Craig officials, Tri-State submit comments to EPA | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig officials, Tri-State submit comments to EPA

Janelle O'Dea

— The public comment period for the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule ended on Dec. 1.

Several agencies and companies that do business in Moffat County, including Tri-State Generation and Transmission, submitted comments to the EPA about the rule.

Drew Kramer, public affairs manager for Tri-State, provided the Craig Daily Press with a summary of the company's comments.

Tri-State operates Craig Station and holds a firm stance on the issue.

"Tri-State believes the proposal is unlawful and unworkable, and the EPA should abandon this rulemaking and postpone further action on it," the first line of the summation said.

It continues to outline the four major issues Tri-State takes with the proposed rule, one of which includes the core of the proposed rule.

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"Building Blocks are flawed — Even if EPA had legal authority to issue the proposal (which it does not), each of the proposal's 'Building Blocks' suffers from problems that render it unlawful, or at a minimum, unworkable and unenforceable."

Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid signed on as himself with the Independence Institute's comments.

"My primary reason for signing on is to fight for the coal mine jobs and the power plant jobs in the Yampa Valley. I think they're in jeopardy," Kinkaid said. "I understand that Shaun (McGrath) said there's nothing in the regulations that says coal mines and power plans are going to go away, but I think you have to read between the lines."

Fellow commissioner Tom Mathers said Kinkaid spoke for him when Kinkaid testified in Denver at a hearing about the proposed rule.

The Moffat County Commissioners did not make comments as a group, partially because Commissioner Chuck Grobe cannot make comments on the proposed rule.

Grobe said because he's on the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment air quality control commission, he is not able to comment on political matters.

Craig Mayor Terry Carwile said he also attended the hearing that Kinkaid attended in Denver. He, too, shared his comments and thoughts about the EPA's proposed rule.

Carwile explained that the nature of his comments included how the energy industry supports the Craig community.

"The advent of Craig Station really enabled a strong economic foundation for the community and the community developed around it," Carwile said. "We had greater access to health care and improvements in educational opportunities. The folks who went to work at Trapper Mine and places like that got out and got involved with the community's clubs and so forth."

Carwile said the type of employment provided by the energy sector sets the stage for him and others to retire in Craig.

"The longevity of the employment that Craig Station, Trapper Mine, Colowyo (provides); that longevity created the opportunity to grow a community," he said.

Carwile also said the type of income Craig Station and the mines around it bring to the community bring a unique value.

"Coal is a value-added product because it leaves here as electricity," Carwile said.

Contact Janelle O’Dea at 970-875-1795 or jodea@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @jayohday