and plants with emission controls the same as those without controls."

Environmentalists on the other side of the issue were well represented at the hearing as well, Daly said.

Members of the Sierra Club testified on both days of the hearing and praised the Clean Power Plan as the "first-ever set of protections that will curb the carbon pollution that disrupts climate, threatens communities by causing extreme weather and is linked to life-threatening air" in a news release.

The public comment hearings will continue with sessions in Washington, D.C., on Thursday and Friday and Atlanta on Friday and Saturday.

Meanwhile, the EPA's use of section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act to create federal implementation guidelines is being challenged in federal court by 24 states, including Coloradobeing challenged in federal court by 24 states, including Colorado

being challenged in federal court by 24 states, including Colorado

To learn more about the proposed model rules for the Clean Power Plan and submit a comment visit http://www2.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan/fact-sheet-clean-power-plan-proposed-federal-plan

Reach Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or Reach Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@craigdailypress.com. Follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.Reach Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or pkelly@craigdailypress.com. Follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.

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