EPA to visit Craig this week | CraigDailyPress.com

EPA to visit Craig this week

Community invited to Wednesday night meeting

Noelle Leavitt Riley

— Moffat County is gearing up for a visit from the Environmental Protection Agency this week, as EPA representatives will meet with the community Wednesday night and tour Craig Station on Thursday.

EPA Region 8 officials were asked to visit Northwest Colorado by Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid and Craig City Council member Ray Beck at a coal rally in Denver on July 29.

The rally took place during EPA hearings regarding President Barack Obama's Clean Energy Plan. EPA officials heard testimony from those in favor of the coal industry and environmentalists, along with many other groups. The EPA plans to take testimony gathered from that day and make recommendations to the federal government by Oct. 16.

Beck and Kinkaid invited the EPA to Moffat County to give officials an "up-close and personal look" at the economic impact the coal industry has on Northwest Colorado.

"It's important to have a dialogue with the EPA," Kinkaid said. "This is a face-to-face and one-on-one chance for the people of Moffat County to speak with the EPA."

The community meeting will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Moffat County High School auditorium. Doors open at 6 p.m.

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A community barbecue will be held at 5 p.m. in the south parking lot of the high school before the meeting. Frank Moe, owner of the Best Western Plus Deer Park Inn & Suites, has raised nearly $2,500 for the barbecue, where free hamburgers and hot dogs will be served to the first 500 community members who show up, he said.

"I think that because of all of the community interest, it's always good to break bread and have a community atmosphere," Moe said.

EPA Region 8 Administrator Shaun McGrath will be a speaker at the event along with Craig Station Plant Manager Rick Johnson and Yampa Valley Data Partners Executive Director Keith Kramer, to name a few.

"The group that John (Kinkaid) has assembled will be able to change the minds of the EPA," Moe said, noting that he's hoping speakers will show the EPA that the coal industry is a viable economic driver in Northwest Colorado. "They're going to listen, and we're going to listen."

That's why Kinkaid has deemed the event a "listening tour."

The EPA told the Daily Press in July that "coal will remain a critical part of America's energy mix for the foreseeable future. EPA's carbon pollution proposal provides each state with enormous flexibility in determining how to meet its pollution reduction goals, and does not mandate the retirement of any coal plants."

EPA Region 8 encompasses Colorado, Montana, North and South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.

Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com.