Letters | Why is Xcel so nervous?


Why is Xcel so nervous?

I don’t know much about powerplant municipalization, nor do I care deeply about the ultimate fate of the Valmont Power Station. And I don’t have an axe to grind with Xcel, either. They’ve sent me electricity, I’ve paid my bills, and they’ve never tried to pull anything outrageously stupid like the phone companies always seem to be trying. They even sent me a rebate on solar panels.

However, it is troubling to see the disproportionate money spent on ads to convince me against the change. Clearly, someone is going to lose a lot of money if this comes to pass, and I’ll wager that “person” is Xcel. It’s insulting to see the parade of fake “citizens” and “environmental consultants” popping up in ads on Facebook and in the papers, warning me of the deep dark dangers that lurk beneath the surface of this very scary and complicated issue. Judging solely from the intensity and lopsidedness of the P.R. campaign, I can only conclude that Xcel has conducted a decades-long fraud, charging far more than their services are worth, and pocketing the substantial difference.

The history of municipal power doesn’t seem to support the fear-mongering. To me, it’s simply a tradeoff — would you prefer that the city run your power plant, or Xcel? I suspect that choice would be executed competently, with the municipal flavor tending slightly towards a more low-carbon emphasis, such as a quicker conversion of coal to natural gas.

But really, this isn’t a sky-is-falling change. Unless you are Xcel, apparently, and your free lunch is going away.

John Lilley/Boulder

This fall, Boulder citizens should declare for energy self-reliance at the ballot box.

The plan to municipalize the local electricity system is the surest way to maximize the local economic benefits of clean energy, to create the most local jobs and to ensure that future energy decisions preserve the best interests of Boulder.

Consider this. Every 3 megawatts of local solar power creates over $1 million of economic activity and 24 local jobs. If the city begs Xcel — against its PUC charter to show no local favoritism — Boulder may see a local solar power plant as it pursues the state renewable energy mandate. If Boulder is the utility, however, it can build its own clean energy and reap the economic rewards. That’s because local ownership multiplies the economic value of clean energy, confirmed in a 2009 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The $1 million economic value of a wind turbine, for example, grows into as much as $3.5 million, and the number of local jobs doubles.

Municipalization means distant utility executives can no longer write off the economic or environmental consequences of building nearby coal plants.

Instead, Boulder can chart a clean energy future that maximizes the local benefits.

Some have questioned the expense and challenge for the city in becoming its own utility. But electricity generation is not rocket science. Already, over 2,000 municipal utilities provide electricity to one in every seven Americans.

And cities like Boulder issue bonds for big infrastructure projects from roads to sewers every year to the (cumulative) tune of $400 billion in 2010.

It’s understandably intimidating to consider being masters of your own electricity future, but I urge you to consider the economic and environmental rewards of self-reliance at the ballot box this fall.

John Farrell, Institute for Local Self- Reliance/Minneapolis, Minn.

Say no to GMO

(Re: “GMOs get a go-ahead,” News, Sept. 29.) I am aghast that a 6-to-3 decision from this Cropland Policy Advisory Group — which has been very biased in the direction of GMOs from its initiation — will carry the weight the county commissioners are giving it.

What is absolutely true is: Monsanto has many other GMO varieties waiting in the wings for approval of sugar beets here in Boulder. A “yes” here will open those floodgates.

All of these crops have the potential to cross-pollinate with their conventional and organic crop neighbors, and the policy does not set aside unplanted land to help prevent cross-pollination. Over 90 percent of our corn, canola, soy and cotton is now GMO, much due to wind and pollinator spread of GMO pollen.

USGS reports are showing that air, rainwater and rivers across the Midwest U.S. ag belt are routinely contaminated with high levels of glyphosate (Roundup). You can’t grow GMOs without it.

There are many other reasons why GMOs should be banned on our open space. These are just a ghastly few. What are our county commissioners thinking? Are we simply guinea pigs? Please write them and let them know how you feel on this issue.

Dariel Blackburn/via Internet

Three of the six members of the Cropland Advisory Group would have us believe that the GMO issue is merely a matter of fairness — so much land for conventional crops, so much for organics, and so much for GMO crops.

But that’s a totally misleading concept. GMO crops and organics do not coexist. GMOs contaminate and crosspollinate other crops. Don’t allow our county open space land to be used for dangerous experiments. Let’s grow healthful crops to feed local residents, not GMO sugar beets that will profit a small number of farmers while polluting our land, water and air. Remember DDT?

Willa Pendergrast/via Internet

Corporate personhood

(Re: “Stand up for democracy,” Perspectives, Sept. 29.) In 2010, the successful candidates for Congress in Colorado raised an average of $1.3 million. The winner of the Senate race raised more than $11 million. This does not count the huge amount raised and spent by “swift boat” campaigns. Need it be said that non-wealthy humans contributed only a small percentage of these totals?

Can we really pretend that the donors don’t expect anything in return? Wouldn’t you if you were a CEO of a significant corporate donor?

The system is broken. It is not the fault of any individual congressperson, who must compete in this system.

Yes on 2H is the beginning of a movement to allow the repairs to be made to our political system that are necessary to giving voice back to human concerns over big-money concerns.

Gina Hardin/via Internet

These folks have it right! Think ahead to how our future will look if billionaires, special interest groups and mega-corporations continue to dominate, and money influence our society.

Enough is enough already. Corporate protections are placed incorrectly in the U.S. Constitution. They need to go back to federal or state statutes and charters. Then, and only then, do people have the say, the vote and the power. Who do you want in charge? The mega-corporations and billionaires, or you and me? I know where my vote will go. Yes on 2H.

Laura Spicer/via Internet

Dead chicks, pigs and cows

October is turning into “food” month, beginning with World Vegetarian Day and World Farm Animals Day on Oct. 1 and 2, continuing with World Food Day on Oct. 16, and culminating with Food Day on Oct. 24.

World Farm Animals Day (www.WFAD.org) is perhaps the most dramatic of these observances. It celebrates the lives, exposes the abuses and mourns the slaughter of billions of sentient animals raised for food. Recent undercover investigations showed male baby chicks suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground to death, pigs clobbered with metal pipes, and cows skinned and dismembered while still conscious.

Numerous studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risk of chronic killer diseases.

Animal agriculture accounts for more water pollution than any other human activities. A 2007 United Nations report blamed it for 18 percent of greenhouse gases.

No humane welfare reform proposed thus far has alleviated the suffering of a single animal. Improvements in medical and environmental technology cannot possibly keep pace with the devastating impacts of meat consumption.

The good news is that dropping animals from our menus works beautifully on all these counts. Lots of recipes and helpful hints are at www.tryveg.com.

Stanley Silver/Boulder

Vote for Rick Perry

No other candidate for President — Republican or Democrat — can match Rick Perry’s record on job creation.

Rick Perry’s leadership has helped build the nation’s top economy. Since June 2009, more than 40 percent of all net new jobs in America have been created in Texas.

He cut taxes, including a historic property tax cut and a tax cut for small businesses. He established incentive funds to encourage employers to create thousands of jobs and invest in new technology. And he signed budgets that invest billions more in education, as well as some of the strongest lawsuit reforms in the country — including a “loser pay” law — to help create jobs.

Rick Perry’s support for low taxes, reasonable regulations, a predictable civil litigation system and an educated workforce has produced a job climate consistently ranked the best in the nation.

Perry’s pro-growth agenda, combined with real spending reductions, will lead to a new era of economic growth and the creation of millions of American jobs.

Roman Stockton/Houston

Union contributions

Enjoy your Labor Day holiday? The reason we celebrate Labor Day is largely because of the contributions made by unions to the betterment of America’s workers. The numerous beneficial influences

of organized labor cannot be ignored. Most of the benefits workers now enjoy are directly attributable to unions. To cite but a few: the 40-hour work week, paid holidays and vacations, sick leave, grievance procedures, collective bargaining and generally superior wages.

Unfortunately, succeeding generations have come to take those benefits for granted. Those benefits came about because of unions and soon became the norm for union workers and many nonunion workers as well.

All American workers owe a debt of gratitude to Organized Labor for its achievements.

Paul G. Jaehnert/Vadnais Hts., Minn.

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