Editorial: Environmentalist group needs to get off of Tri-State’s back | CraigDailyPress.com

Editorial: Environmentalist group needs to get off of Tri-State’s back

What should be a simple application process for the Title V operating permit to meet the federal Clean Air Act for Tri-State Generation and Transmissions has instead turned into a resource-wasting process, all thanks to WildEarth Guardians.

Since 2001, Tri-State’s application process for the permit has been relatively simple, considering Craig Station has not had a single notice of violation dating back to 2001 when it comes to the Title V permit.

Now, with a retirement date already set and a transition away from coal already in the works across Colorado and here in Moffat County, WildEarth Guardians is once again trying to hold up Tri-State’s progress in its transition by requesting the energy provider invest in more air quality monitoring equipment.

Though there have been no notice of violations, Craig Station isn’t perfect and has had relatively minor exceedances that have been addressed quickly through communications with state regulators, but nothing that’s risen to the level of a formal violation. Knowing that, it’s safe to say Craig Station has an overall excellent compliance record and is equipped with millions of dollars’ worth of environmental controls.

Yet that’s not good enough for WildEarth Guardians.

Enough is enough.

Enviros already won the battle when it comes to coal-powered energy in Colorado. Let the transition continue, or get involved in a positive way in this community as our way of life changes drastically.

This latest move by WEG feels like a political ploy to drain Tri-State of critical funding for the community. Letting Tri-State continue to do their work could help the workforce transition to a new career field while also helping the community successfully transition to a much different future than what we imagined just 10 years ago.

WEG’s request for a public hearing, scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, March 30 in front of the Air Quality Control Commission, includes claims that the power plant has inadequate record-keeping and monitoring practices. County Commissioner Tony Bohrer, Mayor Jarrod Ogden, and former commissioner Ray Beck will be testifying in support of Tri-State during Tuesday’s public hearing.

As of now, WEG has yet to explain what they want Tri-State to do.

The best guess from Tri-State representatives is that WEG wants the energy provider to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on new monitoring equipment that is marginally different than what they already have in place. With that large investment comes additional costs for operating the equipment and maintenance. That simply doesn’t make sense for a plant expected to shut down in about a decade.

Right now, Tri-State should be allowed to focus on transitioning the community and on providing affordable, consistent service — not fighting an unnecessary legal battle against an environmentalist group.

If WEG really wants to make an impact in the community, they need to get invested here, helping us clean up our rivers and educating us on what they’re all about, rather than fighting us over silly little things that really don’t have much of an impact.

Craig Press Editorial Board:

Sheli Steele, General Manager

Joshua Carney, Managing Editor

Jennifer Holloway, community member

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