Commissioner Beck: Just Transition plan isn’t perfect, but it’s not going to harm this community |

Commissioner Beck: Just Transition plan isn’t perfect, but it’s not going to harm this community

A lot of time and hard work went into the development of the Just Transition’s rough draft. Knowing how much time was put into the initial planning of the project made the community’s reaction to the rough draft that much harder to deal with on social media and on the Craig Press’s website.

Let’s be clear: the committee’s rough draft is not perfect, but it’s a start – one that will not harm our community by any means.

It is certainly not a perfect plan, as there is still a lot work to be done between now and Dec. 31, including identifying and recommending sources of funding.

I didn’t ask to be on this advisory committee; I was asked by others in this community to be on this advisory committee to represent Moffat County, including the Land Use Board and my fellow county commissioners. There are only two locally elected officials on the committee — myself and Routt County Commissioner Beth Melton — representing coal-impacted communities on the Western Slope. Saying that, it’s important to remind community members that this Just Transition isn’t just for Moffat County, it’s for all coal-impacted communities across the state.

While some things surrounding the Just Transition plan seem to be negative, there were a lot of positives that came out of the rough draft, namely the 11 recommendations for coal-impacted communities.

Those recommendations might not be to everyone’s liking, but it’s a plan to start with, and that’s better than having no plan at all.

It’s certainly not the end-all solution for our future economy, but it’s a start. Pairing the plan with projects locally like the Loudy-Simpson upgrades, the potential National Garden of American Heroes, and other development projects happening within the community, including all that the city and non-profits are working on as well. When you think about those projects and other things we as local elected officials have done working together over the last few years, that’s what is going to help push this economy forward, not this plan or that plan by itself. It’s a collective and collaborative effort between elected officials at the city and county level, including all our employees.

The Just Transition plan, which was created due to House Bill 19-1314, is a tool that is being added to the tool box for Moffat County.

So as far as the Just Transition plan harming this community, that simply isn’t the case, in my opinion.

What will hurt our community moving forward is commissioners who aren’t willing to work together now and into the future; commissioners who are not willing to work with other local elected officials now and into the future; the city and the county not working together on your behalf; elected officials not willing to develop relationships with our state and national leaders and representatives on your behalf; the community not coming together to support one another.

All of those possible issues are things we can control. The transition away from coal is something we cannot control one way or another. It is reality, one that is not being accepted locally, and rightfully so.

We have to look at this transition with an open mind and start coming up with a plan or else we as a community will be reactive instead of proactive.

Having sat through a number of these Just Transition meetings dating back to September of 2019, I can say with complete confidence that everyone involved in this project is more than willing to help our community and others like it across the state. I’ve seen the desire to be at the table and help put together a plan for coal-impacted communities. As Wade Buchanan says, we have time, but we need to get it right. I believe the committee is on the right track. The enthusiasm and the passion to get it right is there.

Like I said, it’s not a perfect plan, but it’s better than having no plan at all. Keep an open mind, bring your suggestions to your local elected officials, and let’s come together as a community to come up with the best plan possible for this community. I encourage each and every one of you to get involved locally. We’re in this together. After all, we’re Colorado’s Great Northwest.

“The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave”

-Ronald Reagan

District 2 Moffat County Commissioner Ray Beck

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