July 30 Colorado Energy Roundup: Clean Power Plan extension expected; a new Sagebrush Rebellion?

The Clean Power Plan’s timeline for compliance may see an extension, and the final rule itself may be revealed next Monday:

The final version of President Obama’s signature climate change policy is expected to extend an earlier timeline for states to significantly cut planet-warming pollution from power plants, according to people familiar with the plan.

If enacted, the climate change plan, the final version of which is expected to be unveiled as early as Monday, could stand as the most significant action ever taken by an American president to curb global warming. But some environmental groups have cautioned that a later deadline for states to comply could make it tougher for the United States to meet Mr. Obama’s climate change pledges on the world stage.

The plan consists of three major environmental regulations, which combined are intended to drastically cut emissions of greenhouse gases. The rules take aim at coal-fired power plants, the largest source of greenhouse emissions, and are intended to spur a transformation of the nation’s power sector from fossil fuels to renewable sources such as wind and solar. Under the rules, the Environmental Protection Agency would require states to draft plans to lower emissions from power plants. The agency is also expected to issue its own model of a state-level plan, to be imposed on states that refuse to draft their own plans.

The final rules would extend the timeline for states and electric utilities to comply, compared with a draft proposal put forth by the E.P.A. in June last year, according to people who are familiar with the plan but who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about it.

The Independence Institute’s backgrounder on the Clean Power Plan and its devastating effects on our energy choice and enormous costs to taxpayers and the economy in general can be found here.

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Much of the public land in the Rocky Mountain west is administered not by the states but by the federal government all the way from DC–and the debate over who should ultimately preside over these vast swathes of federal land has seen a resurgence:

Not since the Sagebrush Rebellion in 1979 has the debate over whether it’s time for federal lands to fall to states’ control gained such attention, and the anti-federal-government sentiment and talking points aren’t likely to dissipate as the West heads toward the next presidential election.

The fight stirred in 2012 when the Utah legislature passed the Transfer of Public Lands Act to demand authority over millions of acres of federal land by last New Year’s Eve. It didn’t happen.

Eight states cumulatively considered 30 bills around the issue this year. In March, Republicans in the U.S. Senate passed, without a single Democratic vote, a symbolic resolution in support of transferring or trading land to states. The resolution, though, doesn’t give Congress or any federal agency additional power to make deals.

And in the last Colorado legislative session there were three bills around the subject. Only one passed. House Bill 1225, a bipartisan bill supported by environmental groups, strengthens communities’ position in saying how local federal lands are managed.

Opponents of devolving control of public lands to the states cite the enormous costs of maintaining them, arguing states are not prepared to shoulder the added burden of hundreds of millions of dollars in annual upkeep.

For example, a single wildfire could cripple Colorado, said Governor John Hickenlooper’s advisor:

The federal government also picks up the costs for wildfires on federal lands. But just one massive wildfire in Colorado — a state that can have several in one year — could obliterate the state budget, said John Swartout, a Republican who is Hickenlooper’s top policy adviser on land, wildlife and conservation issues.

“The solution is constructive engagement,” Swartout said. “Are we always going to be happy with all the decisions? No. But we’re going to get a lot farther helping create the final solution.”

More than 1/3 of Colorado is subject to federal jurisdiction. Whether or not the debate develops into a political conflagration or peters out in favor of other issues remains to be seen, but expect energy producers and environmental activists to keep a close eye on how the narrative proceeds.

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WildEarth Guardians won’t hesitate to launch a legal battle, as a recent look at the group’s lawsuit filings shows:

Though a relatively small organization with only 26 people on staff, WildEarth Guardians’ litigious nature has established the environmental advocacy group as a dominant voice in the national debate about environmental policy.

From 2010 to present, Guardians have initiated a total of 152 cases in federal district courts and 55 in the Circuit Court of Appeals for a total of 207 cases. In 2010 alone they filed 61 claims — an average of about one per week.

However, Guardians’ pervasiveness in the courts has not gone without criticism.

In a 2012 analysis of WildEarth Guardians’ legal activity, the conservative group Americans for Prosperity claimed that Guardians has been “misusing the judicial system, exploiting poorly-written laws and taking advantage of taxpayers to pursue a narrow, litigation-driven, special interest agenda.”

For Coloradans, especially those in Craig and surrounding areas, lawsuits from the group have drawn the ire of residents and businesses for favoring costly litigation as a first-stop solution:

Lee Boughey, senior manager of corporate communications and public affairs for Tri-State, said in a statement that the courts should not be a first resort.

“Environmental policy, regulations and law should be set by state legislatures and Congress, and based on sound science, a thorough cost-benefit analysis and appropriate timeframes for implementation. These are difficult issues, and it is a far better for all stakeholders to commit to work together to develop sound regulatory policy that take these consideration into account, as opposed to running straight to the courts,” he said.

The group remains adamant, saying, the “legal system is oftentimes the last recourse of justice for interests and peoples that have been marginalized or whose issues haven’t been heard.”

In the case of Colowyo Mine, the marginalized appear to be the local residents, workers, and communities.

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A pair of energy-related ballot measures will appear in November in Boulder, including a Climate Action tax:

Boulder officials also want to ask voters to extend the portion of the utility occupation tax on energy bills that replaces Xcel Energy’s franchise fee and provides roughly $4.1 million to the city’s general fund each year. It is not the portion of the tax that funds analysis and legal efforts toward municipalization, which is not on the ballot. The municipal energy utility would also have to pay a similar amount into the general fund, but that utility may not be up and running by 2017, when the tax expires. The proposed ballot measure would extend the tax through 2022.

The Climate Action Plan tax, which funds energy-efficiency programs and solar rebates, will also appear on the ballot. That tax expires in March 2018, and city leaders believe the programs ultimately will be paid for out of utility rates. However, that won’t be possible until the utility is up and running. The proposed ballot measure would extend the tax through March 2023 so that those programs could continue regardless of progress on the municipal utility.

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July 16 Colorado Energy Roundup: Sec. Jewell adds Colowyo Mine visit; renewable energy mandate upheld

July 16, 2015 by michael · Comments Off
Filed under: CDPHE, Environmental Protection Agency, Legal, preferred energy, renewable energy 

A week after the Department of the Interior declined to move forward with an appeal in the Colowyo Mine case, and facing mounting pressure to visit the northwest portion of Colorado during a scheduled trip to Aspen, Sec. Sally Jewell appears to have conceded to a meeting with county commissioners:

Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid said Wednesday that Jewell has added a meeting with northwest Colorado county commissioners to her itinerary Friday following her speech at the Aspen Institute.

“We look forward to meeting Secretary Jewell this Friday evening,” Kinkaid said. “I hope that she will be able to give us some assurances that our miners can keep working.”

He said he expected the meeting to include commissioners from Moffat and Rio Blanco counties, whose communities would bear the brunt of a mine closure. The meeting will take place in Glenwood Springs.

Jewell had come under pressure to visit the area after it was announced that she would deliver remarks Friday at the Aspen Institute, about a three-hour drive from Craig, where residents are alarmed about the future of the mine.

We’ll keep you posted on developments of the planned meeting.

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Colorado’s preferred energy renewable mandate was upheld this week:

The mandate, which voters passed in 2004 and expanded in 2010, was challenged by the free-market advocacy group Energy and Environment Legal Institute. The group argued that the renewable energy requirements violate the U.S. Constitution.

The lawsuit claimed that the requirement that large utilities such as Xcel Energy get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources violates constitutional protections for interstate commerce.

The plaintiffs argued that because electricity can go anywhere on the grid and come from anywhere on the grid, Colorado mandate illegally harms out-of-state companies.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver disagreed. The three-judge panel ruled that the mandate does not wrongly burden out-of-state coal producers. The judges also pointed out that Colorado voters approved the mandate.

The full text of the ruling can be found here.

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For those who do not think increased energy costs–whether from increased cost of supply of fuel, onerous regulations, or government picking (more expensive) energy winners–affect lower and middle income families in Colorado, a new examination of the state’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) reveals how devastating even modest price increases in energy can be:

About 430,000 households in Colorado — 22 percent of all households — are eligible for federal energy assistance.

These households have incomes below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $36,372 for a family of four.

About 13 percent of Colorado households are below the federal poverty line of $24,250 for a family of four.

The federal Low-Income Energy Assistance Program, or LEAP, administered by local agencies, provided $47 million for heating bills during the 2014-15 season.

The article laments that program has a low reach at the present time, with only 19 percent of those eligible receiving outreach.

But the article’s lede is buried–even small, incremental increases have a large and outsized effect on low-income folks given the portion of income they spend on energy:

Xcel, the state’s largest electricity utility, calculates monthly payments based on 3 percent of a household’s income.

Average households pay 2 percent to 3 percent for energy, compared with low-income households, which often pay as much as 50 percent.

“That leaves very little for food, clothing, medicine,” said Pat Boland, Xcel’s manager of customer policy and assistance.

“Once we get them in the door, we want to keep them in the door,” Boland said in a presentation.

According to the article, Black Hills reaches only 10 percent of those eligible within its system. It pays for the assistance by charging other ratepayers, and is considering a rate hike to cover the program, which is currently losing money. That hike, along with three other rate increases since 2008, make Black Hills among the most expensive electricity providers in the state, the Post article said.

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Despite a quiet 2015, fracking is still maintaining a low boil on the backburner of the state’s energy debate, and there is every indication that it won’t be simmering any time soon, and Democratic Rep. Jared Polis told the Associated Press that options remain:

Polis said fracking could be on the 2016 ballot if state officials don’t further regulate the industry. He stopped short of saying whether he would organize the effort, but he wants lawmakers and regulators to adopt three proposals that weren’t formally recommended by the task force.

One would let local governments impose stricter rules than the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, charged with regulating drilling statewide. Another would change the commission’s role from facilitating oil and gas development to simply regulating it. The third would set up a panel to resolve disputes between energy companies and local governments or property owners before they land in court.

It remains to be seen whether or not activists, with or without Polis’s sponsorship, pursue a strategy like they did in 2013, targeting friendly and even tossup municipalities with fracking bans and moratoria, or wait for statewide opportunities in the 2016 Presidential election cycle.

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The Bureau of Land Management has closed off nearly 100,000 acres of federal land from future leasing:

The Bureau of Land Management rejected all 19 protests from conservation groups, the oil and gas industry and other interests in approving a new resource management plan for the Colorado River Valley Field Office.

The Colorado River Valley Field Office, in Silt, manages more than 500,000 acres of land and more than 700,000 acres of subsurface federal minerals in Garfield, Mesa, Rio Blanco, Pitkin, Eagle and Routt counties. The agency says the majority of the 147,500 acres with high potential for oil and gas production under the office’s jurisdiction are already leased and will continue producing under the plan.

The plan closes 98,100 acres for future leasing, including in the Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area near New Castle, areas managed for wilderness characteristics, areas of critical environmental concern, municipalities and designated recreation areas.

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In addition to the endangered Colowyo Mine, another Colorado mine with 150 employees faces environmental review and possible closure:

A second Craig-area coal mine apparently also will have to undergo a remedial federal environmental review process if it hopes to avoid a shutdown based on a recent court order.

The Trapper Mine near Craig is now looking at going through the same kind of review currently underway in the case of the Colowyo Mine between Craig and Meeker following a federal judge’s ruling in May.

U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson, in a suit brought by WildEarth Guardians, found that the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement illegally approved expansions of the two mines because it failed to provide public notice of the decisions and account for the environmental impacts.

The Trapper Mine faces discrepancies over permitted areas and coverage under filings with Judge Jackson, who did not impose a similar ruling as that issued for the Colowyo Mine.

In a notice filed last week to alert the court about the new information, the Trapper attorneys said they support doing remedial environmental analysis involving the Trapper Mine after the Colowyo review is done.

Bob Postle, manager of the program support division for the OSMRE’s western region, said the notice has “just been filed, and we’re now working through how we’re going to address it.”

Given the discrepancies, it isn’t clear at this moment whether a new or remedial environmental review is necessary, according to Trapper’s legal counsel.

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In a meeting with Republican Senator Cory Gardner, western slope businesses and entrepreneurs described facing onerous regulatory burdens imposed by DC bureaucrats:

A Moffat County sheepherder, Delta hardware shop owner and Grand Junction manufacturer all walked into a meeting Friday with U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., each with much the same punchline in mind.

The common theme: The federal government is reaching too far into their businesses, discouraging them from seeking out new ways of doing business and growing.

Constraining regulations have “taken the creativity out of business,” Jim Kendrick, owner of Delta Hardware, told Gardner. “The move is to make us all do business the same way. That’s stifling growth.”

Gardner met with two dozen western Colorado business and economic leaders at Colorado Mesa University in hopes of finding ways to improve the state’s sputtering rural economy.

“I spend all my time on regulatory compliance and none of it on product development,” one Department of Defense contractor said. That would result in pushing more business to bigger vendors able to hurdle all of the regulatory red tape due to a larger staff.

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June 25 Colorado Energy Roundup

Last week at the Steamboat Institute, Independence Institute Energy Policy Center Director Amy Oliver Cooke moderated a panel entitled “The Coming Storm of Federal Energy Regulations and Their Impact on Colorado Business”–with attorney Ray Gifford discussing the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan,” Dan Byers of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce offering an explanation of the newly proposed EPA ground-level ozone rule, and Lee Boughey of Tri-State Generation and Transmission revealing the impact of the WildEarth Guardians lawsuit and the Colowyo Mine:

***

Blowback over the controversial support of WildEarth Guardians and the lawsuit threatening the Colowyo Mine stirred up trouble not only for New Belgium Brewing Company but over 450 other businesses and organizations listed as WEG supporters who quickly pulled their names from a list of “supporters” on the activist group’s website:

Some businesses listed said they never gave anything to the group responsible for a lawsuit that put Colowyo Coal Mine at risk of closing.

The Craig Daily Press published its first story about local liquor stores and restaurants pulling New Belgium and Breckenridge Brewery beer on June 8, and shortly thereafter, WildEarth Guardians staff deleted its webpage called “Businesses for Guardians.”

The newspaper then published the cached webpage of supporters, and less than 24 hours later, the environmentalists republished the webpage.

On that page, a total of 605 businesses across Colorado and New Mexico were listed as supporters. As of June 18, that number shrunk to 151 businesses listed as supporters.

A complete list of all companies previously named as “Businesses for Guardians” has been archived here as well.

“You don’t mess with my community,” one resident told the Craig Daily Press.

There’s no doubt the Colowyo Mine issue is already impacting the economy of the northwest corner of Colorado:

After less than six months of being in business, the owner of Stacks Smokehouse closed the doors to his restaurant due to Craig’s economic uncertainty in light of what’s happening at Colowyo Coal Mine.

Steve Fulton said his business — which opened in the former Double Barrel Steakhouse building on Feb. 20 — dropped 40 percent days after the community met on June 3 for a public meeting with Colowyo representatives.

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Two Colorado counties have seen tremendous growth in jobs, despite the recent oil and gas downturn:

Two Colorado counties were among the three large U.S. counties with the fastest job growth rate in 2014, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

And Colorado overall ranked No. 3 for the rate of job growth among states.

In the counties ranking, Weld County topped the list for a second straight year. Weldco tied with Midland County, Texas, with a best-in-the-nation 8.0 percent increase in employment between December 2013 and December 2014, BLS said.

In 2013, Weld County posted 6 percent job growth.

And Adams County came in at No. 3 in the nation with a 6.4 percent growth rate.

In fact, Weld County saw a 19.6 percent gain in natural resources and mining employment over the 12-month period, adding a net 2,074 jobs, BLS estimates.

And Adams County is home to companies that service the energy industry.

Only North Dakota (4.5 percent) and Nevada (4.2 percent) outpaced Colorado’s job growth rate of 3.9 percent, according to the BLS.

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Meanwhile in Indiana (from a press release):

Indianapolis – Governor Pence sent a letter today to President Obama informing him that unless the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan is demonstrably and significantly improved before being finalized Indiana will not comply. The Governor’s letter in full can be found attached.

“As I wrote to Administrator McCarthy on December 1, 2014, the proposed rules are ‘ill-conceived and poorly constructed’ and they exceed the EPA’s legal authority under the Clean Air Act,” wrote Pence. “If your administration proceeds to finalize the Clean Power Plan, and the final rule has not demonstrably and significantly improved from the proposed rule, Indiana will not comply. Our state will also reserve the right to use any legal means available to block the rule from being implemented.”

“Our nation needs an ‘all of the above’ energy strategy that relies on a variety of different energy sources,” said Pence. “Energy policy should promote the safe, environmentally responsible stewardship of our natural resources with the goal of reliable, affordable energy. Your approach to energy policy places environmental concerns above all others.”

In addition Pence noted, “Higher electricity prices brought by the EPA’s plan will inhibit our ability to advance our manufacturing base and the jobs it creates.”

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan calls for a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels in Indiana by the year 2030. The proposed rules do not dictate how states achieve reduction. Instead, the rule suggests four building blocks as guidelines for compliance. The rules will increase the cost of electricity and force the premature closure of coal-fired power plants, leading to concerns of electricity shortages. On December 1, 2014, Governor Pence and Indiana State agencies submitted letters to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy detailing the proposed rules’ impact on Indiana and urging their immediate withdrawal.

More than 26,000 Hoosiers are employed in the coal industry in Indiana. Governor Pence has pledged to fight the EPA’s regulations with all legal means at Indiana’s disposal. Governor Pence’s comments today come on the heels of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissing State of West Virginia et al v. Environmental Protection Agency, Case No. 14-1112. Indiana was one of fourteen petitioners in the case, which asked the Court to review the legality of the EPA’s proposed regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. The Court of Appeals’ decision was based on procedural, not substantive, issues and does not preclude future litigation challenging the regulation. Indiana intends to renew its challenge in the courts following the release of the final rule.

The EPA is expected to release the final rule in August.

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Thin-film solar–remember Abound Solar?has also taken a tumble in China.

Screen shot 2015-06-25 at 1.39.47 AM

A quick reminder of why government choosing energy winners and losers is a bad idea–an expensive burden on taxpayers and ratepayers alike.

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June 18 Colorado Energy Roundup: Pushback on EPA ozone rule effect on rural US, oil and gas operations get the thumbs up from Colorado communities

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed ozone rule–reducing acceptable ground-level ozone from 75 ppb to between 65 and 70–has drawn criticism from 22 medically trained members of Congress (E&E Greenwire, behind paywall:

In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the 22 Republican members of the House and Senate raised questions about the analysis underlying EPA’s conclusions about the public health benefits of a lower ozone limit.

EPA in November proposed to tighten the national ambient air quality standard for ozone from 75 parts per billion — last set in 2008 during the George W. Bush administration — to between 65 and 70 ppb after finding that the 75 ppb limit was no longer adequate to protect public health.

“As healthcare professionals, we rely upon the most accurate health data,” the group of lawmakers wrote. “From this vantage, we believe that the proposal’s harms outweigh its claimed benefits and are concerned it could ultimately undermine our constituents’ health.”

Of the lawmakers signing the letter, 13 have doctor of medicine degrees. Some of the other signatories have been trained as dentists or eye doctors. Two are registered nurses. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who has a doctor of medicine degree, led the effort.

From the letter to McCarthy:

Studies show that income is a key factor in public health, a link confirmed by our first-hand experience as medical professionals caring for patients, including the low income and uninsured. As well, stakeholders have noted serious questions regarding the health benefits EPA claims to support the proposal, and we are concerned that the uncertain benefits asserted by EPA in its ozone proposal will be overshadowed by its harm to the economy and human health. In light of the long-term continuing trend towards cleaner air, as well as ongoing work by states toward further improvements under existing regulations, we encourage EPA to protect American jobs, the economy, and public health by maintaining the existing ozone NAAQS [National Ambient Air Quality Standards].

The letter, citing a study from the National Association of Manufacturers, points out that at a 65 ppb threshold for ozone, rural areas like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon National Parks would fall into “non-attainment” of the new standard, and as much as over half the entire nation. This would lead, naturally, to job loss and economic turmoil, “making the proposal the most expensive regulation in U.S. history.”

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Oil and gas development a boon to one Colorado community, whether or not the company’s investment pans out:

DE BEQUE — A natural gas project by Black Hills Exploration & Production in the De Beque area is involving some upfront investment risks by the company, but with the potential of large rewards for not only Black Hills but the region’s economy and tax base.

Whatever happens, the investment already is paying off for local farmers and ranchers, thanks to a pipeline and water pump station project that officials celebrated the completion of Friday. Black Hills paid for the $8 million project to help supply water for its hydraulic fracturing of wells, but most of the water will be used for irrigation, including by the town, which will reduce De Beque’s need to exercise its senior water rights at the expense of area ranchers.

The water project is an upfront investment that won’t fully pay off for Black Hills unless its De Beque drilling project proceeds to the development phase. But John Benton, vice president and general manager of Black Hills E&P, likes the fact that the company has built something of such value to the De Beque area no matter how its drilling project pans out.

“Regardless of whether we go forward or not with our program, it’s created something that will benefit the community for years to come,” he said.

If the project proceeds, Mesa County could see not only more jobs but an increased tax base.

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Not all Colorado communities are filled with activists seeking to ban or otherwise hinder oil and gas development in their back yard:

A few years after a series of anti-oil-and-gas ordinances and ballot initiatives cascaded through several towns in Colorado, some local governments are speaking up in favor of the state’s multibillion-dollar energy industry.

In the last few months, trustees in the tiny town of Platteville in Weld County and commissioners from counties near Denver have signed letters and passed resolutions that speak in favor of the industry and its high-paying jobs.

“If there’s someone who comes in and wants to ban fracking, at that time we’ll vote on it,” Bonnie Dunston, Platteville’s mayor, told the Denver Business Journal.

“But we’re not going to ban fracking. Oil and gas does a lot for us, for our town, our community, and we’re just saying that we’re going to keep oil and gas going here in Platteville,” she said.

Douglas, Arapahoe, and Jefferson county officials have all recently either affirmed support for responsible development within the oil and gas industry or indicated their opposition to bans of any kind, according to DBJ. The officials noted that, while the counties did not see as much direct involvement within their borders compared to places like Weld County, many of their residents worked within the industry.

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Kansas pushes back against EPA Clean Power Plan, changes state renewables mandate to voluntary

Unlike Colorado’s failed attempt to provide state oversight to proposed Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan” regulations, Kansas’ legislature has passed requirements for any CPP state implementation plan, including no plan at all, should it conflict with ongoing litigation against the EPA’s power to bring forth the CPP:

Kansas governor Sam Brownback (R) signed a bill setting parameters for how the state complies with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan.

The bill, HB 2233, requires state agencies responsible for drafting a state implementation plan (SIP) to examine potential electricity rate impacts that may arise from complying with the EPA rule to address CO2 emissions from existing power plants. The law mandates that the Kansas Department of Health and Environment identify ways to avoid unreasonable costs under a best system of emissions reductions, which may include emissions trading or emissions averaging across the generation fleet. Brownback signed the bill into law on 28 May.

The law creates an oversight committee of state lawmakers that will track the progress of and vote on the SIP. The Clean Power Plan Implementation Study Committee will run from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2017.

Like other states such as New Mexico, Kansas state agencies have called the EPA’s CPP into question, “citing concerns over its legality, federal overreach into grid reliability and a limited timeline for implementation.”

Those concerns have prompted Kansas to join other state attorneys general in legal challenges targeting EPA’s ability to bring forth regulations like those under the CPP:

Attorney general Derek Schmidt (R) is among 19 state attorneys general who have called on EPA to withdraw its proposed CO2 standards for new power plants, and the state is participating in two lawsuits challenging the Clean Power Plan proposal.

The new law allows state regulators to not submit a plan if the attorney general determines that such a plan would conflict with Kansas’ legal position in current or pending legal challenges against the rule.

In testifying for Colorado’s Electricity Consumers’ Protection Act (SB 258), attorney Mike Nasi outlined possible legal objections to the EPA’s proposed rules.

Colorado’s SB 258 would have tasked the Public Utilities Commission, with input from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, as well as approval from the state legislative body, with creating a CPP SIP for the state that considered costs and required a full, public, and deliberative process rather than unilateral executive agency rulemaking from CDPHE under the Governor John Hickenlooper’s direction.

With the defeat of the bill, Governor Hickenlooper announced that, unlike Kansas’ measured approach, Colorado would capitulate to the EPA’s CPP and push forward with state implementation.

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Colorado environmentalists and renewable energy advocates enjoy touting other states’ efforts on issues including renewable energy standards and renewable subsidies.

But this year, Kansas modified its RES, making the mandate a “voluntary goal”:

Kansas governor Sam Brownback (R) yesterday signed into law a bill converting the state’s renewable energy standard to a voluntary goal.

The bill, SB 91, replaces the state’s standard, which required 20pc renewable energy use by 2020, with a voluntary target on the same timetable. SB 91 also exempts existing renewable energy facilities in the state, mostly wind farms, from property taxes and gives new renewable energy facilities a 10-year property tax exemption.

Wind accounted for 21.7pc of Kansas’ generation mix in 2014, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
….
While the bill was supported by some state wind industry and business groups, environmentalists have criticized it, saying it should have at least called for a higher voluntary goal to give utilities “something to aspire to.”

In a free market, utilities and others involved with energy production will voluntarily move to where the market leads–they will “aspire to” serve their customers with an energy fuel mix that best suits the state’s and individual utility’s needs and consumer’s wants.

Government should not be picking energy or electricity winners and losers, and moving from a legal mandate to voluntary guidelines is a step in the right direction for free market energy, as is limiting a property tax exemption from permanent to a sunset at 10 years.

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June 11 Colorado Energy Roundup–Battle brewing over possible Colorado mine closure; Rep. Polis keeps options open on anti-fracking ballot measures

New Belgium Brewing Company has long touted its environmental sensitivity as part of its corporate culture and marketing–featuring its commitment to sustainability and other environmental goals prominently on its web page and in press releases and other materials.

But that support, and past funding of radical environmental groups, has drawn the ire of another Colorado business and its supporters on Colorado’s western slope, who face shutdown of the nearby Colowyo Coal Mine because of the exact policies fostered by their Front Range counterparts.

In other words, the brewery may have finally blown a (fat) tire on its way to greener pastures and killing fellow Colorado businesses and jobs:

Craig — Liquor stores and restaurants across Craig are pulling Colorado craft beers off their shelves due to the beer companies’ financial support to WildEarth Guardians, the environmental group that put Colowyo Coal Mine at risk of being shutdown.

Stockmen’s Liquor pulled 12 brands of beer — including New Belgium Brewery — because they are listed as WildEarth Guardians supporters.

“We pulled those beers because their support of WildEarth Guardians… who said their ultimate goal is to shut down coal mines,” said Lori Gillam, owner of Stockmen’s. “Craig is a coal mine town.”

WildEarth Guardians has a list of business supporters on its website, and New Belgium and Breckenridge Brewery are among their backers. Yet, after this story was published, the WildEarth Guardians removed the list of supporters off of its website. However, readers can view the cached website by clicking here.

Advised of the brewing Craig brouhaha over its support of WEG, New Belgium released this statement:

“At New Belgium Brewing, we support non-profit partners who advocate for healthy watersheds. Wild Earth Guardians first contacted New Belgium in 2008 seeking grant money for restoration projects along the Colorado River. We supported these efforts because Colorado businesses, residents and the environment are dependent upon sound water management,” according to the press release. “Specific to any work Wild Earth Guardians has done regarding the ColoWyo and Trapper mines, we were unaware of it at the time and that is outside the scope of our grant allocations. We have no further funding pending at this time.”

But this measured and somewhat distancing response strays from previous environmental forays for the company, who helped sponsor “Frack Free Colorado” and an anti-fracking rally in 2012, among other anti-fracking activities.

New Belgium started a political action committee in 2014 to help candidates it believed furthered environmental policies the company supported.

But this battle has just begun. More than 900 residents in northwest Colorado gathered to hear what the closure of the coal mine might mean:

U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson gave the federal Office of Surface Mining 120 days to bring the permit into compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, a time frame that left company and state officials flabbergasted.

“I believe that public involvement and compliance with NEPA are fundamental to federal agencies like OSM making informed decisions concerning federal resources,” said Colorado Department of Natural Resources director Mike King on Monday in a statement.

“However, the court has provided an unrealistically short timeframe to remedy a complicated NEPA process; threatening a mine shut-down on a federal permitting decision that has been in place for eight years and that Colowyo has been implementing during that time is an unacceptable result,” he said.

King said the state is weighing legal options, including joining a Tri-State appeal of the judge’s order and request for a stay. If granted, a stay would allow the mine to remain open until the appeals process is concluded.

Without that, it’s possible the mine could be forced to close after 120 days, putting at risk the livelihoods of Colowyo’s 220 employees as well as the region’s locally owned businesses supported indirectly by the mine.

It was a lawsuit by WildEarth Guardians that prompted Judge Jackson’s May 8 decision.

Moffat County liquor store owner Lori Gillam told The Colorado Statesman that the brewing companies supported WildEarth Guardians have been removed from her store’s shelves.

“I have 12 holes on my shelves right now because of them supporting WildEarth Guardians,” Gillam told the Statesman.

“WildEarth Guardians has said they want to ban coal — they want it gone — and we’re a coal-mining town. It’s important for us to support the people who support us and not the people who want to destroy our community,” Gillam said.

We’ve included the entire list of WildEarth Guardians’ corporate supporters, in addition to the link above, in case the cached version is removed.

***

Despite Governor John Hickenlooper’s attempts to downplay any possible fracking measures on 2015 local ballots or the 2016 November election, Democratic Congressman Jared Polis (R-CO) has not sounded the death knell for any possible anti-fracking proposals in the near future, and given his position in sponsoring a large number of those scuttled in 2014, may have more of an influence than the governor:

Boulder Congressman Jared Polis, who backed the ballot proposals and then agreed to remove them a year ago, says it’s too early to say what might be proposed for the 2016 Colorado ballot.

“Given the pending Fort Collins and Longmont lawsuits that will hopefully confirm local authority to regulate fracking, and that we are 18 months out from the 2016 election, I can no more predict whether a ballot initiative is needed or would be viable in 2016 than I can predict who is going to win the World Series that year,” Polis told the Daily Camera. “But if the governor is clairvoyant, I’d love to schedule a trip to Vegas with him soon.”

Polis sees more uncertainty in the outcomes of the Fort Collins and Longmont appeals than we do. A Boulder County judge overturned Longmont’s fracking ban last July. A Larimer County judge overturned Fort Collins’ five-year fracking moratorium in August. Everywhere it has contested such community actions, the Colorado Oil & Gas Association has won, citing preemption by the state, which “fosters” oil and gas development by statute.

The Boulder Daily Camera editorial concludes that Hickenlooper’s “declaration of surrender” on fracking is, the editorial board hopes, “premature.”

Only a few people like Polis–who has the desire and the dollars to make ballot measures happen–know more about possible anti-fracking measures than the governor.

And for now, it appears the Congressman is keeping all options on the table.

***

WildEarth Guardians would like to thank the following businesses for generously supporting our work. If you would like to be added to our “Businesses for Guardians” webpage, please contact us today and learn how!

Advantage Energy Solutions, LLC, Corrales, New Mexico
Agua Fria Nursery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Altitude Salon, Englewood, Colorado
Andiamo!, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Arizona Cyclist, Tucson, Arizona
Arizona Nature Aquatics, Tucson, Arizona
Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Arizona
Ark Bookstore, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Armendaris Ranch, New Mexico
Armstrong McCall Of Albuquerque, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Arrows and Eskers, Los Angeles, CA
Art For Transformation, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Artichoke Café, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Asian Adobe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Asian Palate, Buena Vista, Colorado
Aspen Websites, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Atrisco Café and Bar, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Ava Morris Pottery, Tesuque, New Mexico
Avanyu At La Posada, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Aveda – Rachel Thompson, Denver, Colorado
Aveda Park Meadows, Littleton, Colorado
Aventouras, Evergreen, Colorado
Avery Brewing Co, Boulder, Colorado
Baca St Yoga, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Bacco Trattoria & Mozzarella Bar, Boulder, Colorado
Bahti Indian Arts, Tucson, Arizona
Banfi Vintners, Glen Head, New York
Bank of the West, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Barb’s Frame of Mind, Tucson, Arizona
Baroness Wine Distributor, Denver, Colorado
Beadweaver, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Bear Mountain Lodge, Silver City, New Mexico
Beauty & The Beads, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Bellaluca Café Italiano, Truth or Consequence, New Mexico
Benihana, Denver, Colorado
Bernard Ewell Fine Arts Appraisals, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Betty’s Bath And Day Spa, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Bhakti Chai, Boulder, Colorado
Big Sky Community Corporation, Big Sky, Montana
Bike Coop, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Bike’n’sport, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Bill’s European Auto Repair, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Bioneers, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Bioshield Paint Co, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Bird’s Eye View GIS, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Bishop’s Lodge, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Bittersweet Designs, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Black Mesa Winery, Velarde, New Mexico
Black Range Lodge, Kingston, New Mexico
Blue Canyon Gallery, Magdalena, New Mexico
Blue Corn Café, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Blue Willow Restaurant, Tucson, Arizona
Chaine Pena Business Body

“We support WildEarth Guardians because we believe in a wild world that supports all wild creatures.” ~ Chaine Pena, Boutique Specialist and Yoga Teacher at BODY Santa Fe

BODY of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Bolder World, Boulder, Colorado
Bookworks, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Boulder Beer Company, Boulder, Colorado
Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse, Boulder, Colorado
Boulder Spa, Boulder, Colorado
Boulder Theater, Boulder, Colorado
Boulderado Hotel, Boulder, Colorado
Bounce Back Integrative Veterinary Rehabilitation, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Breckenridge Brewing Co, Denver, Colorado
Brian Cobble Etchings, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Briar Rose Bed And Breakfast, Boulder, Colorado
Bright Funds, San Francisco, California
Broken Saddle Riding Co, Cerrillos, New Mexico
Broken Spoke, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Brooklyn Pizza Company, Tucson, Arizona
Buffalo Thunder Resort, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Buglet Solar, Golden, Colorado
Bumble Bee’s Baja Grill, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Butterfly Thai Yoga, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Cafe Cafe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Café Castro, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Café Dominic, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Cafe Marcel, Tucson, Arizona
Cafe Pasqual’s, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Captain Marble, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Cardrageous, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Caring Clinic, Boulder, Colorado
Carole LaRoche Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Casa Benavides, Taos, New Mexico
Casa De Brio Equestrian Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Casa De Estrellas, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Casa Natura, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Casa Nova, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Cate Moses Public Relations, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Celestial Massage, Denver, Colorado
Celtic Jewelry, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Center For Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico
CG Higgins Confections, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Chapare, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Chapelle Street Casitas, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Charmed Planet Photography, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Cheesecake Factory, Boulder, Colorado
Cherry Creek Shopping Center, Denver, Colorado
Chile Shop, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Chocolate Maven, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Chocolate Smith, Santa Fe, New Mexico
ChoLon, Denver, Colorado
Christine Loizeaux, Santa Barbara, California
Christy’s Sports, Denver, Colorado
Church of Satin, Tucson, Arizona
Cibolo Nature Center, Boerne, Texas
Cid’s Food Market, Taos, New Mexico
Circo Vino, Tucson, Arizona
City O’ City, Denver, Colorado
Clafoutis, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Claire Haye Gallery, Arroyo Seco, New Mexico
Clayworks, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Cleopatra Café, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Collected Works Bookstore, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Colorado Ballet, Denver, Colorado
Colorado Hot Air Balloon, Dillon, Colorado
Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, Divide, Colorado
Comedy Works, Denver, Colorado
Common Era, Boulder and Denver, Colorado
Communications Infrastructure Inc., Stevensville, MT
Confluence Kayak, Denver, Colorado
Connolly Ranch, Napa, California
Conservation Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado
Contemporary Driftwood Furniture, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Corks The Wine Store, Denver, Colorado
Corrales Solar, Corrales, NM
Cosbar, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Costume Salon, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Cottonwood Printing, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Counter Culture, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Cowgirl Hall of Fame, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Creativity For Peace, Glorieta, New Mexico
Critters and Me, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Cupcake Clothing, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Cupcakeology, La Vernia, Texas
Daily Grind, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Daisy Paw, Louisville, Colorado
Davis Therapeutic Massage, Denver, Colorado
DDC Freight Processing Outsourcing LLC, Evergreen, Colorado
Dean Allan Design, Denver, Colorado
Debbie DiCarlo, Richfield, Ohio
DecorAsian, Longmont, Colorado
Deer Hammer Distillery, Buena Vista, Colorado
Delectables, Tucson, Arizona
Dell Fox Jewelry, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Dennis Conner’s America’s Cup Experience, San Diego, California
Denver Bike Sharing, Denver, Colorado
Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, Colorado
Denver Film Society, Denver, Colorado
Denver Museum of Science and Nature, Denver, Colorado
Denver Urban Homesteading, Denver, Colorado
Denver Zoological Foundation, Denver, Colorado
Desert Bloom Florist, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Desert Dwellers, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Design Training Collaborative, Placitas, New Mexico
Dickey’s BBQ, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Dinner For Two, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Direct Power And Water Corporation, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Dirty Dawgs, Tucson, Arizona
Doodlets, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Dublin Square, San Diego, California
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Durango, Colorado
Durango Cyrus Café, Durango, Colorado
Dust in the Wind, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Dusty Dog Ranch, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Earthship Biotechture, Taos, New Mexico
East by Southwest, Durango, Colorado
Ecco Espresso Gelato, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Eddie Bauer First Ascent, Bellevue, Washington
Eden Medispa, Santa Fe, New Mexico
El Dorado Hotel & Spa, Santa Fe, New Mexico
El Farol, Santa Fe, New Mexico
El Meson, Santa Fe, New Mexico
El Meze, Taos, New Mexico
El Monte Sagrado, Taos, New Mexico
El Rancho De Las Golondrinas, Santa Fe, New Mexico
El Tesoro Cafe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Eldora Mountain Resort, Nederland, Colorado
Eldorado Country Pet, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Eldorado Physical Therapy, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Elevation Coffee, Taos, New Mexico
Emerald Earth, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Emily Branden Creations, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Envision, Boulder, Colorado
Eric Reinemann Artist, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Ernesto Mayans Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Eskimo Ski And Board Shop, Centennial, Colorado
eTown, Boulder, Colorado
Evolve Fitness, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Eye Candy Graphics, Denver, Colorado
Fair Wheel Bikes, Tucson, Arizona
Fair Laundromat, Tucson, Arizona
Far Flung Adventures, El Prado, New Mexico
Farfel’s Farm, Boulder, Colorado
Farina Pizzeria and Wine Bar, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Fast Frames of LoDo, Denver, Colorado
Fat Tire Cycles, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Feathered Friends, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Findley Lake Nature Center, Findley Lake, New York
Fine Art Framers, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Firebusters, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Flagstaff Sports Exchange, Flagstaff, Arizona
Food Conspiracy Co-op, Tucson, Arizona
Foreign Traders, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Foundation For Deep Ecology, San Francisco, California
Four Seasons Encantado Resort, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Four Star Tattoo, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Fourth World Cottage Industry, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Frame of Mind, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Frame Shop of Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
Frog Works, Littleton, Colorado
Fuego Baseball of the Pecos League, Houston, Texas
Gaiam Living, Boulder, Colorado
Gale Gotto Fine Art Photography, Golden, Colorado
Galloway Images, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Garcia St. Books, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Gathering Of the Nations Miss Indian World, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Gauchezco Vineyards, Mendoza, Argentina
Gearing Up!, Taos, New Mexico
Gelato Benissimo, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Gila House Hotel/ Gallery 400, Silver City, New Mexico
Glacier Club, Durango, Colorado
Glenna Goodacre Studios, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Gold Hill Inn, Boulder, Colorado
Goodman Realty Group, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Gorge Bar and Grill, Taos, New Mexico
Grand Imperial Hotel, Silverton, Colorado
Grand Rabbits Toy Shoppe, Boulder, Colorado
Great Divide Brewing Co, Denver, Colorado
Great Frame Up, Boulder, Colorado
Great Old Broads For Wilderness, Durango, Colorado
Great Southwest Adventures, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Gregory Sellars Window Cleaning, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Grove Market & Café, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Guadalupe Café, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Guadalupano Imports, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Gulf Restoration Network, New Orleans, Louisiana
Gypsy Jewel, Boulder, Colorado
Haagen Dazs, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Hacienda Nicholas, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Hair, Mind And Body, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Haircut Place, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hapa Sushi Grill & Sake Bar, Boulder, Colorado
Harbor Court Hotel, San Francisco, California
Harp of the Spirit, Los Alamos, New Mexico
Harry’s RoadHouse, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Hazel & Dewey, Denver, Colorado
Heart Gallery of New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Heath Concerts, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Herb Store, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Herbs Etc., Santa Fe, New Mexico
Heritage Hotels And Resorts, Albuquerque, New Mexico
High Desert Healthcare & Massage, Santa Fe, New Mexico
High Desert Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico
High Finance Restaurant, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hiland Frames, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Himalayas Restaurant, Boulder, Colorado
Holland Marketing—Out of Africa, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Holly In Hanoi, Boulder, Colorado
Hotel Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
House of Commons Tea Room, Denver, Colorado
Houston Wholesale Cars LLC, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Hutton Broadcasting, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Hydro Flask, Bend, Oregon
Ice House Lodge, Telluride, Colorado
Il Piatto, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Ima Glass Studio, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Imbibe, Albuquerque, New Mexico
In Transit, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Incana Designs, Santa Fe, New Mexico
India Palace, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Inn And Spa At Loretto, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Inn At Cherry Creek, Denver, Colorado
Inn At Sunrise Springs, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Inn of The Anasazi, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Inn on the Alameda, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Insight Construction, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Insituto De Ecologia Unam, Mexico
I-Scoot, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Isleta Eagle Golf Course, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Jack Hadley Music, Boulder, Colorado
Jackson Hole Conservaton Alliance, Jackson, Wyoming
Jambo Café, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Jazzercise, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Jemez Springs Bath House, Jemez Springs, New Mexico
Jess Alford Photography, Tijeras, New Mexico
Jewel Mark, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Jinja Bar & Bistro, Santa Fe, New Mexico
John Fielder’s Colorado, Denver, Colorado
Jon Paul Gallery, S. Lake Tahoe, California
Joni Bilderback, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Joseph Thomas Colorado Images, Colorado
Kanon Collective, Denver, Colorado
Kathy Olshefsky, Artist, Lamy, New Mexico
Katydid Books and Music, Jerome, Arizona
Kelli Brown, Artist, San Antonio, Texas
Kendall Mountain Café, Silverton, Colorado
Keshi, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Keva Juice, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Keystone Prairie Dogs, Auburn, Washington
Kimpton Hotels, San Francisco, California
Kioti, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Kip’s Grill & Cantina, Pagosa Springs, Colorado
Kokopelli Rafting Adventure, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Kristen Olsen, Artist, Denver, Colorado
La Boca, Santa Fe, New Mexico
La Casa Sena, Santa Fe, New Mexico
La Cocina de Luz, Telluride, Colorado
LaKind Dental Group, Santa Fe, New Mexico
La Mesa of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
La Montañita Coop, Albuquerque, New Mexico
La Posada, Santa Fe, New Mexico
La Siringitu Cafe, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Lara Nickel, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Laroche Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Larry’s Hats and Antiques, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Lars Strong, Artist, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Late Nite Grafix, Inc., Santa Fe, New Mexico
Laughing Lizard Inn and Cafe, Jemez, New Mexico
Lawrene Huff, Artist, Kamogawa-Shi
Le Bon Voyage, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Leanin Tree Museum, Boulder, Colorado
Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Lexus of Albuquerque, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Linson’s Design Source, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Liquid Light Glass, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Living Light Gallery, Taos, New Mexico
Los Poblanos Organics, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Los Rios River Runners, Taos, New Mexico
Lucille’s, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Lumenscapes, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Lyric Brick Company, Jamestown, Colorado
Madame M’s Enchanted Parlor, Taos, New Mexico
Mandrill’s Gym, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Manitou and Pike’s Peak Railway Co., Manitou Springs, Colorado
Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Marja Custom Catering, Santa Fe, New Mexico

“We support WildEarth Guardians because we believe in protecting New Mexico’s wild animals and the Rio Grande.” ~ Mark Gonzales, Mark Pardo Salon Spa in Albuquerque

Mark Pardo Salon Spa, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Mark White Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Marsello Brushwork, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Massage Therapist Debra Kopp, Boulder, Colorado
Massage Therapist – Valerie Baldovi, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Masterful Mosaics, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Mavrick Lobe, Massage, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Maya, Santa Fe, New Mexico
McGuckin Hardware, Boulder, Colorado
Mediterranean Restaurant, Boulder, Colorado
Mercury Cafe, Denver, Colorado
Mercury Framing, Boulder, Colorado
Michael Thomas Coffee Roasters, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Millicent Rogers Museum, Taos, New Mexico
Mira, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Mojave West, Sausalito, California
Mouthfuls, Denver, Colorado
Museum Hill Café, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Nancy Bazar, Artist, Seattle, Washington
Nancy Brown Custom Jeweler, Santa Fe, New Mexico
National Association of Broadcasters, Washington, DC
National Distributing Company, Albuquerque, New Mexico
National Ecological Observation Network, Boulder, Colorado
Nature’s Own, Boulder, Colorado
Nevad Wier, Santa Fe, New Mexico
New Belgium Brewing Company, Fort Collins, Colorado
New Mexico Biopark Society, Albuquerque, New Mexico
New Mexico Family Chiropractic, Santa Fe, New Mexico
New Mexico Technet, Albuquerque, New Mexico
New Planet Beer Co, Boulder, Colorado
New Rochester Hotel, Durango, Colorado
New Sheridan Hotel, Telluride, Colorado
New York Deli, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Night Sky Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Nila Bindu Jewelry, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Ohori’s Coffee Roasters, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort, Ojo Caliente, New Mexico
Ojo Sarco Pottery, Chamisal, New Mexico
Old Wood, Las Vegas, New Mexico
Origins, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Orlando’s New Mexican Café, Taos, New Mexico
Osprey Packs, Cortez, Colorado
Osuna Nursery And Greenhouses, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Ouray Meyers, Artist, Taos, New Mexico
Outdoor Divas, Boulder, Colorado
Outside Magazine, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Paige Barton Jewelry, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Paley Center For Media, New York, New York
Pamela Wilson, Occupational Therapist, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Pamoja Project, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Pantry Restaurant, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Parlour Salon, Denver, Colorado
Parts Unknown, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Pasta Jays, Boulder, Colorado
Patagonia, Denver, Colorado
Patagonia, Reno, NV
Paws & Claws Pet Salons, Tucson, Arizona
Payne’s Nurseries, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Peaceful Paws For Dogs, Boyceville, Wisconsin
Peas ‘n’ Pod, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Pecos Valley Grassfed Beef, Ribera, New Mexico
Penny Weights, New Canaan, Connecticut
Pepper Pod Restaurant, Hudson, Colorado
Petco, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Peter Noom Carpentry, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Peyote Bird, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Peyton Wright Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Phantom Canyon Brewing Co., Colorado Springs, Colorado
Photo Eye Books And Prints, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Pierpont Cabinets, Lamy, New Mexico
Pink Fog Studies, Glendale, Colorado
Pizza Centro, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Pizzaria Espiritu, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Planetarium At SF Community College, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Plants of the Southwest, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Plant Trees 4 Life, Aspen, Colorado
Posters of Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Potomac Garage Solutions, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Prairie Dog Glass, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Pranzo Italian Grill, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Proscape Landscape Management, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Prost Brewing, Denver, Colorado
Purple Adobe Lavendar Farm, Abiquiu, New Mexico
Purple Sage, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Pyramid Cafe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
R. Mole Sculpture, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Rancho De San Juan, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Ray Rafiti Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado
RC Bicycles, Tucson, Arizona
Re-Threads, Taos, New Mexico
REI Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
REI Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Rift Gallery, Rinconada, New Mexico
Rioja, Denver, Colorado
Riverbend Hot Springs, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Rock, Paper, Scissors Spa, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Rodeo Plaza Flowers, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Rooftop Pizzaria, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Root Down, Denver, Colorado
Rosebud Video Productions, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Running Hub, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sacred Geology, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Salon Del Mar, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Salsa Rueda, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Saltanah Dancers, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sam’s No 3 Diner, Denver, Colorado
Samuel Design Group, Santa Fe, New Mexico
San Francisco Street Bar & Grill, Santa Fe, New Mexico
San Isidro Permaculture, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sanctuary, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sanctuary Home, Denver, Colorado
Sandra Rhodes Crafts, New Haven, Connecticut
Santa Fe Baking Company, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Bar And Grill, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Basket Company, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Brewing Company, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Candle, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Computerworks, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Dry Goods, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Film Festival, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Hemp, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Massage, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Mountain Adventures LLC, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Pedicabs, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Permaculture, Inc, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Opera, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Reporter, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Stoneworks, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe Sun Monthly, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santacafe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Schaffner Press, Tucson, Arizona
Scheinbaum & Russek Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Second Street Brewery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Secret River Design, Washington DC
Sense Clothing, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Serac Adventure Films, Boulder, Colorado
Seventh Ray Skin Care, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Shake Foundation, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Shevek & Co. Restaurant, Silver City, New Mexico
Shiloh Pet Supply, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sierra Grande Lodge, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico
Silver Gate Lodging, Silver Gate, Montana
Silver Sun, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Silverton Mountain, Silverton, Colorado
Silver Sea Jewelry, Tucson, Arizona
Sister Hawk, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Six Directions Gallery, Taos, New Mexico
Ska Brewing, Durango, Colorado
Sky Bar, Tucson, Arizona
Smith Family Garden Luau, Kapaa, Hawaii
Smith Optics, Ketchum, Idaho
Snooze SouthGlenn, Centennial, Colorado
SOL Lingerie, Denver, Colorado
SOSF Bike Tours, San Francisco, California
Southern Colorado Repertory Theatre, Trinidad, Colorado
Southern Wine & Spirits of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Southwest Airlines Co, Dallas, Texas
Southwest Nordic Center, Taos, New Mexico
Spa Namaste, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Spears Horn Architects, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sprouts Farmer’s Market, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sputnik, Denver, Colorado
Square Root Salon, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Squeaky Clean Car Wash, Santa Fe, New Mexico
St. Julien Hotel, Boulder, Colorado
Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, Colorado
Starbucks, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Stella Luna, Taos, New Mexico
Stephanie Huerta, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Steve Wong, Dream Analysis, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Steven Lemle, Artist, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Stone Age Climbing Gym, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Stone Forest Inc, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Stray Dog Cantina, Taos, New Mexico
Studio Nia Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Studio Thrive Fitness, Denver, Colorado
Sweet Action Ice Cream, Denver, Colorado
Sweet Medicine Enterprises, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Syrup, Denver, Colorado
Taj Mahal Cuisine of India, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Taos Fly Shop, Taos, New Mexico
Taos Inn, Taos, New Mexico
Taos Mesa Brewing, El Prado, New Mexico
Taos Pilates Studio, El Prado, New Mexico
Taos Pueblo Tourism, Taos, New Mexico
Taos Ski Valley, Taos, New Mexico
Tattered Covers, Denver, Colorado
Teahouse, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Teca Tu, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Telluride Brewing Company, Telluride, Colorado
Telluride Mountainfilm, Telluride, Colorado
Telluride Ski and Golf Club, Telluride, Colorado
Telluride Sports, Telluride, Colorado
Ten Thousand Waves, Santa Fe, New Mexico
10th Mountain Division Huts, Aspen, Colorado
Terra Bella, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Terra Flora, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Tesuque Glassworks, Tesuque, New Mexico
Thai Café, Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Barber’s Shop, Albuquerque, New Mexico
The Bike Coop, Albuquerque, New Mexico
The Book Stop, Tucson, Arizona
The Golden Eye, Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Lotus, Madrid, New Mexico
The MacSpa, Denver, Colorado
The Medwick Foundation, Tucson, Arizona
The Mining Exchange Hotel, Colorado Springs, Colorado
The Oxygen Spa, Silver Springs, Maryland
The Screen, Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Shed, Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Spanish Table, Santa Fe, New Mexico
The View Restaurant At The Historic Crags Lodge, Estes Park, Colorado
Theobroma Chocolatier, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Thirty Mile Resort, Lakewood, Colorado
Three Dog Bakery, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Thru the Lens, Durango, Colorado
Tia Sophia, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Tierra Hermosa Pottery & Supply, Taos, New Mexico
Tohono Chul Park, Tucson, Arizona
Tom Bihn, Seattle, Washington
Tony Bonanno Photography, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Tom Brady, Astrologer, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Tomasita’s, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Touched by Flowers, Vero Beach, Florida
Trader Joe’s, Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico
Trading Post Cafe, Ranchos De Taos, New Mexico
Tranquility Floatation Massage & Healing Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Trattoria Stella, Denver, Colorado
Travel Bug, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Tucson Herb Store, Tucson, Arizona
Tucson Thrift Shop, Tucson, Arizona
Twisted Pine Brewing Co, Boulder, Colorado
Uncharted Outposts, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Veda Spa & Salon, Denver, Colorado
Video Library, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Vinaigrette, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Vine Street Pub & Brewery, Denver, Colorado
Visa-LANB, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Vital Yoga, Denver, Colorado
Wallaroo Hat Company, Boulder, Colorado
Walnut Room, Denver, Colorado
Walter Burke Catering, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Wash Park Grille, Denver, Colorado
Watercourse Foods, Denver, Colorado
Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Avon, Colorado
Whole Foods, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Whoo’s Donuts, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Wild Animal Sanctuary, Keenesburg, Colorado
Wild Birds Unlimited, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Wild Earth Llama Adventures, Taos, New Mexico
Wild Faces Wild Places Photography
Wileyware, Seattle, Washington
William Matthews Gallery, Denver, Colorado
Wines Off Wynkoop, Denver, Colorado
Wingswest Birding Tours, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Wise Fool New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Wolf Den Bed and Breakfast, Twin Lakes, Colorado
WolfHorse Outfitters, Gila and Aldo Leopold Wilderness, New Mexico
Woodhouse Day Spa, Denver, Colorado
Yin Yang Chinese Restaurant, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Yoganow, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Z2 Entertainment, Boulder, Colorado
Zaplin-Lampert Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Zen Dog Boutique, Denver, Colorado
Zia Diner, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Zoe Boutique, Tucson, Arizona
Zoe & Guido’s, Santa Fe, New Mexico

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May 21 Colorado Energy Roundup: capitulating to the EPA, sage-grouse protections, and lazy fracktivists

May 21, 2015 by michael · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive, CDPHE, Environmental Protection Agency, Legal, Legislation, PUC 

Gov. John Hickenlooper intends to capitulate to the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan,” rejecting a suggestion by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to avoid implementing the new federal rules:

Gov. John Hickenlooper rejected Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s call for states to defy new federal pollution controls on coal-burning power plants, saying Colorado has a long history of protecting its environment — despite its heavy reliance on coal.

In a letter to McConnell dated Thursday, Hickenlooper also disputed McConnell’s contention that the rules would cause electric rates to soar. Hickenlooper said Colorado is cutting pollution while keeping energy affordable.

The full text of Gov. Hickenlooper’s letter to Sen. McConnell. The Democrat called the suggestion by the Kentucky Senator “irresponsible”:

In a letter dated May 14, Hickenlooper told McConnell that compliance with the EPA’s proposal would be “a challenge,” but said “states tackle problems of this magnitude on a regular basis.”

“We think it would be irresponsible to ignore federal law, and that is why we intend to develop a compliant Clean Power Plan,” Hickenlooper said in his letter.

About 64 percent of Colorado’s electricity was generated by coal in 2013; when the state ranked 11th nationwide in overall coal production, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.

Hickenlooper said the state has “a long-standing history of investing in our natural environment, with the engagement of local business and civic leaders.”

“We have made immense strides in eliminating the ‘brown cloud’ for which Denver and the front range of the Rockies were once famous; stunning, clear views of the Rocky Mountains have been restored to our residents and the tens of millions of visitors who come here annually,” he said.

The Colorado Assembly entertained SB 258–the Electric Consumers’ Protection Act–this past legislative session, passing the State Senate in a bipartisan vote, but ultimately dying in a Democratic House kill committee late in the session. The bill would have called for any state implementation plan for the EPA Clean Power Plan to be reviewed by the Public Utilities Commission in a public, transparent manner with heavy input from the public as well as agencies such as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, with a final review and vote by the full state legislature, instead of a policy written behind closed doors by CDPHE and implemented unilaterally at the executive agency level, with input offered only after the fact.

Opponents of the bill called the transparency measure “red tape.”

Appealing for broad inclusion and procedural transparency, the Colorado Mining Association’s Dianna Orf hopes that CDPHE and the Governor’s administration will ensure that Colorado’s plan include those most affected by the rule–energy producers and consumers:

“We ask that it be as inclusive and transparent a process as possible,” Orf said. “The magnitude and significance of the plan, and how it’s implemented, is so far reaching that we’d ask that they not only include utilities, but consumers and fuel suppliers as well as the larger business community.”

Indeed.

***

On the other hand, late last week, Gov. Hickenlooper issued an executive order on behalf of the greater sage-grouse that is designed to shield the state from expanded federal efforts to list the animal as threatened or endangered, which would have a devastating economic impact on the western part of the state, and many surrounding states as well:

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper issued an Executive Order on Friday (May 15) directing state agencies to take additional conservation measures for the greater sage-grouse.

“Our actions, in conjunction with the efforts of our local governments, landowners and many others to protect the greater sage-grouse, have been extensive,” Hickenlooper said in a press release that accompanied the order. “With this Executive Order we are directing our state agencies and our partners to do even more to protect this treasured species.”

Hickenlooper directed state agencies to take a number of actions designed to reduce impacts to the greater sage-grouse and its habitat, including taking inventory of — and improving habitat within — state lands with grouse populations.

“We firmly believe that state-led efforts are the most effective way to protect and conserve the greater sage grouse and its habitat,” said Gov. Hickenlooper in the release. “Conversely, a decision by the federal government to list the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act would have a significant and detrimental economic impact to the state, as well as threaten the very state-led partnerships that are working to protect the species.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service has until September 30, 2015 to render its decision on any listing action for the greater sage-grouse. Full text of Gov. Hickenlooper’s executive order can be read here.

***

Outgoing Colorado Oil and Gas Association President and CEO Tisha Schuller had some thoughts on anti-energy fracktivists in Colorado:

On what she sees as a hypocrisy by those who want to ban fracking

“Communities that use oil and gas can’t ban it and say someone else has to produce it for them… We are consumers demanding a product and demanding it at a very affordable price. We know how sensitive consumers are to changes in their heating bill and their gasoline bill… I think a better paradigm is we are totally interdependent on oil and gas, and vilifying it is simply silly and a very lazy way of trying to address climate change.”

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May 14 Colorado Energy Roundup: fracking, ozone, and a national renewable energy standard

Energy In Depth’s Simon Lomax pokes holes in the American Lung Association’s report on ozone–and the Denver Post’s reporting on it–with input from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment:

Citing its own April 29 “report card” on the region’s air quality, the ALA told the Denver Post that levels of ground-level ozone – sometimes called smog – are deteriorating rather than improving. But the ALA went much further, claiming that while the air above the Denver metro area “looks cleaner than in the 1970s,” the region actually has “higher ozone” and the gains made since the 1970s “are going away.”

In the same news story – authored by the Post’s environmental writer Bruce Finley – the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) warned the ALA’s report card was “both inaccurate and misrepresents air quality in Colorado.” But Finley’s story didn’t detail what those inaccuracies and misrepresentations actually were.

In a follow-up interview with Energy In Depth, CDPHE’s Air Pollution Control Division (APCD) Director Will Allison revealed that the ALA report card ignored a full year of air quality data from 2014, which shows ozone levels getting better, not worse. To claim there’s higher ozone now than back in the 1970s also ignores decades of air quality data that show “it’s gotten a lot better,” Allison said.

To say the ALA took a liberal look at its own conclusions to bolster an argument for increased ozone regulation appears correct.

“If you look at 2011-2013 averages, we had 10 monitors in the Denver North Front Range that exceeded the ozone standard of 75 parts per billion. But if you look at the 2012-2014 averages, only four monitors exceeded the federal standards. So there was a significant drop from 10 noncompliant monitors to four,” Allison told EID.

***

Colorado’s 21-member oil and gas task force, which concluded its meetings in February, received modest support (about $2 million) in the Colorado legislature for a handful of its recommendations:

The budget includes:
$1,364,713 to pay for 12 new employees for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), the state agency charged with overseeing the state’s multibillion-dollar oil and gas sector.
$360,910 for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to create a hot line and website with information about the industry, and a chance to raise concerns about its operations.
$402,859 for the CDPHE to create a mobile air monitoring unit to watch for air pollution from industry operations and a person to operate it.

These small changes stand in contrast to some of the more pointed and disruptive resolutions the committee considered, and to the ballot measures that tripped off the Governor’s “compromise” move last August.

Fracking opponents, of course, decried the legislative session’s activity on oil and gas issues, while the industry hailed the results, according to Valerie Richardson at The Colorado Statesman.

Kicking the can down the road to 2016 on fracking issues–with Democrats sidestepping a fractious debate, as Richardson put it–may still not prove advantageous to Democrats split over the issue. With eco-left activists vowing to work hard again next November and having felt betrayed by maneuvering in 2014, Sen. Michael Bennet’s re-election efforts might not get the smooth ride his party was hoping to craft. It certainly didn’t help former Sen. Mark Udall, who carved a more eco-friendly niche in his term, but ultimately suffered defeat last year.

***

Speaking of Sen. Bennet–an attempt to bolster his green credibility with new legislation aimed at a national renewable energy standard:

The bill unveiled Tuesday that would require utilities to generate 30 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030, starting with an 8 percent requirement by 2016 followed by gradual increases.

Sen. Tom Udall has introduced this legislation in every session of Congress since 2008. The bill is based on his bipartisan initiative that passed the House in 2007. Co-sponsors this time around include Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii).

“A national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) will help slow utility rate increases and boost private investment in states like New Mexico — all while combating climate change,” Udall said in a news release. “Investing in homegrown clean energy jobs just makes sense, and that’s why I’m continuing my fight for a national RES.”

***

Colorado’s western slope counties may avoid economic devastation if the Fish and Wildlife Service decides not to tap the greater sage-grouse with a designation as threatened or endangered:

The Interior Department has said it wants to reach the point that the Fish and Wildlife Service can find that no listing is warranted. Much of that decision lies with the way the BLM manages its lands and both agencies report to Jewell.

“We are very, very close to avoiding a listing altogether,” Hickenlooper said, noting that he spoke to [Secretary of Interior Sally] Jewell 10 days ago.

Finding that the bird should not be listed is Jewell’s goal, Hickenlooper said.

“I believe her. I don’t think she’s posturing.”

A listing by the FWS would be a critical blow to Colorado’s western counties, along with 10 other states, as one county commissioner told Gov. Hickenlooper.

“All of Moffat County is out of business,” Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe concluded, should the listing move forward contrary to Hickenlooper’s claims.

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ECPA: Mike Nasi’s testimony to Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy

April 14, 2015 by Amy · Comments Off
Filed under: CDPHE, Legal, Legislation, New Energy Economy 

Colorado’s Electric Consumers’ Protection Act (ECPA), a bill to address Colorado compliance with the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP), received its first hearing on Thursday, April 9, 2015 in the Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Energy Committee. Senators John Cooke (R-Greeley) and Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) are the prime sponsors of SB15-258. A number of people and organizations testified in favor of it including Catholic Charities, the Colorado Consumer Coalition, TriState Generation and Transmission Association, and our own Michael Sandoval. All made compelling arguments to support the ECPA. Below is the written testimony of one of the most compelling witnesses air regulatory attorney Mike Nasi.

The bill did pass out of committee with bi-partisan support on a 7-2 vote. Now it moves to Senate Appropriations.

For more information on the CPP and the ECPA, read the Independence Institute’s latest Issue Backgrounder “Colorado and the ‘Clean Power Plan’: Expensive, Ineffective, Illegal, and Impossible” by intern Lexi Osborn.

Also read Sen. Cooke and Sonnenberg’s commentary “No regulation without representation.”

Illegality of EPAs Clean Power Plan & Benefits of the Electric Consumers Protection Act (ECPA) SB15-258

April 9, 2015

TESTIMONY OF MICHAEL J. NASI

Jackson Walker, L.L.P Austin, Texas

My name is Mike Nasi.  I am a partner at the law firm Jackson Walker, located in the firm’s Austin, Texas office where I head up the firm’s air regulatory practice.  I am honored to be here before you today.  I have been asked to testify here today because I have been a practicing air quality attorney working with EPA air quality regulations for over 22 years and represent power generation interests, including rural electric cooperatives, in pending DC Circuit and U.S. Supreme Court cases regarding a number of recently-promulgated EPA air regulations targeting the electric generation sector.

As proposed, EPA’s Clean Power Plan is illegal.  This is not just my opinion, but the position of thirty-two states’ elected officials; huge swaths of the electric power, manufacturing, and chemical industries; various businesses and community organizations; and even those in the President’s inner circle.  As recently stated by Laurence Tribe – the renowned scholar and close advisor to the President:

“EPA is attempting [in the Clean Power Plan] an unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the States, Congress and the Federal Courts – all at once. Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy.

The Clean Power Plan (CPP) is an unprecedented and unconstitutional attempt at a power grab by the EPA.  In direct conflict with the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, EPA intends to take over roles reserved to the states and remake them in their vision – including a takeover of electricity production, consumption and distribution.  Under the guise of “state flexibility,” EPA hopes to coax states, or, if necessary, coerce them to develop state plans that would create authority EPA does not otherwise have to enforce the “outside the fence” elements of the CPP.

The Clean Air Act places limits on EPA’s authority; specifically, to “defining” the best system of emissions reduction – BSER – and promulgating a guideline document.  It does not provide EPA the authority to set binding state-specific emissions rate targets or regulate electricity markets under the auspices of a federally enforceable state plan.  By setting such stringent emissions limits under incredibly compressed timelines, and by preventing states from considering actions they’ve already taken before the 2012 baseline year – including retirements,  significant build out of renewable generation and reductions in end-user demand – EPA has failed to provide the states with any of the state-led authority or flexibility required in the Clean Air Act.  This authority and flexibility is central to the cooperative federalism required by the Clean Air Act.

At its core, EPA does not have the authority to require states to undertake the actions contemplated in its BSER model – the so-called four building blocks of the rule.  Block 1 – increased coal power plant efficiency – is unreasonable and technologically impractical, if not impossible.  The remaining three blocks, however, are where EPA truly contravenes the Clean Air Act by looking “beyond the fence” for emissions reductions.  The plain language of Section 111(d) makes it clear that a standard of performance should only apply to an “existing source” “which emits or may emit an air pollutant.”   There is no discussion of “groups of sources” or “markets related to an existing source,” but rather, requires that standards apply to individual “existing sources” in isolation – “within the fence.”  Blocks 2 through 4 completely contradict the within-the-fence requirements.  Regarding Block 2, EPA has no authority to require re-dispatch of generation, which is left largely to the free market or the regional transmission organizations (“RTO”) and independent system operators (“ISO”) that oversee dispatch [and Public Utility Commissions].  EPA simply is not provided the authority under the CAA to set mandatory state emission budgets based on the emission reductions it calculates are possible from fuel switching,  renewable generation increases, or end-user energy efficiency.  This is also in direct contravention of the Federal Power Act, which leaves to the states exclusive jurisdiction over intrastate electricity matters.

The legal problems with EPA’s rule start well before reaching the question of their “beyond the fence” state budgets, however, as EPA has three significant statutory hurdles  it has not and cannot clear.  The explicit language of the Clean Air Act prevents EPA from promulgating this rule.  The Act states that EPA is prevented from applying Section 111(d) standards to source categories already regulated under Section 112 of the Act; fossil fuel power plants are regulated through Section 112 by the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule.  EPA claims that the Act is ambiguous due to drafting errors, but the language as codified in the United States code is clear.  Even accounting for drafting errors, the language still clearly prohibits EPA’s actions.  Furthermore, the Supreme Court has already spoken on this issue, in a note to its decision in AEP v. Connecticut, in which it stated: “EPA may not employ [Section 111(d)] if existing stationary sources of the pollutant in question are regulated under the…the “hazardous air pollutants” program, [Section 112.]”

The Clean Air Act also requires a valid new-source 111(b) rule to be in place before EPA may proceed to an existing source rule under Section 111(d).  These rules are still in the proposal stage, and even if finalized, are riddled with technical and legal flaws that in my opinion will result in the rules being vacated, which will remove this necessary legal prerequisite to any 111(d) rule. As recently pointed out by 13 state attorneys general (see attached March 25, 2015 letter),  EPA also failed to finalize the 111(b) rule within one year of proposal in violation of its mandatory duty to do so under 111(b)(1)(B) of the CAA.  As explained more fully in the AG letter, this violation stands to undermines EPA’s current schedule for finalizing the 111(b) and (d) rule this summer given that the 111(b) rule must be re-proposed and finalized before the 111(d) rule can be finalized. EPA has also failed to make a necessary Section 111-specific endangerment finding based on CO2 emissions from the fossil fuel source category.  EPA attempts to rely on its endangerment finding for GHG emissions from motor vehicles as the endangerment finding for this rule.  But this motor vehicle endangerment finding is based on a completely different section, even title, of the Clean Air Act; it was an endangerment finding for six separate greenhouse gases, not just CO2 as the Clean Power Plan addresses; and the statutory language of the endangerment finding itself is different, with the Section 111 standard imposing a greater burden on EPA.  EPA attempts to say that there is a “rational basis” for this rule, but this is simply not true; the rule, even if fully implemented, will have an almost imperceptible impact on global climate.

Colorado’s ability to comply with the Clean Power Plan is in serious question, though due to no fault of your own, but it is why any attempt to comply should be transparent for every Coloradan to see.  The sheer enormity of the emissions reductions and the incredibly short time constraints of the rule alone would be a daunting, if not impossible challenge, but the legal authority of state agencies to implement the rule is simply not there in many respects.  As an initial matter, the Air Quality Control Commission’s authority, as implemented by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, is limited to drafting regulations directed at sources of air pollutants.  There is no authority to go “beyond the fence,” which, like the federal government, significantly constrains the ability to develop any plan addressing Blocks 2 through 4 of EPA’s BSER model.  The Public Utilities Commission is also subject to limitations on breadth of authority, that precludes it from addressing the environmental components and entities necessary to meet EPA’s budget.

I certainly would not recommend that Colorado create a plan that establishes authority that EPA itself does not have.  Having said that, I see value in the passage of SB 258 the Electric Consumer Protection Act because it would ensure the PUC’s oversight and actions to ensure that rates stay competitive and reliability is maintained.   Given the price increase and reliability risks in question, it makes good sense that the ECPA requires both PUC approval followed by the General Assembly’s approval because it will ensure that the public may participate in a transparent process and Colorado legislators have oversight over the submission of any plan.

I was encouraged to see that – the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Public Utilities Commission and the Colorado Energy Office – in official comments to the EPA about the CPP acknowledge that, “legislation may be needed to clarify or direct state agencies on their respective roles and authorities.”  There will be lawsuits, and the ECPA contains a smart safety valve provision that suspends or terminates any further action on a State Implementation Plan if the regulations are not adopted, are suspended, or are found to be contrary to law.

The ECPA is simply good government that provides a transparent framework. Without the ECPA, CDPHE has indicated that it will draft a plan and implement it behind closed doors, without public or legislative oversight. Without the ECPA, you will be ceding your authority, your responsibility, to unelected air quality regulators.

Thank you.

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Cadmium in CO: useful and highly toxic

February 15, 2013 by Amy · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive, CDPHE 

Cadmium 101

By Syndi Nettles Anderson, guest writer for the Independence Institute Energy Policy Center

Earlier this week Todd Shepherd of Complete Colorado reported that before thin-filmed cadmium-telluride solar panel manufacturer Abound Solar declared bankruptcy it was the subject of a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) investigation after an anonymous tip raised concerns about cadmium contamination.

Shepherd provided documents showing that the now abandoned Weld County plant produced monthly 630 pounds of highly toxic cadmium waste that was shipped to Deer Trail in Arapahoe County for storage.

Because of the recent interest in cadmium, below is a primer on the rare earth element used in so many products besides solar panels.

Useful Cadmium

Cadmium, one of the 17 rare earth elements (REE), is a soft silver-grey metal, commonly found in ores containing zinc.  Products that use significant cadmium include rechargeable batteries, solar cells and protective steel coatings. Recently cadmium has been priced about a dollar per pound.

Cadmium is a byproduct when zinc is refined from zinc ore, or recycled from nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries.  The largest producers of cadmium are China, South Korea, Japan and North America.  The concentration of cadmium in the earth’s crust is between 0.1 and 0.5 parts per million (ppm).[1] This is about one hundred times more common than gold.

Cadmium is very useful in rechargeable batteries and solar cells.  In the U.S., about 27 percent of cadmium-nickel batteries are recycled, which requires batteries to be taken apart.

However, cadmium is also very poisonous.  Exposure is most dangerous when breathing in dust or vapors containing cadmium.  Other methods of exposure are also dangerous, as cadmium can be absorbed through the skin or by ingestion.[2]

Cadmium Toxicity

People can absorb cadmium through inhalation, absorption or by eating it.  The cadmium is transported through the body by blood cells and plasma.  Cadmium goes into the kidneys, resulting in kidney failure. Before toxic levels are reached, kidney function will start to deteriorate.  Generally a third to half of the cadmium that is in a body will be found in the kidneys.  Cadmium will also move to the liver and muscles.  In the liver, the half-life of the cadmium is 5-15 years, in the muscles-30 years and in the kidneys 10-30 years.[3]

During ore smelting processes, cadmium is released into the air.  It may also be released into the atmosphere by burning cadmium-containing garbage.  Cadmium exposure can cause throat and lung irritation.  Lower levels of exposure also cause shortness of breath, and with prolonged exposure resulting in bronchiolitis and emphysema with lung damage, bloody coughing, and accumulation of fluids in the body.  One highly concentrated exposure can cause lifetime damage to lungs. [4]

Metal fume fever can be caused by inhaling cadmium during the welding and metal heating processes of older silver solder.  Metal fume fever can cause flu like symptoms with fainting, sore throats, coughs, and headaches.  Working with cadmium requires extremely well ventilated areas, respirators, and extreme care.  Regular blood and urine checks are required to monitor the amount of cadmium that can get into the body. [5]

Phosphate fertilizers, sewage sludge and contaminated water can deposit cadmium into food sources.  Growing rice and wheat can absorb Cadmium.  Large ocean fish can also take up a lot of cadmium.  Smokers also intake cadmium into their bodies and have about double the cadmium levels that non-smokers have.  Cadmium is associated with breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, and kidney dysfunction. [6]

Cadmium regulations

As a result of the increased awareness of the danger of cadmium to humans, the EPA released a new report December 3, 2012, expanding the regulations and proposing new regulations regarding cadmium.

This final rule requires manufacturers (including importers) of cadmium or cadmium compounds, including as part of an article, that have been, or are reasonably likely to be, incorporated into consumer products to report certain unpublished health and safety studies to EPA. [7]

Occupational Safety Health Association (OSHA) also highly regulates workers contact with cadmium stating,

Cadmium and its compounds are highly toxic and exposure to this metal is known to cause cancer and targets the body’s cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, neurological, reproductive, and respiratory systems.

Requirements to protect workers from cadmium exposure are addressed in specific OSHA cadmium standards covering general industry (1910.1027), shipyards (1915.1027), construction (1926.1127) and agriculture (1928.1027).

In conclusion, Cadmium is critical to the solar cell and rechargeable battery industry but extreme care must be taken to prevent cadmium from getting into the air, water or plant life.  Cancer, lung damage and kidney failure are real risks for cadmium exposure.


[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abundance_of_elements_in_Earth%27s_crust

[2] Wilburn, D.R., 2007, Flow of cadmium from rechargeable batteries in the United States, 1996-2007: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2007–5198, 26 p., available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2007/5198/.

[3]http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=preambles&p_id=819

[4] http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/cadmium/index.html

[5] http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg391.pdf

http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=preambles&p_id=819

http://www.idph.state.ia.us/idph_universalhelp/MainContent.aspx?glossaryInd=0&TOCId=%7BC4C015CD-697B-4E22-85F7-29A0D6A4373F%7D

[6] Common environmental contaminant, cadmium, linked to rapid breast cancer cell growth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 14, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2012/04/120423184203.htm

American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) (2012, March 15). Dietary cadmium may be linked with breast cancer risk. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 14, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2012/03/120315094506.htm

Cell Press (2012, September 12). Studies shed light on how to reduce the amount of toxins in plant-derived foods. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 14, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2012/09/120912125517.htm

[7] http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/FR-2012-12-03/2012-28840/content-detail.html

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