Moffat County Commission continuing to fight coal bill | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County Commission continuing to fight coal bill

Commission, AGNC hoping to voice concerns on emissions reduction plan

Brian Smith

The Moffat County Commission is continuing to fight Colorado House Bill 10-1365, also known as the Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act and try to have local concerns heard months after Gov. Bill Ritter signed the bill into law.

The commission, along with the Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado and other area counties, is pushing to have their voices heard during the review periods of the emissions reduction plans required by the bill, said Aron Diaz, AGNC executive director.

The bill requires some Front Range power plants to submit emission reduction plans which have to "give primary consideration to replacing or re-powering coal-fired electric generators with natural gas and to also consider other low-emitting resources including energy efficiency," according to the bill.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Air Quality Control commission is currently in the process of reviewing the plans before they are submitted to the Public Utilities Commission for consideration.

The county commission signed a petition in late June to allow public input on the emission reduction plans and the possible social and economic impacts they could have to the area, as did the Routt and Rio Blanco county commissions.

However, Diaz said the request was denied on July 15.

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"They have been trying to hide everything that is going in to the drafting of the plan and so when we say, 'We think your air quality regulations are too high,' they can say, 'No, our research says it is not,'" Diaz said. "How are we supposed to confront that?"

Diaz said AGNC's attorneys are currently looking at appealing the Air Quality Control commission's denial of their petition.

Diaz said AGNC is also continuing to update local governments about the possibility of getting public input into the emission reduction plans.

When the Public Utilities Commission receives the plans from the Air Quality Commission, Diaz expects to have an opportunity to review them, Diaz said.

"But, we are not sure how much flexibility there will be to redesign the plan," he said.

For more on this story, read Friday's Craig Daily Press or visit http://www.craigdailypress.com.

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