Letters 1/14: Coal plants, elections and more

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Demand early coal plant retirement 

In November, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) ruled that several coal and gas plants must be retired no later than Dec. 31, 2028 — earlier than the initially planned date. According to EPA calculations, early retirement of the Craig 3, Nixon and Rawhide coal plants could equal taking 1.3 million cars off the road for an entire year in terms of carbon reduction. If these three units, along with coal plants Hayden 1 & 2, were retired early, Coloradans could save approximately $68 million, and reduce nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions. 

While this ruling was a grand success for Colorado communities, public lands and air, coal utilities have already successfully worked to stop it. On Dec. 16, the AQCC voted to reverse its decision to retire three coal plants by 2028; the AQCC also voted to reverse a November request to the Air Pollution Control Division to shutter the Hayden coal units 1 & 2 by 2028. Xcel Energy, Tri-State G&T, Colorado Springs Utilities and Platte River Power Authority are primarily responsible for the AQCC’s reversal. 

After a summer of record-breaking wildfires, Coloradans understand the dire threat of air pollution and climate change. As a young student concerned deeply for the future, I encourage you to contact the AQCC and let them know your support for retiring coal plants by 2028. Colorado can no longer lag in its efforts to move away from coal, and utilities only make the transition to clean energy proceed slower. 

Soleil Gaylord/Telluride

Frozen to death

I’m incredulous! The new Boulder Severe Weather Shelter policy is meant to get rid of us one way or another by forcing us out of town or freezing us to death. Those of us who’s only use of the shelter is during sub-freezing temperatures are now forced to choose which nights, in the dead of winter, we want to freeze to death. It’s inhumane! It’s downright evil! Who is making such horrid policy decisions in Boulder County? As shelter residents, we are homeless human beings, not pieces of garbage!

Boulder Homeless Person/via internet

The election was stolen, but…

Let’s have some fun with verbal judo.

Yes, the election was “stolen.” It was stolen by people of color in this country, especially by those who were finally able to vote. From the rural “black belt” of southern Georgia, to the barrios across Maricopa County, Arizona, this time the historic racist order was not able to “stop the steal.” The ability for all people to vote this time was the real steal; not the fabricated one concocted by an insecure old white man in the White House; one subscribed to by his angry, confused and highly manipulated following.

The next time you hear or see the phrase “Stop the Steal” you don’t have to get angry. Instead, you can smile while thinking about how “stealing” this election was legal. And it produced poetic justice, especially given the players involved.   

The election was stolen from a racist order which has existed from this country’s beginnings. That is why it is so difficult for so many of us to accept the outcome. We own that problem. It is way past time for us to (permanently) deal with it! One way to place us on the path of healing is to make sure the John Lewis Voting Rights Act is signed into law.

Pete Simon/Arvada

COGCC’s new rules

Modern, forward-looking rules governing oil and gas development are critical as our economy and communities continue to evolve. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) is forging an historic path forward, as it recently updated its rules to better protect wildlife, fish and the land and water they depend upon. This is a big deal, and I hope other states will look to Colorado and update their rules as well.

The COGCC’s new rules take effect on Jan. 15, 2021. Of course no one interest got everything they wanted, but one important improvement upon the old rules requires that oil and gas operators consult with state wildlife experts and mitigate their impacts if their operations will disturb critical big game habitat or migration. With these new rules, Colorado leaders affirm that a healthy, diverse 21st-century economy should respect and protect natural amenities like wildlife. 

I have benefitted from working great jobs in the oil and gas industry and for conservation organizations, and I relish every chance I get to fish, hunt, ski and run in the Rocky Mountains. I take pride in Colorado’s outdoorsy identity and robust economy and believe thriving industry and wildlife populations can coexist. The COGCC and its staff spent hundreds of hours considering testimony from people of wide-ranging interests before deciding on the best path forward. I was honored to testify on behalf of Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. 

Thank you to COGCC members, state legislators and Governor Polis for building a brighter future for Colorado.

Liz Rose/Boulder

Desperate Donald’s downfall

There once was a liar named Donald Trump who was tossed out like old worthless junk. “Get out, you’re fired!” we the people said, having had enough of him in Putin’s bed.

Herd immunity was Trump’s murderous plan, to do nothing but laugh at dead Americans. While Russian hackers steal our information, Traitor Trump went on a permanent vacation. Playing golf at his country clubs non-stop, the laziness of this loser is over-the-top!

World War II ended with Hitler hiding in a bunker, and Trump is in a sand trap trying to hunker. Fascist criminals deserve only one fate. No mercy for those who spread racist hate. The neo-Nazi GOP just loves Don the con. Liar liar, pants on fire! Don’s no James Bond. Trump is a traitor. That is perfectly clear.

Jan. 20: Biden-Harris are almost here. Trump the chump will first flee to West Palm, then off to Moscow he’ll run — get lost, Don! Beg for assistance from Vladimir once again. The Orange Emperor is defeated. The end.

Jacob Pickering/via internet