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.”

***

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.

***

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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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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June 4 Energy Roundup: Hickenlooper vs. EPA, New Mexico enviro officials cast doubt on Clean Power Plan, and the return of ‘green’ billionaire Tom Steyer

June 4, 2015 by michael · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive, Environmental Protection Agency, Legislation, New Energy Economy, PUC 

The Independence Institute’s Amy Oliver Cooke will moderate a free panel on June 17 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, discussing the embattled Colowyo Coal Mine in northwest Colorado:

“The Coming Storm of Federal Energy Regulations and Their Impact on Colorado Business”

Are you concerned about the future of the Colowyo Coal Mine? Want to know more about costly new EPA regs on carbon and ozone??

Join our panel of experts to get the facts and get your questions answered.

WHEN: 5:30 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 17 (doors open at 5 p.m.; cash bar)

WHERE: Strings Music Pavilion, Steamboat Springs, Colorado

**FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC**

Questions? info@steamboatinstitute.org or (970) 846-6013

Moderator: Amy Oliver Cooke
Director, Energy Policy Center Independence Institute

94414057-8439-4f5c-94c2-9d7256bd5ad9

FORUM PANELISTS

588aabb9-5faa-4e26-a36c-3b80c2e6f27b
RAYMOND L. GIFFORD
Attorney/Partner, Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP; former Chairman of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission

330477aa-7040-4f37-9fb5-7be8895415ef
DAN BYERS
Senior Director of Policy, Institute for 21st Century Energy – U.S. Chamber of Commerce

70214157-cdc9-4aac-b28d-121d413c47b9
LEE BOUGHEY
Senior Manager of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs – Tri-State Generation & Transmission Assoc.

***

One of New Mexico’s leading environmental officials calls the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan’s scope–and legality–into question:

New Mexico environmental officials are among others in two dozen states pushing back against proposed federal restrictions on emissions from existing power plants. Without state support, the proposed Clean Power Plan won’t reduce carbon dioxide emissions the way the Obama administration hopes it will, according to a new report released by the nonprofit Brookings Institute.

When it comes to clean air, the federal government can set standards, but states decide how to enforce them. New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn, an attorney, is one of many environment officials across the country who think the rule has problems and may be illegal.

“We agree with the overall goal of the proposed Clean Power Plan,” said department spokeswoman Allison Majure in a statement. “However, we are also extremely concerned about the unprecedented breadth of the proposal.”

New Mexico’s comments on the CPP revealed a pattern of failing by the EPA to communicate with other agencies and states in crafting the proposed clean air regulations:

Majure added in her statement, “The Environmental Protection Agency is using the Clean Air Act, which was designed to control air pollution at the source, to dictate America’s energy policy for the next 20 years,” reflecting comments the department filed with the EPA regarding the rule months ago.

She also said the EPA failed to consult with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, energy producers and the Department of Energy in crafting the plan.

The full Brookings report in the article above can be viewed and downloaded here.

***

State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R-SD1) examines Gov. Hickenlooper’s capitulation to the EPA over implementing the Clean Power Plan:

While the letter between US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was the focus of the media, it’s a third letter dated December 1, 2014, from the heads of Colorado’s three environmental agencies to the EPA, which will impact Colorado’s three million business and residential utility customers. After 2017, those customers will likely be paying much higher prices as a result of mistakes and miscalculations made over the past year by state and federal officials.

icon_op_edSen. McConnell’s March 19 letter called on all 50 state governors to delay compliance with an EPA carbon-cutting plan until the legality of the plan has been settled in court. Thirteen states are suing to block the EPA plan on legal and constitutional grounds. Hickenlooper’s response, which some climate crusaders cheered as a brush-off of McConnell, indicated that Colorado intends to comply with EPA mandates, which the governor believes are legal.

The bottom line here is that Gov. Hickenlooper has been consistently inconsistent when dealing with recent regulatory onslaughts from Washington. For example, he’s been reasonably proactive in opposing a threatened species listing for the Sage Grouse, and he’s also been forceful in responding to the potential shut-down of the Colowyo coal mine near Craig. But on the EPA’s “climate change” agenda – and the new EPA rules further restricting the state’s control of small bodies of water — that healthy skepticism has been missing.

Indeed.

***

Finally, former fossil fuel and hedge fund billionaire turned green crusader, Tom Steyer, appears to be doubling down on Colorado after a failed 2014 election cycle, as the folks from Energy In Depth report:

San Francisco billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer, who spent more than $7 million in a failed campaign to defeat U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) last year, is keeping his Colorado political operation in place. Campaign finance reports show Steyer’s campaign arm, NextGen Climate Action Committee, has spent more than $80,000 on polling and research in Colorado this year.

Steyer, whose foundation is known for writing large checks to green groups, is also strengthening his ties with environmental organizations in Colorado. This week, he will be in Denver to accept an award from Conservation Colorado. Dubbed “Colorado’s largest political event for the environment,” other attendees will include elected officials and leaders from the state’s environmental movement.

Last year, Steyer held talks with millionaire Boulder Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colo.) about splitting the cost of putting anti-fracking measures on the statewide ballot. Ultimately, those measures were pulled before they could reach the ballot, and Steyer chose instead to put his money behind a failed campaign against Gardner. Through it all, Steyer worked with “ban fracking” groups and national environmental organizations to effectively campaign against Colorado’s energy industry, its supporters, and tens of thousands of men, women and families whose livelihoods depend on the oil and natural gas sector. He lost badly, but Steyer is coming back for more.

We’ll have an update next week on Steyer’s visit, and if any of his comments during the Denver trip are made public.

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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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Big Wind and Solar Oppose Clean Energy

February 13, 2015 by michael · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive, Legislation, preferred energy, renewable energy, solar energy, wind energy 

By Lexi Osborn

In the upcoming weeks, House Bill 1118 will be up for debate in the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee. This bill eliminates the restrictions on the hydroelectricity and pumped hydroelectricity that can be counted as a “renewable energy resource” to meet Colorado’s renewable energy standard.

Currently, hydroelectricity is only counted towards the renewable energy standard if newly built facilities have a nameplate rating of 10 MW or less, or, if they are built before January 2005, with a nameplate rating of 30 MW or less. Fully including hydroelectricity would allow Coloradoans to take advantage of the 1169 megawatts of existing hydroelectric capacity. Eighty-two percent of that capacity is currently not considered “renewable” by Colorado standards because those facilities have a capacity of 30 MW and were built before 2005.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) categorizes hydroelectricity as clean, renewable energy, and the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) determined that it produces air emissions on par with wind and solar. There is no justifiable environmental reason to keep these restrictions in place.

It may then come as a surprise that there are clean energy supporters who are actively fighting against this bill. Conservation Colorado, the Colorado Cleantech Industries Association, and the Distributed Wind Energy Association are all opposing the inclusion of hydroelectricity as a renewable energy resource despite the EPA’s evaluation. These organizations all claim to have commitments to developing and expanding clean energy in our society, making it hard to justify their opposition. So, why exclude hydroelectricity? Why impede clean energy if their missions are to protect the environment and limit carbon emissions?

Conservation Colorado has claimed that the current restrictions are necessary because the construction of large-scale hydroelectric facilities is damaging to the environment. But, the restrictions aren’t protecting the environment. The restrictions limit the ability of people to use already existing hydroelectric facilities to comply with the renewable energy standard. All these restrictions do is force Colorado to leave out hydroelectric sources in its renewable energy portfolio, giving preferential treatment to wind and solar industries. This ends up costing ratepayers millions of dollars in compliance costs.

The only real reason they want to exclude hydroelectricity is because it threatens their market share. Last year, an almost identical bill, HB 1138, was shot down because wind and solar advocates testified that their industries would struggle if they had to compete with hydropower, which already supplies 23 percent of the electricity to rural co-ops. They claimed the bill would negatively affect jobs in the solar and wind industries that benefit from the renewable energy mandate.

Their testimony makes it all crystal clear – they are not true champions of the environment and clean energy. If they were, they would be embracing the power and potential of hydroelectricity. Sadly, they only appear to be using legislation as protectionist measure, jealously guarding their market share.

Lexi Osborn is a Future Leaders intern. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in political science.

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Legislative Preview: 2014 Energy Bills

January 24, 2014 by michael · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive, Hydraulic Fracturing, Legislation, renewable energy 

Current through January 24, 2014

Reform defeated: SB14-035 Renewable Energy Standard Repeal *postponed indefinitely*

Senate Bill 35, introduced by State Sen. Ted Harvey, would have repealed “substantially all of the provision enacted by Senate Bill 13-252″ by returning the renewable portfolio standard to 10 percent from 20 percent for rural cooperative electric associations, among other cuts.

The bill, sent to the State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee was killed Wednesday on a 3-2 party line vote. The SVMA committee has been dubbed the “kill committee” by the minority party, where bills are sent to receive a quick despatch.

Comment: As this bill has been killed, the Independence Institute will examine a similar bill, proposed by State Sen. Ray Scott on Wednesday that would reduce the RPS requirement from 20 percent to 15 percent.

SB14-011 Colorado Energy Research Authority

Among other provisions housekeeping provisions, SB 11 “substitutes ‘clean energy’ for ‘renewable energy’” and authorizes additional monies in the amount of $2 million to create an “energy research cash fund” (ERCF) for the next five fiscal years.

Comment: Substituting “clean” for “renewable” energy is noteworthy. The fiscal note estimates a cost of $2,000,000 annually for the next five years for the ERCF from the state General Fund.

SB14-028 Expand Electric Vehicle Charging Station Grants *Passed Senate second reading with amendments*

SB 14 “expands the existing list of persons and entities that are eligible to receive moneys from the electric vehicle grant fund, administered by the Colorado energy office (CEO), by adding private businesses and nonprofits and allowing the CEO to consider the extent to which grant applicants’ proposed charging locations serve existing vehicles or encourages the acquisition of new vehicles.”

Comment: The bill’s fiscal note estimates that the impact will be “minimal” with grant monies collected under HB13-1110 providing the resource stream. Funding will go to as many stations as possible, but could include fulling funding those installations “in a location that is especially advantageous for support of the electric vehicle market.”

SB14-082 Renewable Energy Standard Adjustment for Cooperative Electric Associations

SB82: “In the section of the renewable energy standard statute setting aside a specific portion of electric generating capacity that cooperative electric associations must meet through distributed generation, the bill:
• Eliminates the disparity between cooperative electric associations serving fewer than 10,000 meters and those serving 10,000 or more meters;
• Establishes a uniform 0.5% of total retail electricity sales as the target percentage for distributed generation; and
• Allows the 0.5% to be measured collectively among these associations as a group rather than individually.”

Comment: Fiscal note estimates minimal impact.

SB14-103 Phase In High-Efficiency Water Fixture Options

SB103 “prohibits the sale of lavatory faucets, shower heads, flushing urinals, tank-type toilets, and tank-type water closets on and after September 1, 2016, unless they are a watersense-listed plumbing
fixture.”

Comment: No fiscal note. The bill defines a “watersense-listed plumbing fixture” as:

• Tested by an accredited third-party certifying body or laboratory in accordance with the federal environmental protection agency’s WaterSense program;
• Certified by such body or laboratory as meeting the performance and efficiency requirements of the program; and
• Authorized by the program to use its label.

The bill would expand the current requirements for “water-efficient indoor plumbing fixtures” which apply currently to builders of new homes, new state buildings, and new and renovated residential, office, and commercial buildings, but at a much lower and “less stringent” standard than the one defined by WaterSense.


HB14-1012 Advanced Industry Investment Income Tax Credit

HB1012 “repeals the Colorado innovation investment tax credit and replaces it with the advanced industry investment tax credit.” The tax credit would be available through the end of 2017 for “an equity investment in a qualified small business from the advanced industries, which consists of advanced manufacturing, aerospace, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, information technology, and infrastructure engineering.” The tax credit would equal 25 percent of the investment and up to 30 percent if the business “is located in a rural area or economically distressed area.” Maximum tax credit would be $50,000 for a single tax credit, and up to $2 million per calendar year, with rollover.

Comment: No fiscal note at the present time.

HB14-1030 Hydroelectric Generation Incentive

HB1030 would “promote the construction and operation of hydroelectric facilities in Colorado” by providing incentives for additional installation and elevating community hydroelectric energy facilities “into the community solar garden statute.”

Comment: The bill’s fiscal note estimates a cost of less than $2,500 per year. The hydroelectric power in question would be targeted at those “small hydropower projects of 30 megawatts or less” sited in “streams, diversion ditches for irrigation, or existing dams.”

HB14-1064 Severance Tax Distribution To A Local Government That Limits Oil And Gas Extraction *postponed indefinitely*

HB1064 “prohibits any local government that has a moratorium or permanent prohibition on the extraction of oil and gas from receiving more direct distributions or grants and loans than the local government received in the fiscal year during which the moratorium or permanent prohibition was enacted.”

Comment: The restriction would be lifted in the following fiscal year if a county or municipality rescinds the moratorium or permanent prohibition. In the meantime, the “moneys that would otherwise have been distributed to the county or municipality are redistributed on a pro rata basis to all other eligible counties and municipalities.” The fiscal note puts a total price tag of approximately $40,000 over the next two fiscal years.

In other words, the bill would properly restore balance between counties and municipalities who choose to limit oil and gas extraction and those that do not, as the localities instituting prohibitions should not benefit from increased activities elsewhere by matching severance tax revenues to activities permitted.

**Bill postponed indefinitely, 7-6 party line vote:

Jonathan Singer, D-Longmont, said. “My community is downstream and downwind from oil and gas operations and we feel the public health impacts of fracking regardless of existing fracking bans.”

Sonnenberg presented his proposal as a measure of fairness, ensuring that cities don’t benefit financially from a practice they’ve banned and that those communities that do allow fracking benefit from more of the severance tax revenue.

“Passing this bill would have directed a higher percentage of severance tax funds to communities that help provide for the energy needs of our state,” said Sonnenberg.

“I am disappointed the Democrats failed to see the importance of providing these communities additional revenue to support the oil and gas industry.”

HB14-1067 Renewable Energy Electric Standard REAs Move to 2025

This renewable reform bill, HB1067, “changes the target date to achieve the renewable component of the energy generation portfolio of retail cooperative electric associations [CEA] serving 100,000 or more customers, and qualifying wholesale utilities” from 2020 to 2025.

Comment: The fiscal note indicates a minimal impact. CEAs required to comply with the 20 percent renewable energy standard by 2020 would need to meet step-change adjustments that increase from 6 percent in 2015-2019 to 20 percent in 2020 would see a five year extension for meeting requirements. Measures available to comply with the requirement include development of “eligible generation facilities,” entering into power purchase agreements with “an eligible energy generation facility,” or purchasing “existing renewable energy credits”–each of which, the fiscal note determined, would  involve “additional costs” for the CEA.

The Independence Institute will also examine any additional energy bills introduced this session as they become available. This bill survey, completed on January 10, did not indicate any bills on hydraulic fracturing.

HB14-1113 Electric Renewable Energy Standard Reduction

HB1113 orders the public utilities commission to establish electric resource standards, or minimum percentages of electricity that electric service providers “must generate or cause to be generated from recycled energy and renewable energy resources.” This bill moves the current required minimums from 20 to 15 percent until 2019, and from 30 to 15 percent for 2020 and subsequent years. It also reduces the required minimum for rural electric coops to be reduced from 20 to 15 percent for 2020 and in the years following.

Comment: No fiscal note. This bill looks to challenge provisions from last year’s SB252, while also leveling all required electricity standards to be a flat 15 percent for both investor-owned and rural electric cooperative associations from 2020 and thereafter. Step-increases mandated by earlier bills are voided and returned to a standard 15 percent.

HB14-1138 Renewable Energy Standard Add Hydroelectric to Eligible

HB1138 “amends the definition of ‘renewable energy resources’ that can be used to  meet the state’s renewable energy standard to include hydroelectricity and pumped hydroelectricity.”

Comment: Fiscal note indicates minimal impact. The impact on state policy, however, could be quite large. Adding hydroelectric and pumped hydroelectric electricity to be added to the state’s list of eligible energy resources for meeting Colorado’s renewable energy standard “reduces the amount of energy required to be generated from other eligible resources (principally wind),” according to the bill’s fiscal note. This could affect not only state agency and local government electricity rates, but those of ratepayers statewide as well.

HB14-1150 State and Local Government and Federal Land Coordination

HB1150: “The bill creates the division of federal land coordination in the department of local affairs to address federal land decisions in Colorado that affect the state and local governments. The chief coordinator is the head of the division and is required to form a federal land coordination task force to study certain federal land decisions. The department of agriculture, the department of natural resources, the Colorado tourism office, the Colorado energy office, and the office of economic development are required to assist the division at the request of the chief coordinator. Based on task force findings, the chief coordinator may recommend that a local government receive a grant for research and analysis to form a coordinated response to a federal land decision.”

Comment: No fiscal note.

HB14-1159 Biogas System Components Sales and Use Tax Exemption

HB1159: “The bill exempts from state sales and use tax components used in biogas production systems. Local governments that currently impose sales or use tax on such components may either continue to do so or may exempt them from their sales or use taxes.”

Comment: The fiscal notes estimates a reduction in state tax revenues of up to $635,000.

This bill creates a sales and use tax exemption, or carve out, for capturing biogas to be used as a renewable natural gas, or for equipment used to create electricity from the biogas. Biogas “is
a natural by-product that is released as manure, food waste, and other organic compounds
breakdown.” This bill appears targeted to one project in Weld County, the Heartland Biogas Project, a 20 MW “anaerobic digester and renewable natural gas (RNG) facility” set to come online as soon as April 2014.

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January 23 Energy Roundup: Fracking Dishonesty; Interior Sec. Jewell Boots Press

January 23, 2014 by michael · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive, Hydraulic Fracturing, renewable energy 

Periodically, the Independence Institute’s Energy Policy Center will take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly in energy stories from around the United States and abroad, and bring the best (and worst) of those stories to your attention.

1. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell may have violated Colorado Open Meetings Law under its sunshine statutes by shutting out members of the press while visiting Moffat County on Tuesday. The meeting in Colorado centered on the status of the sage-grouse, a species whose designation could affect energy projects in the northwest portion of the state:

As she was leaving, Leavitt Riley said she saw Jewell in a car in the parking lot and the driver-side door was open, so she approached Jewell “and she said the press was not allowed at this meeting,” Leavitt Riley recalled.

“I said, do you realize more than a dozen elected officials were in it? She said the tour was open to the press but this was a closed meeting” and then drove away, Leavitt Riley said.

She said the newspaper is pursuing the matter with the Colorado Press Association. No one with the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s office was available for comment Tuesday night.

2. From Lachlan Markay at the Washington Free Beacona Politico column riddled with inaccuracies from anti-fracking activists:

A pair of prominent environmentalists penned a column Tuesday for Politico Magazine attacking hydraulic fracturing littered with dishonest and incorrect claims.

“If you calculate the greenhouse gas pollution emitted at every stage of the production process—drilling, piping, compression—it’s essentially just coal by another name,” McKibben and Tidwell wrote.

The claim is frequently sourced to Cornell scientists Robert Howarth and Anthony Ingraffea, who have found significantly higher life cycle emissions than are found in other studies.

Numerous government agencies, environmentalist groups, and academics have panned Howarth and Ingraffea’s work on the issue and produced their own studies showing relatively low life cycle emissions from natural gas.

“Their analysis is seriously flawed,” according to three Cornell colleagues, professors in the university’s departments of earth and atmospheric sciences and chemical and biological engineering.

3. Michael Bastasch at The Daily Caller highlights a report on the social benefits of fossil fuels:

Burning off carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to provide cheap electricity may have affected the climate, but the benefits of a carbonized economy far outweigh the costs, according to a new study.

The pro-coal American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) released a study showing that the benefits of carbonized fuel, like coal, to society are 50 to 500 times greater than the costs. Over the past two-and-a-half centuries increased fossil fuel energy production has helped more than double global life expectancy and increase global incomes 11-fold.

4. North Carolina State University issued a study finding that increasing the use of electric vehicles “is not an effective way to produce large emissions reductions”:

“We wanted to see how important EDVs may be over the next 40 years in terms of their ability to reduce emissions,” says Dr. Joseph DeCarolis, an assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper on the new model. “We found that increasing the use of EDVs is not an effective way to produce large emissions reductions.”

The researchers ran 108 different scenarios in a powerful energy systems model to determine the impact of EDV use on emissions between now and 2050. They found that, even if EDVs made up 42 percent of passenger vehicles in the U.S., there would be little or no reduction in the emission of key air pollutants.

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Emails Show EPA’s Denver “Listening Tour” Stop A Collaboration Between Agency, Environmentalist Orgs

January 15, 2014 by michael · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive, Environmental Protection Agency 

Emails published this week by the Washington Free Beacon’s Lachlan Markay illustrate a pattern of coordination and cooperation between the Environmental Protection Agency and external environmentalist groups, including the use of at least one agency event to “pressure” an Xcel Energy executive at the Denver stop of a 2013 “listening tour”:

The emails, obtained by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute (EELI) through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, could fuel an ongoing controversy over EPA policies that critics say are biased against traditional sources of energy.

Emails show EPA used official events to help environmentalist groups gather signatures for petitions on agency rulemaking, incorporated advance copies of letters drafted by those groups into official statements, and worked with environmentalists to publicly pressure executives of at least one energy company.

In October, the EPA launched an 11-city “listening tour” to gather commentary and input on carbon pollution regulations, and scheduled a stop in Denver. While Colorado houses the EPA Region 8 office, critics then questioned why the tour skipped states like West Virginia, Kentucky, and Colorado’s neighbor to the north, Wyoming–all states that produce more coal, with Wyoming the number one coal producing state in the country.

The documents shed light on part of the deliberation process, with Markay revealing how the “EPA decided on the locations for those hearings after consulting with leading environmentalist groups.”

According to emails written by EPA Region 8 administrator James Martin, the selection of “listening tour” stops had more to do with applying pressure to a related industry–natural gas–and singled out one industry executive in particular, while bypassing “friendlier forums” in California and Washington.

“San Fran and Seattle would be friendlier forums but CA has no coal plants and WA is phasing out its one plant,” Martin wrote. The recipient was Vicki Patton, general counsel at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

“Choosing either may create opportunities for the industry to claim EPA is tilting the playing field,” Martin told Patton. “Denver would not have that problem.”

Martin continued on the choice of Denver. “The gas industry has way more presence here, too. One last point in its favor–it will make Roy Palmer nervous!” wrote Martin.

As Markay points out, Palmer is an executive at Xcel Energy, the state’s largest utility.

Markay also noted that Martin used a personal email address for official EPA business, a claim the EPA had first denied but that the released documents later substantiated.

Among other findings revealed by the internal emails, demonstrating a pattern of cooperation:

Nancy Grantham, director of public affairs for EPA Region 1, which covers New England, asked an organizer for the Sierra Club’s New Hampshire chapter to share the group’s agenda so EPA could adjust its messaging accordingly in an email dated March 12, 2012.

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No, Wind Turbines Didn’t Keep Texas Grid Online

January 9, 2014 by michael · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive, renewable energy, wind energy 

Wind energy kept Texas powered earlier this week, according to supporters of the renewable energy power source.

Plunging temperatures as a result of the polar vortex pushed energy generation across the country above normal winter levels, including Texas:

ERCOT said demand for electricity today reached 55,486 megawatts between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. That’s short of the record winter demand of 57,265 on Feb. 10, 2011, which produced rotating outages, and lower than peak demand during last month’s run of low temperatures, said ERCOT spokeswoman Robbie Searcy.

The demand for electricity in Texas nearly pushed the grid to begin triggering rolling power outages:

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the electric grid in most of Texas, briefly issued an Energy Emergency Alert 2 early Monday morning, the last step before rotating power outages would be implemented. ERCOT canceled the warning about possible outages shortly after 9:30 a.m.

But the loss of just one more large power plant could have pushed the grid over the edge, Dan Woodfin, ERCOT director of system operations, told reporters on a conference call. The grid lost two big power plants to weather-related problems and some others to other problems, totaling about 3,700 megawatts of power, Woodfin said.

Texas made up the deficit between demand and supply by tapping energy sources outside the state:

During that time, the state imported about 800 megawatts from the nation’s eastern power grid, and another 180 megawatts from Mexico. A megawatt is roughly enough to supply about 200 Texas homes during a period of peak electricity use, although demand in Texas peaks during the summer as air conditioners fire up.

For about an hour during the emergency alert period, wholesale power prices hit the state’s regulatory ceiling of $5,000 per megawatt-hour, Woodfin said. That’s about 100 times the $50 per megawatt-hour price generally seen.

Why did Texas need to seek out of state electricity when, as was trumpeted by wind energy supporters, wind was filling in?

Wind could not fill the gap created by increased demand from the cold and the drop in capacity due to outages from plants–both scheduled and unscheduled.

The Energy Reliability Council of Texas monitors the production of wind energy in the Texas grid and produces daily “wind integration reports” (WIR) that carefully illustrate:

Hourly averages of actual ERCOT load vs. wind output, and total installed wind capacity
Actual average wind output as a percentage of the total installed wind capacity
Actual average wind output as a percentage of the ERCOT load
Weekly graph of the ERCOT load vs. actual wind output

The first graph from the January 6 WIR shows that at the very moment energy demand in Texas began to increase in the early morning hours Monday, actual wind output began to plummet precipitously.

Wind production falls well below 2,000 MW and remains there for most of the rest of the daylight hours on Monday, picking up again only as night returns:
ERCOT Load vs Wind Input2

In the next graph, ERCOT’s detailed hourly picture shows wind output falling below 20 percent of installed capacity by 7am, the same hour as power plants totaling 1,350 MW went offline.

Actual Wind Output as Percentage of Installed Wind Capacity

Actual wind output as a percentage of ERCOT’s total load declined from approximately 15 percent at midnight to around just 5 percent by 7am, as the peak of the surge of demand was felt, and remained below the 10 percent threshold until after 11pm Monday.

Actual Wind Output as Percentage of ERCOT Load

So, instead of bailing out the Texas grid, the intermittent source was reduced to a trickle on a near-record setting day for the state of Texas.

The Institute for Energy Research found the same results:

But even though early morning is generally a good time for wind generation, on Monday morning only 17 percent of ERCOT’s wind capacity (1,782 megawatts of the approximately 10,400 megawatts of wind capacity) were operating at that time. According to Fuel Fix, this means that “on Monday [wind] only contributed about 3.2 percent of electricity used during peak demand. It is obviously a judgment call whether 17 percent of capacity and 3.2 percent of total generation is indeed “massive quantities” of wind or merely middling amounts.

Winter energy demand is lower than summer peak demand–when Texans reasonably clamor for air conditioning–and more than 10,000 MW of generation for the state’s grid was offline Monday for routine, scheduled maintenance:

Electric supplies on Monday tightened after more than 3,700 megawatts of generation was forced to shut overnight Sunday and early Monday, Dan Woodfin, ERCOT’s director of system operations, told reporters. The forced outages came on top of nearly 10,000 MW of generation that was already shut for the season or for planned maintenance, he said.

Woodfin said about 1,800 MW of the 3,700 MW of the forced outages were weather-related, including two large power plants in north central Texas that he declined to name.

The American Wind Energy Association was quick to tout wind’s contributions:

Then in Texas, the more than 2,000 MW of wind output on Monday morning was the critical difference keeping heaters running as the grid operator struggled with numerous outages at conventional power plants. More than 13,000 MW of conventional power plants were down for maintenance, while another 2,000 MW of conventional power plants experienced unplanned outages, forcing the grid operator to resort to emergency procedures. In a similar incident two years ago, wind energy earned accolades from the grid operator for helping to keep the lights on as dozens of conventional power plants failed in another cold snap.

Other outlets like ThinkProgress, also pushed wind’s contributions.

“Demand remained high on Tuesday, but increased output from West Texas wind farms enabled the state to avoid an emergency scenario,” said ClimateProgress, TP’s climate blog.

Even Al Armendariz, the former Environmental Protection Agency regional director whose promises to “crucify” oil and gas producers resulted in his abrupt resignation, joined in congratulating wind:

Calling coal, gas, and nuclear “unreliable” Armendariz dinged the “old stuff” of traditional power generation–the Luminant Comanche Peak 1 nuclear was at 72 percent of capacity, according to Reuters, both Monday and Tuesday–while neglecting to mention that all day Monday, actual wind output for ERCOT as a percentage of total wind capacity never even managed to reach 70 percent during any one hour, and fell short of 50 percent in at least 20 of the 24 hours that day, according to ERCOT’s reports.

Armendariz currently works for the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign.

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Progressive criticism of PUC nominee Vaad is about ALEC rather than energy

January 8, 2014 by Amy · Comments Off
Filed under: Archive, HB 1365, New Energy Economy 

Progressive left logic: Progressives want to destroy ALEC. Moderate Republican PUC nominee Glenn Vaad has been a member of ALEC. Therefore progressives want to destroy Glenn Vaad even though he has supported increasing Colorado’s renewable energy mandate and fuel switching.

The progressive left’s criticism of Governor John Hickenlooper’s appointment of former State Representative Glenn Vaad (R-Mead) to Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) appears to part of a coordinated national campaign against the American Legislative Exchange Council rather than Vaad’s record on energy policy, which is more in line with Democrats than free market conservatives. Vaad is awaiting State Senate confirmation, which is likely to happen sometime this week.

ALEC is a nonpartisan voluntary membership organization for conservative state lawmakers “who share a common belief in limited government, free markets, federalism, and individual liberty.” ALEC promotes such dangerous ideas like reducing excessive government spending, limiting the overall tax burden, choice in education, and market-based approach to renewable energy sources. As a state lawmaker, Glenn Vaad was a member.

The progressive left is obsessed with ALEC. In May 2013 several progressive organizations with ties to Colorado met to “coordinate their attack plan” as the Washington Free Beacon reported:

Leading progressive organizers met on May 10 to coordinate their attack plan against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), discussing ways to pressure corporations into abandoning the group for its small-government advocacy and turn against what they call the “vast, right-wing conspiracy.”

The participants, including representatives from such far-left groups as Common Cause, Color of Change, and ProgressNow, met for lunch in a conference room at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C.

The Free Beacon quoted Aniello Alioto of ProgressNow Colorado, summing up the strategy on attacking ALEC, “Never relent, never let up pressure, and always increase.”

By law, the three-member PUC cannot have more than two members from any one party. With Republican member James Tarpey retiring and the other two members Pam Patton and Chairman Joshua Epel being Democrats, that means the Governor had to find a qualified applicant within the Republican Party.  In theory, he could have looked for someone inside the Constitution, Libertarian, or Green Parties, but it’s likely that the qualified applicant pool was rather shallow.

So Governor Hickenlooper selected a very moderate Republican Rep. Vaad, who has the necessary qualifications as a former Weld County Commissioner and longtime employee of the Colorado Department of Transportation. Vaad’s 2011 Colorado Union of Taxpayers’ rating (a conservative legislative scorecard) was a modest 50 out of 100. Only nine House Republicans scored lower.

When it comes to energy policy, the environmental left should be pleased with Vaad’s nomination. As a state representative, Vaad co-sponsored HB07-1281, the bill to increase Colorado’s renewable mandate to 20 percent. He also sponsored then Governor Bill Ritter’s crowning jewel of his “new energy economy,” the controversial fuel-switching bill HB10-1365, which got nearly unanimous approval from the Democrat caucus but proved quite divisive for Republicans.

But Vaad’s actual legislative record doesn’t seem to matter. To the progressive left, his appointment is more about ALEC than Colorado’s PUC as the far-left Colorado Independent reports:

Groups opposed to Vaad’s appointment say he has not just been an ALEC member but an officer. They point to documents and reports posted by consumer-advocacy groups like Common Cause and progressive-politics organizations like the Center for Media and Democracy that show Vaad was Chair of the ALEC Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development task force while he was serving in the state legislature in 2011 and 2012 and that he had been accepting ALEC “scholarships” every year he was in the legislature dating back to 2006.

According to a press release from Gabe Elsner, executive director at the Energy and Policy Institute, quoted in the Independent:

There is a clear conflict of interest…In the past year, ALEC’s utility and fossil fuel members lobbied lawmakers in at least 15 states to introduce legislation repealing Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards. Now ALEC is launching a new wave of attacks on clean energy policies like solar net metering… There’s a real threat that Mr. Vaad will serve ALEC’s special interest members instead of Colorado families.

Well first, Rep. Vaad hasn’t been in the state legislature since the spring of 2012, and Mr. Elsner is talking about 2013. Also, there is no evidence that Vaad ever introduced legislation to repeal the renewable energy mandate. In fact, as stated earlier, he did just the opposite. (Although he did oppose HB10-1001, the 30 percent renewable mandate bill). Furthermore, he was on the Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development task force not the Energy, Environment and Agriculture.

Progressive left logic: Progressives want to destroy ALEC. Moderate Republican PUC nominee Glenn Vaad has been a member of ALEC. Therefore progressives want to destroy Glenn Vaad even though he has supported increasing Colorado’s renewable energy mandate and fuel switching.

The bottom line is that the opposition to Glenn Vaad is about attacking ALEC rather than Vaad’s qualifications or his perspective on energy policy. So the progressive left is willing to sacrifice about the best appointee they can hope for in order to “never let up the pressure, and always increase.”

I did call Glenn Vaad for comment but as of posting he has not returned the call.

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