Tri-State pushes EPA to host hearings in Moffat County | CraigDailyPress.com

Tri-State pushes EPA to host hearings in Moffat County

Erin Fenner

— Tri-State Generation and Transmission is joining local and state leaders in pushing the Environmental Protection Agency to host a public hearing about its new proposed coal power plant regulations in Moffat County.

The proposed regulations would mandate that coal-fired power plants reduce their carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030. The EPA will host hearings on the regulations in Atlanta, Washington, Pittsburgh and Denver.

Barbara Walz, senior vice president, policy and compliance chief, issued a letter to the EPA on June 30 asking the agency to have an extra meeting in the county.

"We think an additional public meeting would be tremendously beneficial to local stakeholders and the agency alike. One option is to hold an additional public hearing in Moffat County, Colorado," she said in the letter.

Because of interest, the EPA already added four hearings to its docket, but those meetings will be hosted in the already designated cities. Denver will get two days of hearings now instead of one July 29 and 30, according to the EPA website.

Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid said it's important for the EPA to make its way out to Craig.

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"It's time for the EPA to get outside their ivory tower, outside their comfort zone," he said. "This is our economy's bread and butter here in Routt and Moffat counties."

Walz said the rural voice was important in her letter to the EPA.

"Our employees, our member systems and their customers at the end of the power lines are Westerners and, as such, we are all proud of our ability to collaborate in solving difficult and challenging issues," Walz said in the letter. "We believe this rural perspective and ability to take on challenges would add great value to the EPA's process and we encourage you to visit rural Colorado in addition to the metro areas already planned."

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., both said they supported the EPA hosting a hearing in Moffat County to get residents’ input.

"It's building the momentum to get us across the finish line," Kinkaid said. "It's still a possibility that (the EPA) will come to Moffat County."

Regardless, this is a big issue for Moffat County residents to take part in, he said.

If the EPA chooses to host a hearing in Craig, "area residents are going to have a chance to let their voices be heard right here, and I'm hoping by doing that, we can put faces and stories in front of the EPA instead of just statistics and numbers," Kinkaid said.

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.